Field Notes

Microservices, architecture without architects, sketchnoting

January 25, 2016 | In Talk Roundup

Fred George - Microservice Architecture: A Personal Journey

Barcelona RubyConf 2012
⭐ Recommended ⭐

Microservices are a familar idea now, but how did we get here? Fred George gives a personal take on microservices' evolution through a series of projects he worked on. Like a word ladder puzzle, where we change LARGE to SMALL one letter at a time, he shows how he came to view systems as large collections of very small programs.

George begins with a "Stonehenge" monolithic codebase of one million lines, which his coworker quipped was really "100K lines struggling to get out". Subsequent projects became an ever-larger number of miniature programs. He incorporated other now-popular approaches like event queues, running multiple versions of a service simultaneously, and disposable components. These examples illustrate the evolution toward microservices one shift at a time. Although the talk is a few years old, it's worth watching to see the design choices he made, as well as for his observations on how organizational forces affect architecture success.

Sketchnotes 1 2

Brad Ovenell - A Sketchnote Primer

Sketchnotes are a vivid, memorable style of note-taking that mixes drawing and words for better synthesis.
Brad Ovenell teaches the five elements of a sketchnote: layout, text, containers, lines, and doodles. He shows a basic vocabulary of variations that allows wide expression. He recommends developing your own habitual palette of favorite doodles and styles so you can focus on the talk you're transcribing.

Notice the difference between his work from two years ago (at 1:04) and the current day (at 1:45). Very motivating.

I applied Ovenell's ideas to Fred George's talk. A larger drawing pad offers more flexible layouts than the composition book I've been using. I want to explore combining the basic vocabulary with principles of graphic design and information hierarchy - letter size (big letters for big topics), color ( green is always for comments ), showing connections ( overlapping and repeating elements ), etc. Ovenell touched on it a bit. I'd like to build it in to my sketchbook stock phrases.

Erik Dörnenburg - Architecture Without Architects

Fred George referred to this presentation in his microservices talk.

We speak of architecture as something done first, separately from coding, and delivered from on high. In practice, it is inseparable from implementation. Dörnenberg discards several popular metaphors like architect, city planner, or gardener. An architect's value is as a guide who knows the terrain and can steer the group away from hazards.