Architecture in the systems world is as vast as the galaxy, and architects who operate in it have unique challenges like no other role that comes to mind easily. What makes it even more challenging is that only a handful of educational institutions offer a formal degree program in this discipline. Unlike their counterparts in the building world with framed diplomas hanging on the walls, architectural knowledge is not so easy to acquire. It's a refined discipline which only the brave Jedi knights with special aptitude have chosen to take on. With the rapid rate of change in the business world and the speed of technology innovation, architects need a medium to stay current, exchange ideas with peers, and grow. Only individuals who are comfortable dealing with ambiguity, who possess knowledge and experience in many disciplines, and who enjoy juggling the requirements of various stakeholders tend to venture into this exciting and exigent frontier. The Journal is a key medium that goes a long way to making this possible.
Reading through the six articles and admiring the meandering graphics in this edition I learned new things and found perspective on perplexing questions that sometimes keep me awake at night. Richard Veryard and Philip Boxer's article made we wander the streets of an agile Metropolis seeking parallels with SOA governance space. I stepped through a comprehensive, pre-flight checklist for evaluating technologies from Anna Liu and Ian Gorton for my services-based integration needs. If I had to solve picking the right transportation alternatives for Web services, I would take the route of "Planes, Trains, and Automobiles" by Simon Guest. For a moment there, I thought I was reading about metropolitan transportation planning.