Open Architecture and Services
Service oriented architecture
is a design of business systems where applications which store, manipulate, or use data, provide a mechanism or service to other applications in the system, for getting at that same data.
An open architecture is a business system where applications “expose” what they do, and the data they use, to other applications or network services.
Web Services started a lot of things (moderately well). A web service is a web page that another computer can go to, to get information. It’s that simple. By the time web services were popular in certain functions (weather info, product vending by middleware and B2B, and stock quotes), they had been very standardized and defined. That standard was clumsy to implement and was sometimes too slow for the speed of business. Much work went into creating lightweight wrappers for the data which was given out by web services, so that they would be fast. SOAP is a very lightweight data container for web services data.
What’s good about SOAP and web services? Data wrapped in a SOAP wrapper can move like a text file across networks, through firewalls, from a Windows machine into a Linux machine into a Mac, and then into a library mainframe. Data can be easily taken from one database and added into another, or made into a report. This was revolutionary several years ago. Web services tell other computers what they do (what “service” they provide) and what data to expect. However, the expected explosion of computer-consumed data didn’t happen with web services, except in some e-commerce and distributed corporate environments.
Why not? New and better ways are always being created for software systems to become more open. This is a very important benefit to corporate software customers because new functionality can be added inexpensively, Have you noticed how quickly RSS newsfeeds became widespread? Compared to SOAP web services, RSS is very fast and easy to work with. Similarly, AJAX, without any SOAP wrappers at all, has been used to replace web services. RSS and AJAX are not just “Web 2.0”. They could be referred to as “Web Services 2.0”, as well.
Written by Keith Mitchell, Senior Developer at NSKinc