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Describe Architecture

Edmund Yong
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Joined: Nov 16, 2003
Posts: 164
Let's say that I go to a job interview, and the interviewer asks me to describe the architecture of a project that I had worked on. For the next 5 to 10 minutes, what can I draw on the white board to describe the architecture? What are the most important things that I must describe?
J J Wright
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Joined: Jul 02, 2008
Posts: 254
In a nutshell... UML

Deployment diagram
Cass diagrams for important design patterns (i.e. the ones that helped you meet NFRs)

arulk pillai
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Joined: May 31, 2007
Posts: 3371
I generally

-- draw the 3-tier architecture.
-- Show the different leyers like DAO, etc.
-- Mention some of the key desig patterns used e.g. MVC
-- Show if any integration technologies are used e.g. Web services, JMS, etc.
-- Ask them if they want you to elaborate on the UML diagrams.

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Ghajini Johnson
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Joined: Sep 21, 2008
Posts: 51
Just draw the logical architecture diagram. Show the tiers, any security services, any EIS integration etc.. Thats it.

If you draw anything else, it unnecessarliy diverts the people.
Edmund Yong
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Joined: Nov 16, 2003
Posts: 164
Hi guys, thanks for the replies.

I had an interview a couple of months ago. The interviewer asked me to describe the architecture of the project I am working on. I just drew the layers, like first layer we have Struts/JSP, and the other layer Hibernate, etc. But somehow it seems that this wasn't what he was expecting. In the end, I didn't get the job. The feedback that I got was that I could not articulate the architecture.
Jimmy Clark
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Joined: Apr 16, 2008
Posts: 2187
Note that there is a difference between a software architecture design and the design of the applications supported by the architecture.

If I asked you to describe the architecture of a software system, and you described the design of one of the applications in the system, this would not be a good or accurate answer.

JSP pages, Hibernate configuration files, design patterns, DAOs, these are not architecural elements. These are elements of an application, not the architecture that is supporting the application.

Example of architectural elements are: E450gx Coyote Load Balancer, Solaris 10 Operating System, Mail Server, SQL Server RDBMS, AS400 server, firewall, etc.
Benoît de Chateauvieux
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Joined: Aug 10, 2007
Posts: 183
Hi James,

I think there is a general confusion.
In my company, for example, everybody is talking about "architects".
But this term is not clear and the job of an Enterprise Architect is very different from the job of a Software Architect or a Solution Architect.
Even in the wikipedia, the definition is not clear

I'm currently working as Software Architect, and I only describe hardware, OS, etc. in my deployment diagrams.
In my everyday work, I deal with tiers, patterns, components, etc.


SCJP5 | SCBCD5 | SCEA5 Part 1
k.p thottam
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Joined: Jun 29, 2001
Posts: 77
From my experience I would say that the industry does not make a difference between architecture and design. As per me 'Architecture' is the description of the whole system from various viewpoints, while design takes part of the system and gets deeper in details.

so be prepared to present both architectural and design views of the system, because they aren't looking for a dogmatic response that stays away from design , but a holistic solution.

K.P.Thottam (K.P.T)<br /> <br />Sun Certified Enterprise Architect,TOGAF 8 Certified,Certified Information System security Professional (CISSP),SCJDWS,SCWCD,SCJP,MCP
I agree. Here's the link:
subject: Describe Architecture
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