Daily Archives: November 6, 2004

SOA Thoughts

Well, Greg and I are coming down to the wire here with our SOA book. We just got the page proofs to check – not a fun task, I can tell you. But the benefit is going over the material again.
I don’t know about you, but I don’t remember things very well that I wrote a couple of months ago…maybe I’m just getting old. Anyway, it’s good to read the chapters again since there really is a lot of detail, and a lot of information there.
A couple of months ago, while everything was still fresh in my mind, I had a chance to talk with Alice LaPlante at Web Services Pipeline and respond to several questions about SOA.
I thought they were pretty good questions about the strategic value of SOA, the kind of ROI that may be possible, how you should think about an SOA, and the role of standards.
The most important thing that pops out while reviewing the page proofs is that service orientation and SOA require a change in thinking more than anything else. And with that a change in how IT departments might be organized, the roles people play in adapting technology to the requirements of business – it’s natural that these things should change as technology changes, but it’s not always obvious since we all tend to view new things through the filter of what we already understand.
To me it’s also important to realize that the change in technology represented by XML and Web services is significant because of a change in the overall IT environment and supporting software industry. I think we are entering a phase of refinement rather than innovation.
The most significant inventions are over. Some would call this the “end of software.” But only as we know it. Software will continue. But we are not likely to have any new languages, or see any significant new inventions. Twenty years ago no one knew what a database was, or middleware, or Java. But now I think innovation like that has stopped because IT doesn’t need it any more.
IT needs refinement of what we have already invented – it needs cheaper, commodity software and technology-independent interoperability solutions. This is motivating the trend toward Web services and SOA – to get more out of current investments – as well as signaling the need for a change in thinking.

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