There has been so much hype about SOA and now WOA that sometimes I think we focus more on fantasy then reality. Yes, both of these technologies offer huge potential benefits but they are both just another tool in the toolbox. Neither one of these will solve world hunger as some media types tend to think.
The WOA craze seemed to start shortly after Anne Manes pointed out that many of the companies she talked to were failing in their SOA efforts. Then came the quick fix, WOA. Many pointed out how the business can grasp the concepts of WOA and not SOA. Others pointed out that it is easier and quicker to implement then SOA, which they claim takes years to implement. I believe WOA is a great compliment to SOA, but I fear many people are thinking about WOA instead of SOA.
Implementing SOA takes vision, leadership, planning, and architecture, something that many IT shops don't have the patience for. Instead they opt for quick and dirty habits that lead to the inflexible, costly to maintain systems that so many of us are stuck with today. I fear that if we bypass SOA instead of complement it with WOA, then we are are going to wind up with "Quick-n-Dirty 2.0", a web enabled mess. There are no shortcuts to developing a sustainable, flexible, and maintainable architecture. We should use these technologies where they make sense. They are not the end-all, do-all answers to our problems. The excitement that I hear about WOA reminds me of the day trading craze of the late 90's. Everybody was looking to get rich quick. We need to make sure that we don't get too crazy with WOA and quickly build nice eye candy systems that we can't maintain, have no control over system performance and SLAs, and can't fix when they are down.
I know this sounds like doom and gloom. I am actually a fan of WOA. But I am concerned that many companies will dive in head first without much thought about architecture, infrastructure, support, change control, dependencies, and many of the other critical areas that a sound enterprise must consider when it introduces new applications into the production environment.
Remember, we are architects not day traders.
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