Convergence is Coming….Web 2.0 and SOA

Some folks have finally stumbled upon the great convergence occuring in the software industry. No, it is not voice and data–although that is huge and part of a larger trend towards a pervasive computing environment. I am talking about Web 2.0 and SOA. I find the recent discussions surrounding this topic to be extremely humorous given the fact that our outfit has been preaching this for some time to a largely deaf audience.

The first person that I saw commenting on this topic was Dion Hinchcliffe. If you have not already checked out his blog, you should–he tends to cover quite a bit. In short, it’s all about services baby. The web and the enterprise are moving towards the same thing. In the enterprise, they are talking about SalesForce. On the web, they talk about Google Maps. In the enterprise they talk about “On-Demand” computing. On the web, they are talking about the “Web as a Platform.” In the enterprise, they talk about composite applications. On the web, they talk about remixes, or mash-ups. If you think about it, the web is swiftly becoming the single largest deployment of a service-oriented architecture on the planet. Freaky right?

There are still those that would argue that the Web 2.0 movement is driven by fundamentally different forces. Joe McKendrick states that, “to a large extent, Web 2.0 is external, highly social, and driven by consumerism and personal computing/communication needs. SOA is internal, and all about corporate enterprise development and productivity.” Although on the surface this seems to be a valid point, I tend to disagree.

If you dive into it a bit deeper, the Web 2.0 and SOA movements are driven by the same force–users. It is not about consumerism vs. productivity. It is about letting users get things done. Users want to access information anywhere. Users want to be able to quickly leverage information from multiple sources. Users want to share information with peers. It does not matter where users are, all that matters is that the same fundamental set of technologies and paradigms are needed to address their need both inside and oustide the enterprise.

This convergence will disrupt the very foundations of our current computing infrastructure. It should be fun to see how incumbent players react. Don’t be surprised if your view of the Big 3 (GOOG, MSFT, YHOO), as well as SUN, IBM, and Comcast change forever. That is all for this web-slinger. Nuff said.

hoomanradfar Written by:

  • Loek Bakker

    Hooman, I think I was the first to write about the convergence of Web 2.0 and SOA, see which I wrote 2 weeks before Dion came up with his piece (which I think is great!).

    I like the view you wrote down, however I tend to disagree with your statement that Web 2.0 and SOA are about services. I think they are about *sharing* services to be more precise.

  • Hooman

    Loek, I will definitely check that out. I agree that both Web 2.0 and SOA are about sharing services. I suppose I should have expanded a bit more. The sharing and composition of services is integral to the visions set forth by Web 2.0 and SOA proponents. Thanks!

  • Seshu Madabhushi

    Here ia a talk given by Randy Katz back in 2002 with just your quote, “Its all about Services”. While I am a bit new to SOA, it seems to me that services are often consumed and not shared. May be I am wrong here. I have heard people talk about sharing resources.

    It is increasingly becoming difficult to separate chaff from corn these days, especially with SOA.

  • Seshu Madabhushi
  • Hooman

    Seshu, thanks for the link. I suppose that it is a matter of semantics. The line between what consitutes a resource and service tends to get blurred. In my opinion, services can be shared, as well as consumed. An RSS feed, such as my tag feed, is a great example of a service that can be shared with your peers. I can email, IM, or post my feed to another person’s inbox. That being said, however, I agree with your assertion thatservices have typically been viewed from a producer-consumer perspective.

  • Seshu Madabhushi

    I do agree with your note. That said, it seems to me that Web 2.0 efforts are generally not perceived as radical changes to the enterprise software factory processes. In contrast, many executives seem to discontent with yet another massive change effort that is probably required in SOA.

    While both paradigms tout agility at reduced cost, I doubt if the efforts involved are quite comparable. So far I have not seen even one example where agility is quantified.

    I agree with you about sharing and composition of services. These are integral to the success of both paradigms. I am not sure if there are case studies or examples that deal with dynamic composition.