SOA? Hey! How 'bout it? and Service Packs Too.

The world is abuzz with acronyms. One that's getting a bit overheated IMO is Service Oriented Architecture -- "SOA".

Why is it that architect - developer people get into this "Baffle 'em with Bullshit" mindset anyway? Let's keep it simple, folks! What is "SOA" anyway?

I prefer the simple definition:

"A service-oriented architecture is a collection of services that communicate with each other. The services are self-contained and do not depend on the context or state of the other service. They work within a distributed systems architecture."

Now that's pretty simple; it doesn't baffle us with high-falutin whitepaper B.S., and we feel better since most of us are already doing this kind of stuff anyway.

Note that it doesn't say "whose" system, or "what brand" or even what language / platform. SOA has been around for 20 years. The only real difference is that we have more interoperability in the form of XML / SOAP, that's why the buzzword. It seems these days that anything that uses SOAP / XML/ loosely-connected anything (even if it just "says" it uses it but doesn't even really do so) gets to be knighted as the latest "AJAX". (Actually I suggested "AHAB" - A lotta Hype And Bullshit.)

First we had the Gartner Gurus touting this stuff all over the place charging customers to advise them on this next "big software strategy". Then the Microsoft Maharishis got ahold of it and found themselves a new Mantra. They said that the "A" in SOA shouldn't be there, because it wasn't about "Architecture". Now they are happy with the "A" and they've got a new mantra, but it's still the same Whitepaper B.S.

The first service-oriented architecture for many Windows platform developers in the past was with the use of DCOM.

You guys need to climb down off those ivory towers and just get down to the basics that any of us with average intelligence can easily understand. When it gets to start sounding like some sort of new "religion", and there are more whitepapers on it than there are code samples, you know you've gone too far. I got one for ya:

Service Architecture Networked To Administrivia

"Things should be made as simple as possible, but no simpler." -- Albert Einstein

Einstein, a German immigrant who didn't even speak English as his native language, did a pretty good job of keeping it simple for the "folks".

On a slightly different note, I read Scott Wiltamuth's post about the upcoming Service Packs for VS.NET 2003 and VS.NET 2005. The post itself is short and basically just informational. What's revealing is the list of comments! Besides the usual anti-MS drivel, there are some very interesting suggestions and ideas. Interestingly, I didn't see a single response to any of the long list of comments by Mr. Wiltamuth.

Hope you guys are listening out there in Redmond.