Blue Skyline exists to help companies develop software and systems that achieve both the desired functionality and also the required system qualities. The system delivered should serve the business and the user community rather than being a showcase for the latest and greatest technology. The system must meet the targets not only for traditional non-functional requirements such as scalability, security and performance but also for usability, manageability, maintainability and the unspoken non-functional requirement - cost.
If your business depends on such a software-based system, there is little benefit to having a 3rd party come in, create the system and then leave again. To remain competitive, the system must adapt as your business changes, grows and evolves. In order to match this evolution, your own people must be able to extend and maintain the system. The intention of Blue Skyline is to guide the development team and help them to deliver the system the stakeholders want while at the same time transferring the skills and understanding needed to move the system forward to the different members of the team. All the time throughout this process, the focus is on what will really work in an organization’s specific environment, not what should work in an ideal world.
How Does it Work?
Blue Skyline offers a mixture of consultancy and mentoring to assist the team at the same time as enabling the delivery of the system. Many problems are solved by the adoption of best practices. These practices feed into an overall system architecture built on the technology landscape of the organization.
It is important to keep a grip of the overall architecture of the system to ensure that parts do not get out of sync with each other and that the combination of the parts does actually deliver what is required by the people paying for the system to be built. The system should have a clear architecture, whether that be service-oriented (SOA), layered, tiered or a combination of these and other styles. The architectural style should suit the application being developed and not reflect the current fashion. Equally, the devil is often in the detail so it is important that the architectural overview is combined with an understanding of what is happening in the hardware and software supporting it. “White suited architects”, as Martin Fowler calls them, can only take you so far. In order to win the hearts and minds of an implementation team the architect must also implement.
Even though technology is usually part of the problem rather than being part of the solution, technology is a key part of delivering the system. Blue Skyline has experience of various different technologies including:
• Enterprise platforms: Microsoft .NET and J2EE
• Web-based development in ASP.NET and servlets/JSP
• Internet system infrastructure including scalability, availability and performance incorporating both hardware and software
• Web Services, XML and integration
• Component-based development in EJB and plain old objects of various forms
It is important for an implementation team to adopt best practices, but this can be difficult under the day-to-day pressures of delivery timescales. Blue Skyline focuses on the adoption of best practices that help to reduce risk and give the team a greater sense of control. These include test-first development, continuous integration and the early delivery of functionality to stakeholders.
What Else Does Blue Skyline Do?
Blue Skyline has been, and continues to be, involved in authoring and training covering the areas of architecture, technology and practice. Blue Skyline has also been involved in a variety of educational projects from secondary school through to practicing professionals.
If you are interested in more information or assistance in any of these areas, then please send an email.
Blue Skyline is registered as a company in England, number 4246978.