Wide Awake Developers

SOA Without the Edifice

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Sometimes the best interactions at a conference aren’t the talks, they’re shouting. An crowded bar with an over-amped DJ may seem like an unlikely place for a discussion on SOA. Even so, when it’s Jim Webber, ThoughtWorks’ SOA practice lead doing the shouting, it works. Given that Jim’s topic is "Guerilla SOA", shouting is probably more appropriate than the hushed and reverential cathedral whispers that usually attend SOA discussions.

Jim’s attitude is that SOA projects tend to attract two things: Taj Mahal architects and parasitic vendors. (My words, not Jim’s.) The combined efforts of these two groups results in monumentally expensive edifices that don’t deliver value. Worse still, these efforts consume work and attention that could go to building services aligned with the real business processes, not some idealized vision of what the processes ought to be.

Jim says that services should be aligned with business processes. When the business process changes, change the service. (To me, this automatically implies that the service cannot be owned by some enterprise governance council.) When you retire the business process, simply retire the service.

These sound like such common sense, that it’s hard to imagine they could be controversial.

I’ll be in the front row for Jim’s talk later today.