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SOA and Web 2.0: The odd couple?

Web 2.0 technologies are the "in" thing these days, but would-be users could stand to learn a few lessons from the SOA crowd.

Everybody is buzzing about Forrester's recent report citing that Web 2.0 technologies – comprised of blogs, mashups, podcasts, RSS feeds, social networks, widgets, and wikis -- will grow to $4.6 billion by 2013. Of course, the news shouldn't really come as too much of a surprise given the increasing focus on the integration of Web 2.0 technologies into the enterprise.

Meanwhile, SOA growth continues as more companies travel farther down their service-oriented path. To reinterpret a line from the introduction to the "Odd Couple," can two distinct market segments share an enterprise without driving each other crazy? While Web 2.0 and SOA can easily alternate roles as both Felix and Oscar, the short answer to the question is yes, but …

That type of answer could likely spark World War Web 3.0 among the Web architects and SOA evangelists as they discuss how to integrate new technologies into a service-oriented architecture. While both come to the table with distinct (and highly marketable) skills, there are valuable lessons that the SOA community can share with the Web 2.0 gurus.

Consider that SOA, widely regarded as the new age EAI movement, has a head start on the fast growing, yet still nascent Web 2.0 market. Following are ten critical lessons learned from the SOA community that can help smooth the path for Web 2.0 in the enterprise:

  1. Define your business and IT strategy with the company's executives and technology leaders before any development or coding is started.
  2. Use a standards-based foundation to more easily integrate new tools and technologies today and in the future.
  3. Don't let the need to modernize applications supersede the SOA strategy or you'll compromise information integrity for just another pretty interface.
  4. Track the applications, services and mashups being created in your infrastructure or you risk end users inadvertently infecting the organization with malware.
  5. Blueprint your existing applications so you can identify bad or redundant code before the Web 2.0 modernization process begins.
  6. Don't abandon your existing applications, use Web 2.0 technologies to extend them.
  7. Avoid timely and costly recoding by modernizing applications through a standards-based development and deployment platform.
  8. Teach your business and IT staff how to use Rich Internet Applications, composite applications and mashups to boost productivity.
  9. Recognize that Web 2.0 technologies will only succeed in the enterprise if the underlying infrastructure is sound.
  10. Start small in modernizing applications and build upon incremental successes as Web 2.0 technologies and SOA continue to be rolled out to the company.

Web 2.0 technologies can help companies of all sizes gain competitive advantage by using the Internet as a platform for information delivery and access. Yet remember that when SOA is the main course, Web 2.0 technologies are the side dishes (so don't fill up solely on mashups) or you will lose sight of the value of a solid technology foundation to help companies more quickly achieve business goals.

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