[devnexus 2022] meta-modern software architecture

Speaker: Neal Ford from thoughtworks


Link to table of contents


Were architectures come from

  • Architecture is reactive
  • Someone starts doing something, then others do
  • Once a bunch doing, named (after the fact)
  • Reflection on how doing software development at the time
  • Once in an architecture, can watch how it grows and changes


  • Victorian – 1801-1900 – science, cassifying natural world
  • Modernism – 1890-1945 – industriial revolution, explosive growth of cities, abstract art, radio.
  • Post-modernism – 1946-1990 – push back about modernism, irony, questioning everything, television, Seinfield’s ”never hug, never learn”
  • Post-post modernism or metamodernism – 1990-present – internet
  • Naming things is hard. Not just in software. Modernism is bad choice of name because what would come next


  • In 1989, to find out Chicago weather would need to watch Weather Channel and wait for it to cycle around or go to library. Now pull it up onlie.
  • In 1989, could read a few books and know pretty much everything about wine. Now too much info and keep generating more.
  • Holism – view various systems as whole
  • Parks and recreating is first meta-modern show
  • Breaking bad – colo driven – yellow is safe and purple is bad
  • Return to sentimentaliitiy. Can’t live on ironism alone

Software architecture

  • microservices – one of most popular pages on Martin Fowler’s website. Say what it is and more importantly, what it isn’t.
  • First law of software architecture: ”Everything in software architecture is a tradeoff”. If you haven’t encountered yet, will be in the future
  • Reuse reduces complexity but comes with high coupling
  • Metamodern software architect needs to do tradeoff analysis. Ex: things that change slowly are good for reuse such as frameworks and OS
  • service mesh and sidecar pattern – orthogonal coupling


  • ”Fundamentals of Software Architecture”
  • ”Software Architecture: the Hard Parts”
  • ”Data Mesh”


  • Consistency – atoic, eventual
  • Communication – sync, asych
  • Coordination – orchestrated, choreography
  • 8 possiblities by choosing one of each. ex: one is a monolith. All 8 can exist as pattern or antipattern.
  • Named them transactional sagas. epic, fantasy fiction, fairy tale, parallel, phone tag, horror story time travel, anthology

Richard Feinman

  • Computers used to be a room full of people (usually women) calculating things
  • Feyman added specialization and paralleliation. Some people are better at some tasks than others. And recovering from problems
  • 1945 – atomic bomb blast is what shifted eras
  • reonsider why continuing to do thing. revisit when reasons change


  • Pushed us to net era
  • Volkswagon used software to cheat on emissions test. Some people knew actively working to break the law
  • Facebook keeps getting busted for doing bad thigs – data breaches, illegally tracking users, Cambridge Analytica, using two factor for marketing.
  • Last week, Facebook made up a meme that TikTok that students slapping teachers. Then it became a self fulling prophacy

Finance and ethics

  • Modernism – double enry accounting
  • Post-modern – quants
  • Metamodern humane corporation, ethics. Recognize all connected to each other
  • Don’t want to create something cool and spening rest of career on appology tour
  • Apple, Google employees pushed back

My take

Fun start to the day. I hadn’t heard of the ”saga” approach before. Googling, at least some of them see to be a real thing. (and all are from ”the hard parts” book I also increased my book reading list. The end felt rushed. Maybe because started late?

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