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Enterprise architecture challenges face application development leaders

The enterprise architecture challenges that CTOs and other high-level developers face have changed considerably over the past decade as SOA has grown and matured.

The challenges facing those charged with employing enterprise architecture to achieve business benefit -- the CTO, enterprise architect and application development manager -- have subtly changed over the ten or so years that SOA has been the premier method for creating enterprise applications and integrations. Underlying infrastructure technologies have changed bit by bit.

Use of HTTP as a ubiquitous messaging transport has changed the very fabric of application building in the enterprise. Web-oriented architectures have taken over more and more ground -- starting with "Web-only" companies, but expanding to so-called traditional businesses as well. REST-based architectures have proliferated -- so have XML-based software services. Where monolithic app servers ruled, lightweight Web application frameworks now vie.

Most pointedly, middleware (service-oriented and other) has moved to the forefront; where enterprise applications were once best described as 'data-oriented' they are becoming 'middleware-oriented.' Putting together teams that can successfully work 'out from the middle' -- sorting through a near infinity of options -- is a bit of a struggle. We constantly risk going back to the bad old days of 'siloed' applications. As a result, carrying the SOA torch forward is more important than ever.

Also as important as ever is sorting through the diversity of technologies. Good software ideas are plentiful but some become niche solutions at best. Some of those niches can be pretty darn small. This comes to mind as we review an article from last week that covered XQuery, an integration mechanism for handling XML. It has never seemed to live up to its potential, but industry expert Peter O'Kelly tells us that the people that have succeeded with XQuery have found hidden advantage. Read "A look at XQuery today" to find out more.

What challenges do you face? What do you look for when you visit Send us an email answering these questions and we will enter your name in a drawing for this week's book giveaway. It is your chance to win a copy of Thomas Erl's "SOA Governance: Governing Shared Services On-Premise & in the Cloud."

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