Service orientation tells an incredible story. However, there are a number of issues to consider when designing an enterprise service-oriented architecture today. I fully expect service orientation will continue to be a moving target as the standards, tools, and runtime environments evolve. Service orientation has become the focus of all the primary development platforms. Tools are also being enhanced to provide developers with what they need to overcome many of the obstacles I have described above. The Windows Communication Foundation (formerly, “Indigo”) has put in place many enhancements that will solve the versioning issues and the security issues. Microsoft has used the lessons learned from the industry following the delivery of WSE 2.0 and WSE 3.0 and unified all of the distributed technologies, allowing developers to build “enterprise strength” web services that will help enable the service-oriented enterprise.
Depending on your role in your enterprise, you are impacted by SOA in different ways. Just know that SOA will impact almost everyone responsible for delivering applications. The main advice I can give is to remain knowledgeable of the new standards and enhancements in the service-oriented world, because it is very easy to paint yourself into a corner today with first-generation web services. SOA has the potential to become the best approach for building reusable application building blocks that can stand the test of time. However, with the technologies available today for implementing an enterprise SOA, it is likely that the costs and risks greatly outweigh the potential gains in business logic reusability.
In a future article I will take an in-depth look at the enhancements available in Windows Communication Foundation and how delivering SOA building blocks is easier and more practical with the WinFx release scheduled for 2006.