The acceptance of a new technology or paradigm depends on our ability to visualize how it will look in the end. That appears to be a problem with service-oriented architecture (SOA). Propylon CTO Sean McGrath lamentsthat it's difficult to form a mental picture of what, exactly, an SOA is supposed to look like. The XML guru points out that's either because "SOA is a new area and theindustry is still coalescing around the key abstractions," or, perhaps,"there are no pictures of an SOA because there is nothing much underthe acronym to draw pictures of."
SearchWebServices.com also continues its search for meaning, and provides this update on how people are defining SOA. The definition that seems to be getting the most kudos is one put forth by Michael Champion, R&D specialist with Software AG. "Services that provide something of value to those who know how to requestand consume them, without having to know how to produce that value. SOAis an approach to building software applications as collections ofautonomous services that interact without regard to each other'splatform, data structures, or internal algorithms."
Now if only people could interact with each other this way.
For purposes of this blog, wedefine SOA, or Service-Oriented Architecture, as an intelligent networkof reusable Web services-enabled applications invoked in support ofbusiness processes. An SOA could be two or more Web services,loosely coupled but acting in concert, providing a purchase order flowbetween a customer and a supplier. Eventually, well see multi-serviceSOAs encompassing processes that stretch across the enterprise. But we like Michael Champion's definition as well.