I just read Tim Bray's entry entitled SOA Talk where he mentions listening to Steve Gillmor, Doc Searls, Jon Udell, Dana Gardner, and Dan Farber talk about SOA via “The Gillmor Gang” at ITConversations. I tried to listen to the radio show a few days ago but had the same problems Tim had. A transcript would definitely be appreciated.

What I found interesting is this excerpt from Tim Bray's blog post

Apparently a recent large-scale survey of professionals revealed that “SOA” has positive buzz and high perceived relevance, while “Web Services” scores very low. Huh?

This is very unsurprising to me. Regular readers of my blog may remember I wrote about the rise of the Service Oriented Architecture fad a few months ago. Based on various conversations with different people involved with XML Web Services and SOA I tend to think my initial observations in that post were accurate. Specifically I wrote

The way I see it the phrase "XML Web Services" already had the baggage of WSDL, SOAP, UDDI, et al so there a new buzzphrase was needed that highlighted the useful aspects of "XML Web Services" but didn't tie people to one implementation of these ideas but also adopted the stance that approaches such as CORBA or REST make sense as well.

Of the three words in the phrase "XML Web Services" the first two are implementation specific and not in a good way. XML is good thing primarily because it is supported by lots of platforms and lots of vendors not because of any inherrent suitability of the technology for a number of the tasks people utilize it for. However in situations where this interop is not really necessary then XML is not really a good idea. In the past, various distributed computing afficionados have tried to get around this by talking up the The InfoSet which was just a nice way of deprecating the notion of usage of the XML text format everywhere being a good thing. The second word in the phrase is similarly inapllicable in the general case. Most of the people interested in XML Web Services are interested in distributed computing which traditionally and currently is more about the intranet than it is about the internet. The need to justify the Web-like nature of XML Web Services when in truth these technologies probably aren't going to be embraced on the Web in a big way seems to have been a sore point of many discussions in distributed computing circles.

Another reason I see for XML Web Services having negative buzz versus SOA is that when many people think of XML Web Services, they think of overhyped technologies that never delivered such as Microsoft's Hailstorm.  On the other hand, SOA is about applying the experiences of 2 decades of building distributed applications to building such applications today and in the future. Of course, there are folks at Microsoft who are wary of being burned by the hype bandwagon and there've already been some moves by some of the thought leadership to distance what Microsoft is doing from the SOA hype. One example of this is the observation that lots of the Indigo folks now talk about 'Service Orientation' instead of 'Service Oriented Architecture'.

Disclaimer: The above comments do not represent the thoughts, intentions, plans or strategies of my employer. They are solely my opinion.


Tuesday, June 1, 2004 2:00:15 AM (GMT Daylight Time, UTC+01:00)
I completely agree that SO is a much better term than XML Web Services. In the long term, I believe it will be akin to what OO changed when it arrived. In the meantime, we have a lot of people doing procedural programming with webservices, ouch!
BTW, the first link is wrong and points to about:blank/weblog/PermaLink.aspx?guid=8b8b7a13-4ebb-4811-99ee-b019f4a3869e.
Tuesday, June 1, 2004 2:18:43 AM (GMT Daylight Time, UTC+01:00)
What are you using to read my weblog? The relative link in that post displays fine if accessed from a Web browser or from a recent version of RSS Bandit.
Tuesday, June 1, 2004 3:33:07 AM (GMT Daylight Time, UTC+01:00)
Thanks for your comments re The Gillmor Gang, Dare. We'll have a transcript of this and future programs. The show is released in three stages. First, there's the live show. Next is the on-demand audio. Lastly, we post the transcripts. We've assumed that listeners would like to hear the show ASAP rather than wait for the transcripts to be completed. Please let me know if you feel otherwise. Also, since it's a 3-day weekend we won't have the transcripts done for quite a few days yet. Check back to the GG home page for transcripts: http://www.itconversations.com/series/gillmorgang.html

Tuesday, June 1, 2004 9:59:56 PM (GMT Daylight Time, UTC+01:00)
It remains to be seen whether SOA (or SO) turns out to be overhyped and underdelivered. It is true that you can learn from your mistakes and apply the lessons learned from distributed OOD to SO, I wonder how many will. In addition, even though it has been hyped that 'this is the way we will design in the future', I have not seen many practical applications built upon the principles of SOA. I could see if there was an application out there that you could point to, and say that the application followed the SOA guidelines, therefore it is an SOA application, and here is why it is better than what we have (XML Web Services). But I've just seen people go on about the benefits of SO without providing any real world reference applications that demonstrate the benefits of SOA. I think that the best example so far has been what Amazon built (obidos). And that system was built way before SO was termed. I am not saying that SOA is BS, I am just asking: where are the reference applications?
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