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Behind the Service Oriented Architecture Hype

Posted by daniel on June 25, 2003 at 11:16 AM PDT

The featured Weblog in Java Today is Michael Champion's piece titled "SOA: One acronym to bind them all?" As developers we here jargon and approach it with caution. Once a particular technique or methodology seems to be gaining traction, many people pile on and claim to be adherents. In the Extreme Programming (XP) world, people were giving talks on how they were doing XP but not following any of the practices. "We're doing XP," they would say, "but we believe in big up front design, don't allow any pairing or conversation between developers and customers, and we have a QA team that will do the testing later." It made it difficult for other developers who were new to the methodology to figure out what XP was about.

Champion wrestles with understanding what a service is and tries to separate principles of good design from the principles of Service Oriented Architectures. Loose coupling and standards based aren't just owned by folks doing SOA. Champion also separates implementation details from the ideas and goals of SOA. The details are encapsulated in acronyms from CORBA to SOAP and from IDL to WSDL. Champion takes a broader look at distributed systems architectures.

In other featured Weblogs today, John Mitchell recommends those putting on conferences to mingle with the rest of us in "Sitting With The Audience". Chris Campbell muses on the development process in "Five Minutes on the Soap Box. The following paragraph particularly caught my eye. "We as developers need to think less about writing monolithic applications. It should be more like putting a jigsaw puzzle together, where the pieces are things like reusable libraries and remote web services. Invariably, when you're putting a puzzle together, there are one or two pieces missing. Resist the urge to just shove the piece of gum you've been chewing for the past four hours into the hole. Sure it might fill the gap, but it probably looks quite poor in comparison to the rest of the puzzle. Also, it's no fun scraping old gum off a table. Yuck. Spend the extra effort, even if it doubles your development cycle, writing a small library. Chances are, someone else out there (perhaps even you a few months later) will find the library useful and will really appreciate the savings in their development cycle. "

In Also Today, an Open source implementation of the OASIS standard XACML is posted in "XACML:A New Standard Protects Content in Enterprise Data Exchange." Frank Sommers writes about Web Services and the latest J2EE release in his JavaWorld article "J2EE 1.4 eases Web Service Development."

Steve Mallett, the Java Today news editor has gathered the following Java Today News Headlines: "Defense looks to the next wave of PKI and smart-card use", "J2EE Service for Extended Transaction available on Public Review", "W3C ratifies SOAP 1.2", "JavaWizardComponent 1.0 Released" and "Microsoft offers brand to mobile developers a la Sun".