Veresk Software Architecture

Posted by Misagh Moayyed on September 17, 2016 · 4 mins read ·
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This blog post was originally posted on Apereo GitHub Blog.

I suspect you have never had a chance to visit the Veresk Bridge. That’s cool. Neither have I. But humor me please and take a peek at it here.

Here is a slightly better-than-Wikipedia picture of the bridge:


I am going to tell you about the part that my mom told me when I was a kid and it’s a story that likely most Iranians-by-origin know as well, though its authenticity is still somewhat questionable.

The story goes that as the chief engineer, Mr. Walter Aigner, finished the architecture work and once the bridge construction was fully ready to be “tested”, he called upon Reza Shah (the head monarch of Iran at the time) to come visit the beauty in all its glory. He did also request that Reza Shah must have the honor of boarding the very first train ever to cross the bridge and cut the metaphorical ribbon with wheels on burning coal.

The bridge was a very big deal at the time; a symbol of magnificence, pride and glory for the nation. The opportunity for the common folk to see their Shah up close and witness him take part in the community to “ride the train along with his countrymen” was going to be both advantageous to the administration and a note of joy and amusement for the people.

So of course, he obliged. I also suspect that Reza Shah was not a big fan of testing things in production either. But he did ask that Mr. Aigner along with the rest of his family stand underneath the bridge and watch as he, aboard the train, crossed over. Remember; this was a first test. A smoke test that could have literally ended in smokes.

Mr. Aigner was of course so confident in his design and implementation of the bridge that he accepted. His family patiently watched from 100 meters below while the train successfully crossed the bridge without any accidents. “Cheers to the Shah”, people must have yelled.

So why am I telling you about all this? Because that’s exactly how I feel about software architecture and the responsibility of architects as they pass through iterations of design and implementation.

If you are not willing to stand by your design and your ideas in confidence…if you are not able to execute in action what may only seem a pretty diagram on paper…if you are not willing to get hands-on and learn the nuances of implementing said ideas and weigh pros and cons of each in practice…none of that is of any use to anybody, really.

Of course, let’s clarify that I:

  • Have nothing against bridges, trains or crossing over things.
  • Am not advocating for any sort of monarchy.
  • Am not advocating for any kind of violence and hostility during software design.
  • Am not advocating that you should gather your folks and sprawl out underneath the data center as you press the power button on your Pentium II.
  • Seriously shall question your sanity if you go to production with Pentium IIs.

All I am saying is, you should be held accountable. That’s all.

Misagh Moayyed

PS: The Chief Engineer, Austrian Walter Aigner, following his wishes, is today buried in the local cemetery of Veresk.