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Service Oriented Mashups

Posted by johnreynolds on February 21, 2006 at 4:56 PM PST

What can Service Oriented Architects learn from Mashups?

I came across this quote recently:

"What programmers in a hundred years will be looking for, most of all, is a language where you can throw together an unbelievably inefficient version 1 of a program with the least possible effort." Paul Graham

Paul is probably right, because his vision of what programmers will want in a hundred years is pretty much what many of us want today... Give us tools that let us cobble together existing services in nifty new ways that will wow and impress our bosses and loved ones. The AJAX-enabled Google Maps mashups are certainly hot this year, and quite probably hint at our future if we pay close attention to the underlying catalysts:

"We know we don't have a corner on creativity. There are creative people all around the world, hundreds of millions of them, and they are going to think of things to do with our basic platform that we didn't think of." Vint Cerf

But what does any of this mashup stuff have to do with Service Oriented Architects? Aren't mashups just about fluffy browser stuff?

Perhaps that is true for the moment, but the climate for "business oriented" mashups is about to get a lot more interesting...

AJAX does a fair job of cobbling services together on a web page, but what about cobbling together services into long running processes?
Tools for orchestrating services have been around for a few years, but just as it took Google Maps to propel XmlHttpRequest into the limelight, we haven't really seen Service Orchestration take off yet.

Free orchestration tools like NeBeans 5.5 may just change that.

NetBeans 5.5 "out of the box" integrates the PXE BPEL engine and a Visual Orchestration Designer, dramatically lowering the "barrier to entry" for anyone who wants to experiment with composite service oriented applications.

I have been a proponent of Process Driven Design for quite some time, but until now it has always been quite a challenge for anyone to get started; too many parts to download and install. With NetBeans 5.5, getting started will almost be child's play... In a single (free) IDE you will be able to create Service Endpoints and Orchestrate them into long running processes (Oracle's BPEL Designer for Eclipse is similar, but has a few strings).

What this means to my fellow Service Oriented Architects is that your services are about to get a whole lot more accessible. "Power Users" within your own company are about to discover the bounty that you have provided, and just as Google never dreamed what the public would do with their maps, you are about to discover that your own services can be "mashed up" in ways that you never imagined.

Let the games begin ;-)


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