These days, the SOA community is increasingly able to agree on basic SOA terms and concepts, said John deVadoss, the leader of the Patterns and Practices team at Microsoft, and a co-author of SOA with .NET & Windows Azure: Realizing Service-Orientation, a recent addition to Thomas Erls’ SOA series from Prentice-Hall.
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We recently spoke with deVadoss about the book and related topics. He reminded us that if you get five architects together in one room to talk about SOA, you might hear ten different perspectives on what a service-oriented architecture really is. But the growing body of practical experience is tempering those debates.
“Two or three years ago,” deVadoss told us, “there was little practical experience to draw from. The debate was still about whether or not there was value in SOA.” But that changed relatively quickly, he indicated. These days, as SOA with .NET & Windows Azure attests, there is a well defined set of patterns that help support more consistent services composition.
Although the adoption rates vary considerably from Asia to Western Europe, there is now markedly greater acceptance worldwide and therefore more cases to study. Architects can look back and say “Here’s how to do this,” where they used to say “I think you can do this.” In other words, SOA has gone from theoretical to practical, according to deVaddos. He emphasized, however, that there are “no silver bullets, no one-size-fits-all solutions.”
According to deVadoss, “The underlying theme of SOA is composition,” meaning compiling existing systems and services to form new composite applications to present to the users. It’s the process of exposing legacy systems and compositing them with services to create useful applications.
I got the impression that the toolset on the Microsoft platform is analogous to a set of golf clubs. A driver is great for teeing off, but you wouldn’t want to use it for some of the trickier shots closer to the hole, which is similar to the way that RESTful services can cover a lot of ground in terms of setting up a useful Web service quickly but has limitations when it comes to trickier tasks like shoring up security risks.
SOA with .NET & Windows Azure: Realizing Service-Orientation with the Microsoft Platform is another in the series of Prentice Hall Service-Oriented Computing books, edited by noted SOA expert, Thomas Erl. In his newest book, Erl collaborates with several other authors, many of them closely affiliated with Microsoft. Check out Chapter 1 at SOAbooks.com for a look at the book’s structure and subject matter.