By Darryl K. Taft  |  Posted 2007-07-15 Print this article Print

Jason Bloomberg, an analyst with ZapThink, said SOA is not about connecting things but, rather, enabling business processes and continual change. The goal is to allow users to build applications out of services, Bloomberg said. "Were really talking about service automation," Bloomberg said. "Service-oriented business applications [SOBAs] are composite applications [made up] of services that implement a business process." SOA puts greater power into the hands of the business user, and "SOBAs are most appropriate when the business requires exceptional flexibility," Bloomberg said. "Whats happening now in the SOA world is were reaching the services tipping point—from a focus on building services to consuming services. This has given rise to the mashup. A mashup is a flexible composition of services within a rich user interface environment."
Governance is key to the enterprise mashup, Bloomberg said. Without it, mashups are dangerous. "Without SOA, mashups are toys," he said. "Some business users will build mashups as tools mature. The tools are still too technical. There will be an expanding role for business analysts, but for now IT will do the mashing up for the business. The majority of business users will not do any applications."
JackBes Crup said the real reason SOAs emerged was that integration costs were too high. "Business doesnt care about SOA," Crup said. "Business doesnt care if its two cans and a string holding their stuff together. Business wants to be able to bring their stuff to the market." JackBe enables development of Enterprise 2.0 applications with its Presto family of solutions that leverage SOA and Web 2.0 technologies. Thomas Kurian, senior vice president of development for Oracles middleware platform products, said there are three key trends in the market: SOA, Web 2.0 and grid computing. "[With Web 2.0,] the way users access enterprise applications is changing," said Kurian in Redwood Shores, Calif. "It uses a common UI that combines transactional behavior and collaborative behavior, and this is through a browser." Chris Morino, CEO of SnapLogic, said there is a REST interface between each component in the SnapLogic platform. SnapLogic, of San Mateo, Calif., makes open-source Internet data services. "Were taking the data and putting it into a form that looks like RSS," Morino said. "We have a UI that looks like Yahoo Pipes except its not just for RSS. Its like Yahoo Pipes for enterprise data or Yahoo Pipes for everybodys data." Steve Mills, senior vice president and group executive for IBM Software, in Armonk, N.Y., said, "When SOA meets Web 2.0, it brings the people impact into the picture. Were leveraging things like RSS and Atom for this. We think theres tremendous leverage around Web 2.0. People need to get at information in real time, and personal impact is going to have a big impact on SOA technologies." The classic Web 2.0 examples of creating mashups from diverse content are what users think about, Mills said. "This is where the information assets and people productivity issues come together," he said. John deVadoss, director of architecture strategy at Microsoft, in Redmond, Wash., said SOA and Web 2.0 are two sides of the same coin: Both leverage services and messaging and interact with composite applications. In addition, deVadoss said, Web 2.0 delivers search, rich content, services management and collaboration, while, on the SOA side, Microsofts BizTalk Server enables service orchestration. Microsoft brings three perspectives to the equation, deVadoss said. One is that the .Net Framework enables the use of WS-* and the more commonly used REST model. ASP.Net and SharePoint bring in the consumption angle and enable search and discovery, as well as collaboration. Then there is Microsofts Web 2.0 and SOA tooling, which includes ASP.Net AJAX—the companys AJAX tool—and Silverlight for RIA development, deVadoss said. "The Web 2.0 model is able to consume and interact with business services, and with Silverlight these can be [RIAs]," deVadoss said. "This integration is how you make SOA come to life." Even Microsofts simple-to-use mashup tool, Popfly, has a role. "Composition is the classical theme from an application-model perspective for the [foreseeable] future," deVadoss said. "I see a spectrum of composition—from lightweight mashups to Office Business Applications. Well cover enthusiasts all the way to professional developers." Check out eWEEK.coms for the latest news, views and analysis on servers, switches and networking protocols for the enterprise and small businesses.

Darryl K. Taft covers the development tools and developer-related issues beat from his office in Baltimore. He has more than 10 years of experience in the business and is always looking for the next scoop. Taft is a member of the Association for Computing Machinery (ACM) and was named 'one of the most active middleware reporters in the world' by The Middleware Co. He also has his own card in the 'Who's Who in Enterprise Java' deck.

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