SANTA CLARA, Calif.— Adoption of SOA is still in the very early stages, but the introduction of new development tools from BEA Systems, combined with open-source components, will help the process along.
This is the view of some of the developers and system architects who attended the BEAWorld customer conference here this week to compare notes and to hear the news about the latest SOA (service-oriented architecture) technologies coming on the market.
The software industry still has a lot of work to do to convince companies to adopt SOA technology, said Craig Courtney, an enterprise architect with Cardinal Health Inc. in Dublin, Ohio.
The key sign that SOA is immature is that both technology vendors and enterprises have a lot of different definitions of what it is, Courtney said, and "All the vendors are trying to figure out what it means to them."
Courtney presented a case study about how Cardinal Health developed a road map for implementing SOA.
"But there is very little of what it means to the enterprises that are implementing it. So it is very difficult to take it to heart and actually implement it inside of an actual company," he said. "The vendors are all coming in and asking how do I sell it, not necessarily how does it benefit big business."
However, he said BEA Systems Inc. seems to have some good plans for its AquaLogic product line, which the company announced in June. AquaLogic is a platform for designing and building SOA systems.
BEA is just starting to deliver the first components of the AquaLogic product, Courtney said, and it remains to be seen how well it will work in terms of implementing real-world Web services.
BEAs acquisition of Eclipse tools developer M7 Corp. is also a positive development for developers who are interested in building SOA systems, he said.
"Any tools that can help us get more productive in actually building the applications [are] always going to be a good thing," Courtney said, adding that "there is really a dearth of tools" that help developers produce good visual interface designs.
BEA is making a wise move to support a blended development environment that supports open-source and commercial development tools, said Colin Sampaleanu, a system architect with Interface21, a private company that provides consulting, training and support for the Spring Framework.