You’re a RIA Architect, I want to hear you say it..


I was asked via Steam Chat today from a close friend of mine "Where can I get some decent RIA work.." to which I had a fumbled reply (weakness here for our RIA community). It was a great question and something I've often thought about in terms of how our RIA communities from both Adobe and Microsoft work (another post).

Later that chat..

We got onto talking, and I should clarify that Grae is quite an exceptionally talented RIA Producer. He can both code and design with the best of them and I wish I could clone 50 more of him.

The biggest problem Grae faced was how to position himself that reflected on his capabilities and passion. His talent is never questioned, his approach is. In that he'll do what I used to do, join a team, begin building a product/solution and somewhere along the line hit a point of frustration. Then one starts to consider exit strategies.

The real problem for Grae is that he's taken roles that are either designer or developer, never really in the middle. To not only emphasis his pain points, he's also one of the guys in the team that can see all the angles from end to end thus frustration creeps in.

As he can see weak points in the code or design starting to arise and he wants to fix them, in fact he knows how to fix them but can't quite get the message across. As the moment he does, folks feel he's encroaching on their patch and can at times get defensive.

Here is where we need to all say this out loud. Grae, you're a RIA Architect.


The downside for folks like Grae is that software teams aren't acknowledging this position as well as they should. The ones that do, I feel are the ones whom are capable of shipping tomorrow.

I think it's high time we acknowledge this out loud and proud as you can spot the good RIA Architects of today. Just look at their resume and see the patterns that emerge. Usually they flip flop between design and developer and don't spend large periods of time in the one position.

Do not punish them for this, in fact pounce on them and give them a role that is in the form of software leadership, as trust me you will thank me for it in the long run.

Here's what Grae stated after I made him say "I'm a RIA Architect" out loud and proud:

seven: it wasn't until you said it then
seven: and I said it back
seven: that I realised actively what the source of my frustration was
seven: taking positions where I couldn't enact required change
seven: because no matter how high my role in the creative realm
seven: I didn't have enough authority
seven: and profitable RIA/Interactive requires a solid blend of creative, production and tech
seven: even CD can't really kick tech ass
seven: and works under an EP to deal with producers

If anyone needs a quality RIA Architect, give Grae a call/email.

Comments (3)
  1. VariousArtist says:

    This really hits home.  For a decade I was a consultant doing mostly hard-core server and database programming at large companies with big project life-cycles.  And then another decade working at smaller startups where my activities bleed into the user interface, taking my personal interest in this area to a professional level.  Outside of the office I’ve always been more interested in working on the user interface — and although I am not a designer in the strict sense of the word, I certainly can hold my own.  

    I really want to be in the middle of it all, because I can pull together all the separate pieces — and if necessary, I can build something end to end that looks good on the front and functions well on the back-end.  When it’s just me, I can do the whole thing really fast.  Unfortunately this goes against the grain of many projects, and in these fast-paced times I rarely see the benefits with the traditional approach.

    Thanks for posting this.  I am going to look in a mirror and say what you want to hear along with "You’re good enough, you’re smart enough, and, gosh darn it, people like you" **

    Peter Matuchniak

    — "Jack of all trades" (or "Jerk of all Trades"?)

    — Silverlight, Flash

    — C#, Visual Basic, Java, C++, COBOL, Fortran

    — ASP, PHP

    — Oracle, SQL Server, DB2, MySQL

    — .NET, COM, Corba, Web Services, XML, blah blah

    (**with apologies to SNL)

  2. Garry Trinder says:


    You’re a RIA Architect! hehe

  3. Jon Pielak says:

    I’m a CD of a web dev firm, we implement MOSS, enterprise WCM/ECM portals, intranets, extranets…on and on.  Not terribly distinctive.  However, I’m trying to move us to RIA…yet cannot get management and even clients past the perception of it being the ‘skip intro’ of five years ago (motion for motion’s sake)  Wheres the ROI?

    I have to admit, the cadre of sandbox samples out there are not helping any.  Photo galleries tied into flickr, cute video games, video players, etc..the business value is missing.  Build and ‘sell’ something credible, and I’m sure they’ll come around.

    A massive enterprise example, but this is where sandboxes need to be going.

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