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Column 2

Sandy Kemsley

Mashups and the corporate SOA

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I listened to a podcast last week of David Linthicum interviewing Dion Hinchcliffe that really helped to coalesce my thoughts about mashups, Web 2.0, SOA, composite applications and the future of integration. I was walking along a street in downtown Toronto, listening to it on my iPod, and making enough facial expressions, hand gestures and remarks aloud that I was likely written off as one of the usual crazies: it's very exciting when someone with very similar ideas to your own states them much more clearly than you could have said it yourself.

A couple of weeks ago, I posted about mashups and the implications for enterprise integration, which of the integration vendors is likely to jump on this bandwagon early, and noted that I'll be at Mashup Camp later this month because I really want to explore the convergence of mashups and enterprise integration. Unbeknownst to me, Dion Hinchcliffe had published an article in the SOA Web Services journal in late December entitled Web 2.0: The Global SOA, which was the focus of the podcast, and blogged about the 100's of services available on the "giant service ecosystem" that is the web:

An important reason why the Web is now the world's biggest and most important computing platform is that people providing software over the Internet are starting to understand the law of unintended uses. Great web sites no longer limit themselves to just the user interface they provide. They also open up their functionality and data to anyone who wants to use their services as their own. This allows people to reuse, and re-reuse a thousand times over, another service's functionality in their own software for whatever reasons they want, in ways that couldn't be predicted. The future of software is going to be combining the services in the global service landscape into new, innovative applications. Writing software from scratch will continue to go away because it's just too easy to wire things together now.

The information on this is now starting to explode: David Berlind (organizer of Mashup Camp) discusses the bazaar-like quality of the mashup ecosystem, Stephen O'Grady pushes the concept of SOA to include mashups, and even Baseline Magazine is talking about how mashups can free you from the tyranny of software vendors with a discussion about how some of the services feeding mashups could be used in an enterprise integration context.

All of this has huge implications for business processes, and the type of BPM that currently resides completely inside an organization. Most BPM vendors have enabled their products to be consumers of web services in order to more easily play an orchestration role, and some customers are even starting to take advantage of this by invoking web services that integrate other internal systems as steps in a business process (although a lot are still, unfortunately, stuck in earlier, more primitive generations of integration techniques). Imagine the next step: as corporate IT departments get over their "not invented here" fears, the BPM tools allow them to integrate not just internal web services, but external services that are part of the Web 2.0 mashup ecosystem. Use a Salesforce.com service to do a customer credit check as part of processing their insurance application. Integrate Google Maps or Yahoo maps to determine driving directions from your service dispatch location to your customer's location in order to create service call sheets. It's like software-as-a-service, but truly on a per-service rather than per-application basis, allowing you to pick and choose what functions/services that you want to invoke from any particular step in your business process.

Dion Hinchcliffe thinks that 80% of enterprise applications could be provided by external services, which is a great equalizer for smaller businesses that don't have huge IT budgets, and could almost completely disconnect the issue of business agility from the size of your development team. I think that it's time for some hard introspection about what business that you're really in: if your organization is in the business of selling financial services, what are you doing writing software from scratch when you could be wiring it together using BPM and the global SOA that's out there?

Update: David swamped his podcast provider and ended up moving the podcast here. Reference also updated above.

8 TrackBacks

Mashups: VBAD, not SOA from On IT-business alignment and related things on February 2, 2006 7:31 AM

Making too much of a direct connection between mashups and SOA is dangerous. Remember VBXs? Mashups are much more about VBAD – Visual Basic at-a-distance - than about SOA... Read More

Anyway, this is a long lead-in to a pointer to a piece by Sandy Kemsley who clearly gets the direction corporate software development is heading. Read More

Sandy Kemsley wrote a great post on mashups and corporate SOAs the other day and I'm on board with all of it. However...the following statement gave me pause: Read More

As part of yesterday’s release of Intalio|BPMS 4.0, we have included the first AJAX-powered implementation of the XForms standard developed by the W3C. Read More

To the trained eye, Service Oriented Architecture (SOA) looks awfully similar to the Common Object Request Architecture (CORBA) of the 90’s. Difference is, SOA deals with Web Services while CORBA dealt with stubs and skeletons. Web Services sound coo... Read More

If it were anyone else but Ismael Ghalimi, I would have simply muttered “idiotic” and moved on without a second thought. But when a guy at the top of my BPM hero list declares that “nobody cares about BPM” any more, my actual reaction was dismay and... Read More

Urbanisation Durable du Système d’Information from Urbanisation Durable du Système d’Information on July 24, 2006 11:03 AM

Afin d’apporter quelques lumières aux problèmes actuels de la DSI (maitrise des coûts, délais, alignement avec le métier), cet article les mettra en perspective avec l’histoire de l’organisation des entreprises. Read More

I find this excellent post about the way mashups are changing SOA ! Now, web applications are designed not only for users, but also for other applications. API are published to help other web applications to directly use application services. The bes... Read More

1 Comment


A terrific post, glad you enjoyed the podcast and the ideas.

You might like to know that David Berlind over at ZDNet had some nice things to say about your ideas as well:



Dion Hinchcliffe
CTO Sphere of Influence
Editor In Chief Web 2.0 Journal

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