The spirit of SOA and its core principles are still very much alive, but we can't call it SOA any more because, well, SOA is (pretty much) officially dead, at least according to folks on the tubes and we all know that if you hear it on the tubes it must be true.

Anne Thomas Manes of the Burton Group declared SOA officially dead on January 1, 2009, but maintains that "although the word “SOA” is dead, the requirement for service-oriented architecture is stronger than ever."

Ms. Manes blames the death of SOA on the failure to recognize the importance of what SOA stood for, while other pundits point their fingers at other reasons for the spectacular death of what was once considered the savior of IT.

If you take a look around at successful web applications today you can clearly see that SOA as a concept is not dead. SOA is clearly alive and well and flourishing in the world of WOA (Web Oriented Architecture) without the baggage of myriad complex standards to drag it (and developers) down into the weeds.

Amazon's AWS. The Twitter API. Service-enabled control planes helping to drive the dynamic infrastructure revolution. The concepts of abstraction and loosely coupled services are not so easily discarded because they were - and are - a good idea. Consider the plethora of Web 2.0 APIs being used to integrate - rapidly - social networking sites. The only standards involved in these successful implementations are those associated with the OSI stack: IP, TCP, and HTTP. Oh, XML is in there, sometimes, but not always - and that's partially part of the reason for WOA's success.

WOA is much less prescriptive than SOA with its you MUST and you SHALL and you SHOULD RFC style anarchy_symbol standards. WOA doesn't require time and effort and capital investment in solutions and products designed specifically to manage, govern, and develop applications. WOA can be built easily and quickly in such expensive environments as notepad and vi. WOA applications can be developed using the skills at hand, and most WOA supported APIs support a variety of options in terms of data exchange: from XML to JSON to plain text, a developer can quickly and easily integrate with a Web 2.0 style application without spending days diagramming envelopes and headers and the relationship between them. It's controlled anarchy, in a way. Everyone does their own thing but does so in a neat, orderly fashion and with at least enough documentation that it can be well understood. Anything more than that is wasted on the hurry-up-right-now-impatient-must-be-done-now new world order.

WOA, along with SOA's other derivatives, alive and well. And they will likely continue to flourish despite the lack of standards and the potential pitfalls and long-term ramifications that entails.

Services and service-oriented architecture will continue to be an integral - if not obvious - part of cloud computing and WOA applications, but its standards will not.

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