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SOA - Integration Industry Pulse

Beth Gold-Bernstein

SOA for the Business Developer

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I recently read SOA for the Business Developer by Ben Margolis with Joseph L. Sharpe. Ben Margolis is an IBM Advisory Writer and has more than 20 years of experience as a writer and programmer. This book provides a clear overview of the standards SOA developers need to understand, including XML, XPath, BPEL, SCA, and SDO. Written by a developer for developers, it quickly gets to "how" these standards are implemented within an environment, rather than just defining what the standards are and what they do.

The one question I was left with was whether a single SOA developer needs to know how to program to ALL of these standards. If so, then it might look like a daunting task to those looking to transition into SOA development.

For example, most of the tools today can generate BPEL code from a model. I can imagine there might be some circumstances where developers might want to tweak the code (after all, they always do), but I don't think it's necessary that every developer need know how to code in BPEL. Similarly, while SOA developers need to understand the evolving technologies and standards, most development tools today will create a WSDL interface with a mouse click - no coding necessary.

Even if a SOA developer is not using all the standards, this book is a helpful guide to all the standards they are likely to run into, and certainly deserves a place on the business developer's SOA bookshelf. However, it probably won't serve as their bible. Developers also need to understand what to put behind the WSDL and how to measure and quantify the business benefits of the services they develop. Otherwise the true benefits of SOA will not be realized and developers will use new languages to develop the same way they have in the past.

Next on my bookshelf is Tomas Erl's SOA Princlples of Service Design. Review to follow.

1 Comment

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Thank you for considering SOA for the Business Developer.

I'd like to emphasize that the work is essentially BPEL 2.0 in Context. With or without tooling, BPEL programmers need to understand the explanations offered for concurrency, correlation, and compensation; need to understand what each "activity" (programming statement) does; and need access to a concise and thorough quick-reference guide.

Can programmers and their managers benefit from knowing about the underlying how-to of the specs; for example, when those folks are thinking about a future design or when they're trying to understand why a runtime behavior is not what they expected? Yes, the knowledge is helpful. Must a programmer say, "Oh, this is beyond me!" when seeing some commonplace detail -- often visible in the tooling itself -- such as an XML namespace or an XPath location path?

Programmers do not need to feel lost or intimidated. Managers do not need to feel that a subordinate has knowledge that's beyond the manager's ability to evaluate.

SOA for the Business Developer is a productivity tool. It's unusually clear; avoids asking you to read 40 pages when 8 pages will do; and gives you easy access to standards that are becoming part of the development scene. Specifically, the book offers insight into Service Component Architecture (SCA), Service Data Objects (SDO), and the latest WS-* specs.

Here's another take on the book:
http://binstock.blogspot.com/2007/08/good-approachable-book-on-soa.html

Ben Margolis, Author, SOA for the Business Developer: Concepts, BPEL, and SCA

Industry trends and vendor spotlights from Beth Gold-Bernstein.

Beth Gold-Bernstein

Beth Gold-Bernstein is a recognized expert in integration technologies and SOA with over 20 years experience View more

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