Wednesday, April 19, 2006

SOA just vendor talk?

"‘SOA’ may have meant something once but it’s just vendor bullshit now."

Very interesting yet highly questionnable statement by Tim Bray. Without giving any reasonable argumentation for this bold statement, he dismisses SOA as something that does not matter anymore, and he says we should rather focus on what he calls Web style. Of course, the highly fashionable term Enterprisey is used in his post, and increasingly people are using this term to dismiss SOA without giving any argumentation for dismissing it, other than "SOA is Enterprisey". It is kind of like what open source zealots throw at you when you talk about MSFT: "oh, that's FUD!".

I do agree with Tim that simplicity is a virtue when working with the web. After all, the Internet has been such a big hit because of its simplicity. However, Tim misses the fact that the services he talks about when discussing the Web Style thing, are a completely different thing than the services we talk about when discussing SOA. I wrote before that there is something fundamentally difficult when talking about "services". There are different kind of services, and probably the name "web service" has not been the best choice. The Web Style kind of services Tim speaks about are fundamentally different from services you will usually use within an SOA. I wrote about this before too: WS-* services and REST services are not competing, they are complementary. Web Style serves another purpose than SOA. Consumer-facing services have other QoS requirements than high-volume, cross-platform A2A transaction services. One service needs to be simple and flexible, while another service should seamlessly integrate with different platforms. Different requirements ask for different services, which in turn ask for different implementations. That is the reality of today's IT world.

Once again: it is all a matter of perspective.

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