Geek Smithology

April 20, 2006

SOA – Who cares?

Filed under: Craft of Dev,Industry by Nathan @ 9:14 pm

…’SOA’ might have meant something once but now it’s just vendor bullshit.

So relates Tim Bray in a recent blog post, and I say “hear, hear!” Whether an open SOAP layer over a JMS queue or a RESTful HTTP GET from one Perl CGI script to another, anyone that’s been in the trenches for a few years has done SOA.

Yet, the architecture astronauts have struck again, claiming that every system and process can be reduced to a series of “services.” But this abstraction is so high (and leaky) that businesses are lead to believe that unless they spend thousands of dollars on middleware and employ a team of EAI surgeons, they are doomed. I admit that these solutions can be appropriate, but I also smell charlatans with hammers seeing a lot of nails. Eventually ESBs and MOM will go the way of the RDBMS, making the transition from proprietary goldmine for experts to commodity for the masses. Even now there are open source alternatives (like Mule) emerging.

So what’s the point? We, as an industry, need to stop pushing architectures to proselytize on behalf of vendors, and start producing solutions based on what our clients actually need. And when the next “paradigm shifting” tool arrives, we don’t hold it high as the new aegis under which we play upon FUD to fill industry coffers.

Rather, we relegate the gewgaw to the toolbox — where it belongs.

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