Are vendors emphasizing the wrong approach to SOA reuse?

When things change in the business, most apps get rewritten from scratch
Written by Joe McKendrick, Contributing Writer

Reuse has been considered in many circles to be the tangible core value driver that propels SOA through the business suite. Large vendors swear by it. (Example -- IBM is a big proponent of the reuse paradigm for SOA.) Write once, use many times, right?

However, not everyone agrees that service reuse is a sustainable concept. James McGovern, for one, feels the concept of reuse is "a trap at many levels," and ultimately, an "abysmal failure."

What actually has been happening, James says, is applications or services end up being re-implemented, not reused. As he put it in a new post:

"Redeployment of selected portions of the IT portfolio have also been enabled through the use of object-orientation and therefore reuse has somewhat succeeded on a macro scale. For the most part though, it is guaranteed that when there is a technology/business change, then the entire application has to be started from scratch again."

The more practical level of reuse occurs "by reusing business rules," he adds. "Reuse of process feels intuitive yet at many levels is a trap, while business rules is less understood due to its non-procedural way of approaching problems while preferring declarative thinking."

Hmm. Is the idea, then, to facilitate consistent business rules in one place that act as the triggers for specific services across the enterprise? It would be good to get more insights (or incites!) from James on this topic.

And, why isn't there more of an emphasis on business rules reuse, then? Analysts don't think in these terms because there aren't enough IT vendors paying them to do so, James says. Ouch.

Readers -- give us your thoughts on reuse. Can it work, or is it doomed to failure?

[poll id=12]

Editorial standards