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A Call to Action For SOA Developers

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A new whitepaper written by David Linthicum discusses two important ideas about SOA that are not often discussed together: the real value of SOA to businesses and a core SOA technology called process configuration that is used to create SOA applications. This new white paper combines these two ideas into a single discussion as a way of making the case that creating SOA-based applications is not complicated or expensive as is commonly thought.

Linthicum first makes the case that reuse – what most people originally thought was the core value of using SOA techniques – has not proved to be real, tangible value to business. Instead, Linthicum argues, agility – the ability to respond rapidly to changing business conditions – has become the real payoff for developers and managers who deploy SOA techniques.

"Today, improving core business processes is an urgent need in most organizations because they must be responsive to shifting and uncertain economic conditions," said David Linthicum, principal consultant, David S. Linthicum, LLC. "It is indisputable that SOA-based application development delivers the agility businesses require. What we have set out to prove in this document is that the notion that SOA-based development is complex and resource-hungry is incorrect. With recent advantages in standards-compliant technology and products, it is possible to gain the benefits of SOA quickly and affordably."

The white paper goes on to assert that the idea of “process configuration,” also known as “process orchestration” is the core SOA development technique that leads directly to the desired level of business agility. Furthermore, Linthicum argues that process orchestration using standards like BPEL has become far easier for Java developers than ever before, given the progress that’s been made in products that implement SOA standards. New, all-in-one design, development and deployment environments like ActiveVOS from Active Endpoints are used as an example of the rapid progression of the state-of-the-art.

Finally, the white paper concludes with a “call-to-action” that challenges managers and developers to abandon their assumptions that SOA development is complex and expensive and encourages them to adopt today’s SOA-based products.

Leveraging Process Configuration within the Context of SOA is available for free here. It is not necessary to register to download the whitepaper.



Jeroen Wenting replied on Fri, 2009/03/20 - 7:28am

don't try to sell me on 'easy SOA'. Just spent a day trying to correct the errors one of those 'easy SOA' tools caused in a BPEL project by dropping foreign keys and other relationships behind the scenes while keeping them visible in the user interface (so while the process failed, the user interface didn't show the reason it was failing).
Debugging dozens of multi-thousand line XML files by hand because I can't trust the tools that are supposed to generate and maintain them is not my definition of 'easy' or 'painless'.

Ronald Miura replied on Fri, 2009/03/20 - 8:36am

"It is indisputable that SOA-based application development delivers the agility businesses require." Bullshit. Could someone answer me one simple question: what REAL problem does it solve? I mean, in concrete terms, and not in some abstract statements like 'delivers agility'?

Alex(JAlexoid) ... replied on Sat, 2009/03/21 - 4:14pm

Nice idea, though when I think of it a few points come to mind:

  1. SOA is not only about process orchestration
  2. SOA is far beyond WS-* and BPEL (those are only the common technical elements)
  3. BPEL has a LOT of issues to usablity for the non technical people, even with all of those improvements
  4. As more and more scenarios are introduced to BPEL, in my personal expereince, becomes a programming language just like Java or C#. Therefore there is still a need for a tech'y to do a lot of work. Anything beyond the most simple examples fails miserably.
  5. The main argument against BPEL is thatthere is no easy way to do business rules. And business rules are the things that bring agility(ease of modification) to business processes.

So yeah, the idea behind BPM with SOA+WS* is quite nice, but it is heavy. I mean most SOA s/w vendors and SOA consulting companies have given up on full scale SOA deployemnts long ago.


* - BTW, BPM may be implemented without WebServices style architecture, even without the traditional SOA. I have expereince where, BPM without SOA+WS works even better and processes are easier to modify then BPM(BPEL) + SOA + WS  

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