It's hard to believe that it's only a few days until the inaugural Australian Architecture Forum.  But don't despair, there's still time to register for the event if you haven't had a chance to yet.  I've been looking at the agenda today, and it looks like it'll be a really interesting conference.  Some highlights - at least for me - are:

Dr Paul Ashley from IBM talking about IBM's take on e-Business patterns

The IBM Patterns for e-Business (p4eb) have been used by architects and specialists in sales and delivery situations for a number of years. They can be used to provide a step by step approach to designing a solution for a client, by partitioning the problem into logical business patterns. These patterns are then refined through application, runtime and deployment patterns. The advantage of using p4eb is that they are a great productivity tool in designing systems and also express the design in a common language that is easily understood. With the advent of SOAs and Web 2.0, the p4eb are evolving to make use of these new technologies. Significant work is underway to update the patterns so they reflect the current thinking in both these areas, providing new solution approaches.

It's clear to me that - at the moment - there's a dearth of good architectural guidance for enterprises looking at how best to incorporate Web 2.0 concepts into their architectures, so it'll be interesting to get IBM's perspective on this.

Phil Argy, ACS president hosting a roundtable discusing IP, and ramifications for software development

As a partner of Mallesons Stephen Jaques for over 20 years and President of ACS and on World Intellectual Property Organisation (WIPO) panel of arbitrators for the resolution of intellectual property disputes Philip Argy is uniquely qualified to lead this discussion on the discussion on the legal ramifications and challenges of writing software in Australia.

This is a really interesting topic.  Do we pay enough attention to the legal side of the systems we architect?  In my experience, I'm not sure we do...

Evan Bottcher from Thoughtworks discussing legacy application extension

The project team faced a tough challenge.  The business wanted to build some major new features for their resource planning application, but the existing code was a bit of a mess.  Serious design problems were immediately apparent which would make it difficult to deliver the new features required, and the current functionality could not be clearly understood.  There was almost no automated test coverage to give confidence.  Surely it would be best to start from a clean sheet of paper?
Instead the team embraced the legacy and carefully renovated the application while delivering new functionality.  This enabled us to make earlier and more frequent releases and reduce risk dramatically. This session will share the approach used by the team to quickly and safely extend and improve the application.

IMHO War stories are probably one of the best ways to learn more about the practice of architecture, so this session and other similar case studies from the community are going to be really valuable parts of the conference

Brett McDowell from Object Consulting talking about the practice of Architecture 

What skills, experiences and other attributes are needed to be an Architect? What levels and types of Architects are out there and what exactly do they do?

'Architecture' in IT can mean a range of things. Typically it is a poorly structured discipline within the software industry as a whole and within the software engineering fraternity in particular. One of the reasons is the number of 'soft' aspects to architecture which have proven difficult to formularise, codify and document.

Most Architects work in an ad hoc manner and will have a range of tricks and techniques and some shortcuts and preconceived ideas of what works and what doesn’t. But very few Architects can actually describe how to actually architect a system clearly, which makes it very difficult for people wishing to become architects. 

'Architecture' is such a broad term that it's often hard to figure out what it actually means to be an 'architect'.  Should be a fascinating round-table.

On that same topic, it's also good to note that IASA international president Paul Preiss will be in Australia especially for the Architecture Forum to talk about how the IASA are working with the international community to address some of the concerns the industry has regarding legitimising the role of 'architect'

Join Paul Preiss, President of the International Association of Software Architects, as he guides you through the knowledge required in today’s software architects. This knowledge base comes from the official IASA skills taxonomy (http://www.iasahome.org/web/home/skillset) which represents a revolutionary step in the development of the architecture profession. For the first time real architects detail the knowledge and capabilities which have taken them to the top of the field. The knowledge was taken from over 85 of the world’s top architects, each with over 10 years experience in IT architecture. It has been compiled into a powerful set of materials which describe the skills you need to be successful. In this exclusive session Paul will show you how to increase your existing skill set using this powerful knowledge base.

There's lots of other great sessions - the entire agenda is online for you to have a look at on the forum site.  So, if you haven't registered to come along already there's still time!  Hope to see you there!