Ron Schmelzer of ZapThink recently wrote an article on WOA (web oriented architecture), saying that we should really think of WOA as a subset of SOA, and that maybe it should be called "Web oriented SOA".
In theory, I tend to agree with Ron. But we all know that, in theory, there is no difference between theory and practice, but in practice they are different.
Ron is basically saying "because WOA is a specialization of SOA, it should be considered part of SOA". That is, in theory the more general concept is more important than the specialization.
Here's my problem though: In practice, when dealing with many parties, architecture simplifications or specializations are always more powerful and useful than generalizations.
Don't believe me? The reason this is true is the network effect. The simpler the requirements to become part of a network, the easier it is to grow the network, the more valuable the network becomes, and the more parties that want to join it.
In contrast, generalizations work against the network effect - the more variations that are allowed, the more variations will occur, the harder it becomes to get value from the network, and the more slowly an overall network will grow (if it grows at all).
The power of WOA comes directly from its web-oriented simplicity, it's minimalism - not from the fact that it happens to follow a service oriented paradigm. Let's put the emphasis where it belongs: practice is more important than theory if you're trying to get results.
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