SOA (the term) is dead, but SOA (the architecture) lives on
April 25, 2012 —
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Related Search Term(s): APIs, cloud, SOA
Without SOA, there is no cloud
REST, of course, is a key component of cloud computing. Another is APIs. Both, some argue, are extensions of SOA—its next generation. “People are kind of morphing into APIs,” Fremantle said. “It’s a rebranding of services, offered outside the firewall, with a focus on REST, and JSON with mobile devices.”
Goldsmith agreed, saying, “The big trend is APIs, which is nothing more than a well-structured service designed to be used by a wide range of entities outside the firewall, that are easy to use and secure.”
Ken Godskind, vice president of monitoring products at SmartBear, said, “SOA is a category; APIs are a general category that fall under that. When I look at Web services, I see just XML RPCs over HTTP.” But in a world where three-quarters of new application development will be for devices—not desktops—by 2015 (according to a Forrester Research report), he said that “serving users in richer fashion will be the add-in. For applications to deliver rich functionality, it’ll be primarily with rich navigation and control containers making requests to Web services to pull in data via REST, SOAP and JSON.”
But ZapThink’s Bloomberg takes a contrarian view. “If people say API is the next-generation SOA, they only have a superficial understanding of either. It’s happening with REST as well. Often, people say their API is RESTful when it’s not. There’re tons of confusion out there, and these new approaches add to the confusion. REST is complex in the details. The point is building hypermedia apps, a bunch of Web pages linked to each other.
“People think REST is about URLs. You create APIs based on URLs, but that’s a small piece of REST. The URL might not be RESTful, in that when you click on it you don’t get a page with hyperlinks. So the buzz [around REST] is dying off, because people are getting it wrong, screwing it up, and they blame the approach.”
Goldsmith said the key to making SOA work in today’s world is governance. “Cloud is the most abused term in the industry today,” he said. “It’s all delivering a service in some way or another. Governance is at the intersection of cloud, SOA and enterprise architecture.”
Fremantle added, “A cloud service looks like a multi-tenant Web application. Under the covers, it’s an enterprise service bus, federated identity...basically a complete SOA architecture. You want a highly scalable, evolvable project. With SOA, you build for change.
“When we were talking about SOA 10 years ago, it was buying and using a service. Do you own the car or take a taxi? If you take the taxi, all the worries are outsourced. That’s a key point. Services are meant to be giving up the concern to someone else. That got lost inside the internal machinery of enterprises.”