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Is 2010 One of the Most Significant Years for Software Architecture?

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Modern Software Architecture has been heavily influenced by the need to architect systems at the scale of the Web. While many have focused on creating monolithic thin client architectures, the explosion of connected access points, from mobiles to tablets, to IPTV or embedded devices, is pressuring solution architectures to become open.  

Jack van Hoof pointed last week a talk from Joshua Robin. In his talk at the Gov 2.0 2010 conference, Joshua, an IT Architect at the Massachussets Department of Transportation, explained that he has always been puzzled about the "weather service". How come weather information is so widely available across so many channels? He came to the conclusion that it was because of weather feeds that were openly available. So, in September of 2009, his organization decided to publish the MBTA trip planning information and within two months there were 6 applications that offered trip planning information to Bostonians. There were all kinds of applications: iPhone, Web sites, Web Widgets... Later, they held a developer conference, and opened up the real-time bus schedule information. Within one hour, someone had already created a real-time display on Google Earth, after 2 days, there was a google map application within a few weeks there were several other applications, including a street sign, and SMS or IVR phone system. All, at no cost to the MBTA. Joshua sees a bright future as data is unlocked and as we step away from monolithic architectures. 

Jack noticed the same phenomenon:

Months before we - at Dutch Railways - published our mobile app to supply travel information, a full high quality equivalent was made available to the public domain by someone we didn't know and we didn't pay.

He concludes on a very optimistic note:

The world is changing rapidly. Witness this great momentum and be part of it. After watching the video below your conception of user interfaces will never be the same anymore. This is only the beginning...

Will 2010 be remembered as the tipping point when Software Architecture became "composite" instead of monolithic? Five years after the first official mash-up was published? Critical building blocks are still worked on, like OAuth, while new types of clients are appearing almost daily. It seems now that the momentum behind composite applications is inescapable. Do you agree, or do you think this is just another fad that is tied to simple data feeds and that will quickly vanish like so many other? Did you witness the same phenomena as you opened your data? Do you see even a brighter future as composition goes beyond the user interface, into processes and data? Are there any building blocks missing?

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