Something has been nagging me lately about the three tier architecture--quite simply, it has too many tiers. If you subscribe to the full three tier architecture, you have an application that, at the end of the day, looks like this:

Yet, if you are using that architecture, you are almost certainly using it with an object oriented programming language--and if both things are true, there is a problem. It's nature may not be immediately obvious, but it is there nonetheless: this flavor of the n-tier architecture defeats the entire point of object oriented programming.

To review, one of the upside of object orientation is that data and the operations performed on it are encapsulated into a single structure. When so-called business rules (operations, really) are split into ancillary classes (the BL classes), encapsulation is broken. In effect, we are using object oriented techniques to implement procedural programming with dumb C-style structs.

The true value in the multitiered architecture is actually far simpler than this birthday-cake methodology that has been faithfully copied into so many projects: keep presentation and logic separate. Any good methodology gets this much right (like MVC).

In conclusion, the remedy is simple: if you have or are building an application with a multitiered architecture, make your code base cleaner and more intuitive by merging the BO and BL layers.