Where angels fear to tread more thoughts on SOA…

No Place so Sacred from such Fops is barr’d,
Nor is Paul’s Church more safe than Paul’s Church-Yard:
Nay, fly to Altars; there they’ll talk you dead;
For fools rush in where angels fear to tread.

I occasionally (well more than occasionally) bleat about SOA.  I read Cote over at Redmonk and many other SOA related blogs.  Most of the time I can follow the gist of what the high priests of technology are on about, sometimes though I feel like my schoolboy Latin means I miss most of the Mass.

YesterdayI wrote a bit about how I find the SOA discussion too technical for my liking. At the same time, over in Austin, Cote was lamenting the hijacking of a technology by marketing. (Almost the opposite position if you like)  I commented over on his blog, but I’ve decided to turn it into a post too.

 I especially liked his point.

  • SOA is, fundamentally, a technological story. The “solutions”/business side of the fence has hijacked it as a marketecture gold-mine. There’s a sort of paradox here as SOA is supposed to be in terms of business and solution…but I think it’s largely failed in that Holy Grail task of bringing the propeller heads and the suits together.

On  reflection Cote may be right,  marketing types may have hijacked SOA. But if so, it is a boached attempt.  

Part of the problem with SOA today is the term is used to address two audiences. There is an important group of technical people who really need to agree on the standards, principles and details of how applications should be built.  This dialogue should be marketing free and probably unintelligible for people who don’t live and breathe this stuff. This is smallish group of clever high priests and theologians who need to debate the religious and philosophical forms of what is SOA and what isn’t SOA, what is heretic and what is blessed etc.

There is another discussion about the business benefits that this will deliver. This should be simple and easy for business types to understand.  We businessy types need some parables and a couple of miracles to grasp onto. What we  really need are some clearly articulated examples of SOA in action, and a whole less theology. We want bread and fishes.

Cote mentioned the Holy Grail and that led me back to Monty Python.  At the moment a lot of SOA marketing stuff is  like Monty Python’s Spanish inquisition. We have one SOA weapon, services and standards, no we have two SOA weapons, services, standards and simplicity, no wait we have three SOA weapons, services, standards, simplicity and platform….

It is a jumble of technical discussion and business benefit. The technical purists fear a corruption of their ideals, and business types fear technology for technologies sake. Both have a point.

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