Remember reading "The Body Ritual Among the Nacirema" in your college sociology class? That's the paper that stepped back and coldly analyzed the bizarre cultural rituals among a strange tribe residing somewhere in North America. Of course, the tribe being analyzed was modern-day American (Nacerima backwards).
So, it is funny and eye-opening to read the observations of someone who wandered into the "SOA party" and make observations that put perspective on the SOA culture and the predictable rituals that have developed.
The rituals around SOA go something like this:
- "There are some things everyone seems to agree on.... The most prominent of these is 'SOA is not a technology.'”
- "This is often followed with a stern warning about how you can’t 'buy it,' it doesn’t come 'in a box.'"
- "There also seems to be consensus about SOA that it is about 'Business-IT alignment.'”
- "There is the ubiquitous prejudice (bordering on hatred) that SOA and its practitioners seem to universally hold against the poor beleaguered 'Silo.' (Oh Silo, who weeps for thee?)"
- "...to finish up the things everyone seems to agree on, it seems that SOA is definitely not JBOWS."
- "...Oh, and SOA is loosely coupled. It is definitely loosely coupled."
The author admitted feeling confused about what SOA really was, until coming across a metaphor for SOA "that finally made it click for me in a real way":
"SOA is technology, of course, and it is architecture, but it isn’t a style of architecture, like mud huts vs. Victorian mansions; it is a scope of architecture, like Building Design vs. Urban Planning. SOA is about turning ad hoc communities of software and process into an integrated economy composed of towns that are part of larger counties that are part of larger states, and so on. SOA is about the design and execution of the master plan, the infrastructure and government and laws that all of an organizations IT entities must follow to enable peaceful, productive commerce all around."
This metaphor, the author said, sure beats "trying to picture what 'driving increased strategic business agility and alignment into the enterprise' looks like in a way that can help you build it."