Saturday, June 07, 2008

The Worst SOA Presentation I've Ever Seen

Jean Jacque Dubray is outraged. He declares:
"I watched Jim (Webber) and Martin's (Fowler) presentation tonight before I went with the kids see Kung Fu Panda. The two furious have given a presentation that's got to be by far the worst presentation on SOA I have ever seen, it is not even pathetic, it reached the level of Sadness. If you wanted to turn off customers you couldn't do it better. "

I watched it. It sucks - but I've seen worst. Jim and Martin keep talking about why we shouldn't buy an ESB. The early ESB's were largely just JMS products and proprietary. In addition, the vendors positioned the ESB as the center of the software universe rather than a valuable component that has a specific function. However, the concerns I voiced five years ago on this subject have largely been addressed. Regardless, I'll agree with Jim and Martin that the ESB has the potential to do harm if over used or used incorrectly (but this is true for just about everything).

Here's my beef with the presentation. Other than the lame attacks they did on the acronym SOA, they failed to present a solution to the problem they introduced: Attacking Silos of Systems. Jim and Martin avoid this issues completely. They basically say "use our stuff from 7 years ago and you'll be fine". This includes refactoring, continuous integration, test-driven development, dynamic languages, etc. Let's be clear, these are excellent concepts that all moderns software development groups should use (if they aren't already...) but it has virtually nothing to do with the problem at hand.

If you look closely at the pitch, they fail to discuss how to not create multiple silos in the enterprise, let alone how to remove the ones that exist today. Their approach is "program better" and "increment". Fowler is an icon of modern computing and the concepts that he championed in the late 90's were brilliant. However, this stuff is crap. The promotion of "use a dumb network" and "use agile techniques" are things SOA guys agreed on 8 years ago. It's a "no shit, Martin..." kind of thing.

Now, tell me how you're going to solve the silo problem. Attacking SOA with your Same Ole Agile crap is a non-starter. These guys will have to address the real problem and quit pushing their old books. Life sure would be easy if we could all just "do REST" and then call SOA a success.

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