A standard SOA paradox

Adam Michelson, guest commentary, http://searchwebservices.techtarget.com

What would service-oriented architecture be without standards? Not much. But is it any better off with the large number of SOA standards that exist? Java and the Java EE are feeling the backlash of a specification that is too complex with too many standards, as simpler scripting languages are making ground. SOA will suffer the same backlash if the number of SOA standards and specifications continues to grow in number and complexity. We already see the emergence of very simple REST Web services as IT professionals look for clarity through the morass of SOA standards. Simplicity is the pathway to adoption.

It is not easy to stem the tide of the creation of SOA standards. Many times the creation and support for standards is political, with certain standards backed by software vendors that have their own agenda. The standards that survive give their creators leverage, so the result is no shortage of standards being created and trying to be the fittest. Given the proliferation of SOA standards, there is an opportunity to take a step back and provide some perspective on all the SOA standards that exist. That is the purpose of this series of articles.

We will explore the key SOA standards and try to identify which are likely to be adopted. Unfortunately this is not an easy task. Identifying only the most popular standards is not a popular thing to do as there will be a few that may feel snubbed for not being included. But there are so many SOA standards that exist and they are changing constantly, so discussing them all is practically impossible. The different versions of all the standards compound the complexity. This article still lists almost 70 individual standards, way too many for the average IT worker to be expected to keep abreast of.