SOA for the rest of us

Earlier this year I wrote an article to introduce service-oriented architecture to non-technical people. It was published in the May 2007 issue of Better Software magazine.

The kind folks at Better Software have allowed me to provide a PDF version of the article, complete with retro 1950s graphics. You can also read it as a single html page.

Please post any comments here, because I’ve disabled comments on the page itself.


  1. James Gillespie · ·


  2. Great Article, Dan. I distributed it among my colleagues. And I’ll make a reference on my own blog:


  3. Dan Bond · ·

    RE: “The mistake that enterprise information architects (or people with similarly named roles) make is trying to define what the business concept means to each of the people using it.” Aren’t those domain meanings defined in metadata?

  4. is the shelf not a registry? if bob didn’t know about the shelf he wouldn’t be able to get the service contract and would therefore struggle to use the service!!!

  5. Great article! Crisp, clean and clear. Encore!

  6. Krishna · ·

    I had read many documents to understand what is SOA and this is the best of all.
    I could understand the concept of SOA and now I am confident to speak to someone on SOA
    Thanks again for your efforts….

  7. Krishna · ·

    I want to know the below details.
    Please help me.
    How SOA is implementated?
    What do I need to know to test the SOA services?

    1. Hi Krishna.

      Two very good questions, and not really something I can answer in a comment!

      I would suggest reading Ian Robinson’s excellent article about implementing and evolving an SOA, and watching Jim Webber’s interview about taking back control of your SOA strategy from unscrupulous middleware vendors.

  8. Good one….please post an article on distributed techologies of MIcrosoft (C++, COM, DCOM, COM+, .NET (Remoting, Web services) and all.

    1. Hi Binu.

      I don’t have enough hands-on experience of using the various Microsoft distributed technologies. Although from what I’ve heard from people who have, that might not be a bad thing!

      All of Ian Robinson’s and Jim Webber’s sound advice (see links in the earlier comment) apply equally well to Microsoft, Java and OSS technologies. They focus on using the underlying infrastructure of the Internet (HTTP verbs, return codes, Post-Redirect-Get pattern, etc.) which are thankfully largely independent of the technology used to implement the actual services.

  9. Great, great introduction.

    I’ll be using it in a presentation next week.

    Thank you Dan

  10. Thanks Dan for the great article. Finally I have a reference to get back from time to time to remind me of what SOA is. This is also a great reference to give to someone who needs to start understanding the concept.

    I think you attained all the objectives you proposed to yourself and your readers in the article. Brilliant work :-)

  11. Very Nice Blog, Good work!

    SOA Governance

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