Re: Bizarre verbs

Subject: Re: Bizarre verbs
From: Betsy Perry <betsyp -at- VNET -dot- NET>
Date: Tue, 3 Sep 1996 11:46:31 -0400

Stephen Victor said,

>But do we architect a building? No, an architect designs it, and a
>builder builds it. As Arlen is suggesting (I think), the use of
>"architect" in software circles to mean "build" really subverts the
>meaning of the word as it is understood outside of the software

The problem that the verb "architect" is trying to solve is that
"design" already has a specific connotation in the software community.
To software engineers, "design" is a subset of the
software-development process: it's what you do when you have already
achieved a precise understanding of what is needed (analysis), but
before you begin to write code. In other words, "design" is true
jargon: the word has a precise meaning within the community that
differs from the meaning outside the community.

When I've heard "architect" (and, yes, I understand why we're all
flinching), it was coined to describe what a software architect does:
generally some combination of requirements analysis, analysis, and
design, with a little team management thrown in. "A well-architected
system" is not quite the same as "a well-designed system". And
"architecture" is definitely not "building"; "building" is generally
reserved, in software, for creating, testing, and integrating code.

Rereading this, I fear I've been seduced over to the Jargon side of
the Force. Nonetheless, I wouldn't replace "architected" with
"designed" or "built" in a software engineering paper without
consulting the author; I would be risking completely changing the
sentence's meaning.
Elizabeth Hanes Perry betsyp -at- vnet -dot- net

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