In case I didn't mention it, I'm currently working with the RDW for 2d/wk. The ultimate way to keep up is to return to the industry and do some actual work. The focus is on 'architecture' which is a really broad term. We're looking at introducing the subject in our curriculum. I'll blog about this some other time.
One of the first activities was to attend the Landelijke Architectuur Congres (crappy site). The focus of this congres is not so much on "software" architecture as it is on "enterprise/IT/information" architecture. I was a bit worried about grey haired pompous speakers giving abstract talks. This didn't turn out to be the case. It was a nice way to get introduced into the subjects, get to know the names, see the vendors and what they are vending. Although the crowd was different from a technical conference, it was diverse.
Some talks were too academic, some talks were a bit too obvious, some were badly disguised sales pitches and some were just right. I won't describe all the talks since there were a lot, but mention some highlights.
Daan Rijsenbrij voiced his opinions on architects and what they should be doing. There still isn't consensus on that. But after a few days at the RDW I can already support the statement that it's 80% talking, explaining, influencing, guiding, changing. A lot of "peoplework". He had hired a professional cartoonist to create some visualisations for him, something well worth considering if you have to make an important pitch.
Michael Widjaja: nothing really interesting about architecture, but we might want to pay some more attention to web 2.0 in our webprofile? Did you already know http://www.midomi.com/ ?
Harmen vd Berg: commercial demo of the Archimate language (in the tool Architect). Internationally there are a number of competing products for creating architecture models. But in the Netherlands Archimate is winning the battle. And since we got a Surf license I'll give a look and see if it might be interesting for my (technically inclined) students.
Frank Baldinger from the NL Architectuur Forum spoke about education and presented a book "Competences of IT Architects" which I'll receive in the mail. This might prove useful when thinking about architecture in our curriculum.
Tobias Kuipers: is it an idea to make architects responsible for the end quality of a project? It would at least result in more effort of the architect to get his architecture understood and used. A famous quote: "The street remains long after the houses have gone", or rephrased: "Concentrate on the lines, not on the boxes".
Olaf Zimmerman gave a nice demonstration of applied research. He has collected a large number of design decisions made in SOA projects and put them in a database. He then created a decision supporting wiki which can search the database. This created a 'mentoring' tool which proved more effective in supporting developers than an architecting document full of "must and shalls".