Some SOA summer reading

SOA should not be a mystery, so nothing helps more than reading up on the subject.

Summertime is here, and nothing beats a good, enthralling mystery novel. Of course, SOA should not be a mystery, so nothing helps more than reading up on the subject. Thus, here is a summer reading list (and I originally published at Webservices.Org) that really helps gear up for the fall season.

Service Orient or Be Doomed! , by ZapThink's Ron Schmelzer and Jason Bloomberg, provides a high-level perspective of what SOA means, if anything, to the business at large. In the book, the authors discuss what they call the "secret sauce" of SOA, which is loose coupling. They describe the concept as akin to making every interaction with and between IT systems as easy as surfing the Web. "What if any step in any business process could take advantage of loose coupling to the point that not only human-to-computer interactions had it this easy, forgiving nature, but computer-to-computer interactions did as well? That's the power behind service orientation." The authors optimistically observe that with an SOA focus, IT can play a role in more strategic business endeavors.

Service-Oriented Architecture Compass , written by Norbert Bieberstein and several other colleagues, takes you to the next step, developing a roadmap to plot the course of your SOA. While the book is fairly a dry read, it does cover all the ground of need-to-know stuff in selling, planning and implementing SOA. It’s a good reference for when you put together your next business plan or project proposal. The authors also discuss the seven guiding principles ever SOA should follow, including top-level commitment; close cooperation between business and IT; and by starting small in a “well-defined application or business process area.” The authors also encourage the adoption of “innovative software design engineering principles,” including open source development and event-based modeling.  

The Joy of SOX: Why Sarbanes-Oxley and Service-Oriented Architecture May Be the Best Thing That Ever Happened to You helps you make a compelling business case for SOA to your management, especially if you work for a large publicly traded firm, or do a lot of business with publicly traded firms. Author Hugh Taylor makes a convincing case of why SOA really can make a big difference for relieving immediate business pain. In fact, you don’t have to have to be in a SOX-afflicted company to appreciate the agility, transparency, and single view of the business SOA can bring. SOA may be the way to integrate data and systems in an organized and cost effective way. Perhaps he should just take references to SOX out of the title, and it all makes perfect sense,

The Age of Spiritual Machines by Ray Kurzweil, and his recent follow-up work, The Singularity is Near, don't really talk about SOA, but they do ask -- and to some degree answer -- where all this automation is taking us. In Spiritual Machines, published in 1999, Kurzweil says that computers are rapidly gaining intelligence, are acquiring humanlike intelligence, and will eventually even collectively exceed human intelligence. Within a few decades, computers will be able to gather knowledge on their own. By the 2020s, "it will become increasingly difficult to draw any clear distinction between the capabilities of human and machine intelligence."

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