11/16/07 :: [SOA] 3.0 [permalink]

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The REST debate is behind me, I did not see any argument that would make me think that the REST community understands anything past the presentation tier and I certainly found Steve's last post pretty sad and depressing.

Eric Newcomer started a new discussion topic  IT 2.0. If I agree in general with Eric, I would like to point out that the SOA stack was really completed in the spring of 2007 with WSDL 2.0, WS-Policy 1.5, WS-TX 1.0 WS-ReliableMessaging 1.0, SCA 1.0, SDO 2.0, WS-BPEL 2.0, BPEL4PEOPLE 1.0 and WS-HumanTask 1.0.

One should be careful in talking about SOA adoption because, IMHO, SOA, as we are going to know it, is less than 6 months old.

People love to talk about 2.0 things. I'd like to talk a bit about what's coming in 3.0.

Web Consumers IT
1.0 Basic content and basic apps Basic presence
2.0 Rich content, search and content-based collaboration Rich interactions, self-service and outsourcing
3.0 Get the web work for you, search for collaborators Right-sourcing (people, process, services)

What do I mean by "Get the web work for you"? The next revolution in social computing is to bring individual together to perform work (Mark found a perfect example, and our very own Brier Dudley is participating in a web 3.0 experiment too). Amazon has already innovated long ago, with the Mechanical Turk (I hate this picture, guys can't you come up with a better name for the web 3.0?). If you want to see something more concrete, you can take a look at SmartSheet.com. This collaborative tool is the embryo of a process engine (as a shared spreadsheet) to let people perform task collaboratively based on a process definition (template).

I have spoken many times about right sourcing. This is the killer app for SOA (REST + WS-*), this is composition at the presentation, process and information layers, this is resource optimization and agility at its best (virtualization is just the tip of the Iceberg and yes, Amazon has a small head start here).

There is another factor to take into account. COBOL developers start retiring and the picture is only going to get ugly. Even TATA and Wipro can't train/provide COBOL developers.

If you combine the benefits of right-sourcing with the retirement issue, our industry is facing a very disruptive environment which will entail a major evolution of IT as we know it. The technology is here, it is not a coincidence that so many standards came out this year... So I am not sure, Eric, that what is coming is "incremental". The companies that are launching vast SaaS initiatives as a response to their aging work force may well miss this revolution. The next five years promise to be very exciting for our industry.

I would expect that things will heat up in about 2 years as IBM, SAP and possibly Microsoft's Composite Application Platform come to maturity. I don't think the window is bigger than two years. Frankly, this is also why I am a bit saddened by the Open Source community mainly siding behind REST. REST will not get you there, I hope you guys know what you are doing, because this could be a historical mistake. I don't see any serious open source Composite Application Platform. I don't think Interface21 gets it, though they will be the one I can see that could stay in the race.