We Killed These Things With Fire: economics, society and system design

Key takeaways
  • The architectural patterns that are "best practices" are influenced heavily by social economic factors
  • They are also cyclical in nature!
  • This talk will inspire skepticism in one-size fits all best practices and encourage people to maintain legacy systems when the context still fits.

The first reaction to a legacy system is typically "kill it with fire", but what if you're actually spending millions of dollars and man hours replacing a functioning system with a less efficient solution? This talk explores the social and economic factors that led systems being designed the way they were, how shifts in those factors cause these patterns to fall out of fashion, and how some of them are coming back in a different format today. Understanding the reasons why something seemed like a good idea at the time is key to modernizing complex legacy systems.

Marianne Bellotti

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