Friday, September 16, 2005

Caution: Service Oriented Architects Ahead

The big IT players are all making a big deal about Service Oriented Architecture (SOA). Apparently SOA is the next gold rush. IBM, Microsoft, Oracle, and others have each staked a claim. The preceding links take you to the SOA welcome center for each company.

But what is SOA really? Is it, as Microsoft's Pat Helland asserts, the next step in the evolution of IT infrastructure? Or is it a swing of the pendulum -- a reaction to the shortcomings of Object Orientation? Or is it yet another attempt to wish away the essential difficulties of software development?

Don't get me wrong. I think there is a lot of value in Service Orientation. I also think there is a lot of value in Object Orientation. Both have their place. Neither is a panacea.

For more healthy skepticism, read Martin Fowler's Service Oriented Ambiguity and David Ing's Dude, Where's My SOA?.

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