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Beating a Dead Horse: What's a SOA Again? All About Service-Orientation...

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Joined: 2003-06-09

One of the classic scenarios I encounter frequently when discussing Service-Oriented Architectures (SOAs) is agreeing on what is meant by the term. Everyone has their own personal definition of what a SOA is, and they all too often aren't very similar. Inevitably, this makes the discussion fruitless because there's no shared understanding and the conversation quickly digresses into a debate on defining SOA. This immediate mental short circuit hampers a lot of useful discussions and I've attended way too many meetings where folks talk past each other because they have very different implicit assumptions around the term. This seems tragic to me because there's so much about SOAs that are important to the industry, even momentous. We as an industry can no longer afford vague, sloppy, or overly general definitions of the concept. But SOA definitions have been a tough nut to crack, and rampant hype and overuse of the term hasn't helped.