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Design vs. Architecture
by John D. Mitchell
December 10, 2004
Just what is the difference between design and architecture?


I review a fair number of books every year for various publishers and friends of mine and I'm constantly amazed how often people use the term architecture when, at best, they are just talking about design. Yeah, I understand that there's a whole slew of "grad inflation" taking place in the marketing hype but this is just ridiculous. I read even more software every year and, alas, I must say the problem isn't just with the marketing folks.

Of course, part of the problem seems to be that because software is so soft, it's possible to spend ages arguing about where we draw the line between the two. Personally, the distinction seems very simple and clear but, hey, what do I know? :-)

Here are two exhibits that highlight the difference between "design" and "architecture". Clearview: A New Typeface for US Highways and Roads Gone Wild.

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About the Blogger

John D. Mitchell is the Chief Architect of Krugle -- a search engine for developers. Along with developing and rescuing distributed enterprise systems, John advises investors and executives on technology and high-tech companies. Over the past 15 years, he has been the CTO of ElasticMedia,, jGuru and the MageLang Institute. John co-authored "Making Sense of Java: A Guide for Managers and the Rest of Us." He was the founder and contributing editor of the "Tips & Tricks" column at JavaWorld. John writes extensively on complex systems, development processes, computer languages and protocols, parsing and translating, and technological business risk management.

This weblog entry is Copyright © 2004 John D. Mitchell. All rights reserved.

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