All Posts By Joshua Smith

Josh is a freelance programmer who specializes in building intelligent mobile systems. Underneath his cynical gruff exterior is a whimsical gruff interior that is often wrong, but rarely in doubt. He lives, works, and occasionally builds robots in Pittsburgh, PA.

Josh Smith

Architecture vs. Urban Planning


Custom applications used to be like houses. You’d get a call about an application someone wanted to have written and you would spend some time architecting it. Like a house builder, you’d quiz your client about the size, the number of bathrooms, the number of garages, etc. You would go about the construction of the Spreadsheet Of Needs (or however you named it) and produce an estimate of costs and fees. Then, with the numbers gathered you would architect the solution to accommodate that menu of things the customer wanted. We would architect that house on the hill to match the customers needs and all would be well (assuming they paid on time). Custom applications aren’t really like building a house on a hill anymore. Now we build houses in existing neighborhoods, with many other applications already in place and doing things in a certain way. If we keep building our own houses, without regard for the others we’ll quickly run into trouble. You can avoid some trouble by considering modern application development in a larger context. Lucky for us, such a context already exists: Urban Planning. A pioneering urban planner, Jane Jacobs, came onto the scene in the 20th […]

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