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Ascent of REST shows change in SOA is slow but sure

Slowly but surely, SOA has become an accepted way for enterprises to do software. There were many reasons for uptake to lag, not the least of which was that it was hard work to form software into manageable services. SOA services are still a work in progress, but they have become an accepted methodology.

More than a few developers took umbrage when SOA first came into play, and that was understandable, as it often appeared as a methodology trying to take away their chance to be creative. That is less the case now that services are more familiar. Thus, the certified ”SOA specialist” is becoming a meaningful job title. This is discussed in recent random notes on ”Services boundaries, SOA certification, and ESBs” on the SOA Talk Blog.

SOA had to adapt to get ahead. One of the big changes from the early days has been the ascent of REST (REpresentational State Transfer). The first days of SOA were very much tied with SOAP and XML. While both are useful, there are very many cases where they represent overkill, as a legion of JSON REST applications attest. Some SOA folks might have fought REST at first – but now most embrace REST as a form of SOA. The JSON and REST forms of SOA have even come into play when mainframes connect to services, as ”Services designer opens up mainframe IDMS for JSON, SOAP, REST” shows.

Young SOA was overhyped and, to many, a disappointment. But the fact that it morphed into something useful is the fact on which to focus. Ahead of us there are more Web-based applications, cloud computing and mobile platform development. When the IT future unfolds, it is a good bet that SOA services will be there, but SOA services and the people that work with them will transform in overt and subtle ways during the course of the journey.

Who can claim they saw all this coming? So many things are seen clearly only a long time after they happen. We wax poetic because it is summer, and because we just read Jason Ouelette’s book on development with the platform – the book comes with an epigrammatic dedication invoking Kierkegaard (”Life can only be understood backwards; but it must be lived forwards.”) – it proved a perfect ponder!

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