Tuesday, December 11, 2007

Good Business Modelling and Decomposition

In a comment to my earlier post, Vasu writes:

"I agree with the fact that SOA is hyped much more than what it actually deserves - the basic tenet that is put forward by industry and vendors clearly indicates that SOA process is no different from "Good Business Modeling and Decomposition" except that there is more emphasis on streamlining, standards and products (that adhere to these standards)."

I accept that much of the SOA process can be understood as "Good Business Modelling and Decomposition". But that depends what you mean by "Good". Common analysis and design practices that were good enough for pre-SOA may not be good enough for SOA, since any weaknesses or ambiguities in the models and specifications are exposed. Some useful short-cuts and optimizations that were acceptable or even encouraged in pre-SOA days (because they improved short-term productivity) are now revealed as anti-patterns, because they have a negative impact on interoperability and reuse.

So if you are looking at the SOA process at the high level, you may find many of the same tasks and techniques that you are already familiar with. But there are a lot of differences at the detailed level. How many of these are differences in substance rather than just differences in emphasis? Well, that depends what exactly you're comparing it with, but I think most people will find a lot of real substantive differences.

Finally, I'd like to respond to what you say about "industry and vendors". The vendors are of course interested in selling products to support SOA - software tools and platforms, etc. Any advice they provide on SOA process needs to be understood in that context. Of course they will emphasize continuity with the good software practices of the past, of course they will emphasize aspects of the SOA process that promote their own products, and de-emphasize aspects that don't fit with their own product strategy. There are some excellent insights in some of the vendor material, but don't expect to get a complete view of the SOA process from them.

But I would say that wouldn't I?

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