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Web 2.0 leading SOA in buzzword compliance?

Marketers in the service-oriented architecture (SOA) world seem to be  falling all over each other to make their new products Web 2.0 buzzword compliant.

Although Web 2.0 is a dubious term technically since there is no real Web 2.0. It is a clever catchall phrase for the more glitzy browser applications that emerged originally with wikis, and blogs, as well as Podcasts, which is another buzzword for downloadable digital audio files.

A chart of Google Trends data on Web searches indicates that Web 2.0 first came on the scene in mid-2004, when SOA was already flying high as a frequently searched topic. But after sliding under the radar for the next year, Web 2.0 took off like a rocket in late 2005 and surpassed SOA in the fourth quarter of 2006. Since then Web 2.0 has been the more popular term.

So it is perhaps not surprising that marketers are hyping their Web 2.0 capabilities in product announcements.

This week in announcing OpenLibertyJ , its open sourcing of Liberty Alliance security and privacy framework the major emphasis was on Web 2.0. SOA got only one mention in passing.

Asked why the big emphasis on Web 2.0, Brett McDowell, executive director, Liberty Alliance, said: “From my perspective service-oriented architecture is a concept that immediately resonates and gives you a vision of applications if you’re an enterprise architect. Web 2.0 gives you a vision of applications that are taking the Web by storm. What we wanted to use is the term that’s going to convey the correct expectation of what this framework is meant to enable.”

But that didn’t mean OpenLibertyJ had little or nothing to do with SOA.

“It absolutely enables the identity bus for SOA,” McDowell said. “But I think a broader audience understands the vision of Web 2.0.”

Jason Bloomberg, senior analyst for ZapThink LLC., was asked if this explanation was more about marketing or technology.Replying by email, Bloomberg wrote: “Technically correct or marketingese? Well, both. 100% marketingese with just enough truth mixed in :-).”

The Liberty Alliance is not alone in hitching a product wagon to the Web 2.0 star. Since 2006, Oracle Corp. has been talking about the convergence of the Java Enterprise Edition and Web 2.0 into something Thomas Kurian, Oracle’s senior vice president, called SOA 2.0.  

That term does not appear to have caught on, as a request to Google Trends brought back this reply: “Your terms – SOA 2.0 – do not have enough search volume to show graphs.”

In 2007, Oracle began using the term Enterprise 2.0 for the Java, SOA and Web 2.0 convergence that is bringing wikis, blogs and social networks into the corporate world. Since first appearing on Google Trends charts in the fourth quarter of 2006, Enterprise 2.0 has been a hotter topic in Web searches than SOA 2.0. But when compared with SOA and Web 2.0, Enterprise 2.0 is still a flat line under their arcs.

If Oracle with its marketing muscle cannot get SOA 2.0 or Enterprise 2.0 off the ground, we may be stuck with Web 2.0, nebulous as it may be.

Discussing IBM’s SOA and Web 2.0 marketing strategy this week, Stephanie Martin, new worldwide lead for IBM Developer Relations, which includes more than 6 million coders who frequent the developerWorks Website, says she believes the two terms can play well together.

“They’re both very hot topics in the market right now,” Martin said. “In order to have the Web 2.0 experience, SOA is critical for designing and architecting these applications. That’s where I see the link between SOA and Web 2.0. Certainly they are not the same thing. SOA is the enabler of Web 2.0 but I do not see one replacing the other. We’re seeing our community’s interest in both those technologies growing consistently.”

So it appears SOA and Web 2.0 will have to co-exist as buzzwords, at least, until the next hot term is coined.

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