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Is SOA a 'mini-me' of Web 2.0?

Web 2.0 and SOA move toward convergence.
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Written by Joe McKendrick, Contributor on

In an adjoining post, I helped skewer the notion of Web 2.0. Now, in the interest of equal time, we look at the interplay between of what we know as Web 2.0 and SOA. Along these lines, Dion Hinchcliffe posted a provocative question in a recent blog: Is Web 2.0 the global SOA? 

This isn't a far-fetched notion. The World Wide Web itself is actually a galactic client/server system, if you think about it. No one in the early 1990s -- when IT departments were first trying to move data from legacy systems to front-office PCs -- could have imagined that a client device could hook into any server, anywhere on the globe, with a standardized piece of client code (the browser).

Now, Hinchcliffe raises the notion that things are evolving to a galactic service-oriented architecture. "Web 2.0 is all about autonomous, distributed services, remixability, and is fraught with ownership and boundary/control issues. And yet, Service-Oriented Architecture (SOA) is all about, you guessed it, autonomous, distributed services, composite functionality, and is fraught with ownership and boundary/control issues. Sound similar, no?"

He opines that Web 2.0 is "actually the most massive instance possible of service-oriented architecture, realized on a worldwide scale and sprawling across the Web."

Of course, there is a gulf. To a large extent, Web 2.0 is external, highly social, and driven by consumerism and personal computing/communication needs.  SOA is internal, and all about corporate enterprise development and productivity. 

But Web 1.0 also began on the consumer/personal side, and melded into, or perhaps even rocked the world of corporate IT departments. Hinchcliffe puts it this way: "Web 2.0 envisions the global Web as the stage writ large upon which to act out your grand visions of building collective intelligence and mashed up functionality. But scale is only one of the minor differences really, and not a genuine discriminator at all."

Both Web 2.0 and SOA are based on ubiquitous standards and ubiquitous computing, which are rapidly converging.  I like this analogy Hinchcliffe brings forth: "SOA is both the "Mini-Me" of Web 2.0 (identical in almost every way but 1/8 its size) and a key archetype for it as well."


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