Engineering the Future of Software
Feb 25–26, 2018: Training
Feb 26–28, 2018: Tutorials & Conference
New York, NY

Defining software architecture

Martin Fowler (ThoughtWorks), Neal Ford (ThoughtWorks), Brian Foster (O'Reilly Media)
9:05am–9:25am Tuesday, February 27, 2018
Location: Grand Ballroom
Average rating: *****
(5.00, 6 ratings)

Creating good definitions is difficult. In this fireside conversation, conference cochairs Neal Ford and Brian Foster sit down with Martin Fowler, one of the great definers of the software world. Martin has been using his unique combination of blog and wiki (the bliki) to help coin and popularize terms, techniques, trends, and other aspects of the development ecosystem in clear, understandable prose. The conversation kicks off by considering the historical struggles to define software architecture before moving to how that definition has evolved during its usage.

Photo of Martin Fowler

Martin Fowler


Martin Fowler is an author, speaker, consultant, and self-described loud-mouthed pundit on the topic of software development. He works for ThoughtWorks, a software delivery company, where he has the exceedingly inappropriate title of chief scientist. Martin has written half-a-dozen books on software development, including Refactoring and Patterns of Enterprise Application Architecture. He writes regularly about software development on Martin’s main interest is to understand how to design software systems to maximize the productivity of development teams, which includes both the patterns of good software design and the processes that support software design. He has become a big fan of Agile approaches and the resulting focus on evolutionary software design. Martin doesn’t come up with original ideas but does a pretty good job of recognizing and packaging the ideas of others—or, as Brian Foote puts it, he’s “an intellectual jackal with good taste in carrion.”

Photo of Neal Ford

Neal Ford


Neal Ford is a director, software architect, and meme wrangler at ThoughtWorks, a global IT consultancy that thinks disruptively to deliver technology to address the toughest challenges, all while seeking to revolutionize the IT industry and create positive social change. Neal focuses on designing and building large-scale enterprise applications. He is an internationally recognized expert on software development and delivery, especially in the intersection of Agile engineering techniques and software architecture. Neal has authored magazine articles, seven books (and counting), and dozens of video presentations and has spoken at hundreds of developers conferences worldwide on the topics of software architecture, continuous delivery, functional programming, and cutting-edge software innovations. Check out his website at He welcomes feedback and can be reached at

Photo of Brian Foster

Brian Foster

O'Reilly Media

Brian Foster is a content director at O’Reilly Media, where he focuses on acquiring and shaping content in the areas of software architecture and development. He is also cochair of O’Reilly’s Software Architecture conference. Brian has been working in the book publishing and media industries for over 10 years and has a wealth of experience developing content for business, finance, financial engineering, statistical computing, and related markets. You can follow him on Twitter at @brianatoreilly.

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