It took 20 years - which is typical in technology evolution - but the object-orientation program development approach can be said to have finally overtaken the one-off remote-procedure-call dominated programming of the 1970s and 1980s. Of course nothing like this way-down-in-the-bowels technology debate is ever so simple, but for those burying SOA earlier this year, Oracle says "RPC, RIP."
I date the change to Oracle's July 1, 2009 formal release of its Oracle Fusion Middleware 11g SOA Suite. In this January 2009 series of IT Business Edge articles on service oriented architecture (SOA), I discussed the progress of the SOA standard called Service Component Architecture (SCA). The standard was created by an organization called the Open SOA (OSOA) Collaborative formed in 2005 by Oracle and other enterprise-software market leaders, but the standards work was turned over to the Organization for the Advancement of Structured Information Standards (OASIS) in 2007.
That change in "ownership" occurred around the same time Oracle was announcing its middleware roadmap, which turned into some real deliverables with Oracle's July 1, 2009 announcement. Oracle was a major factor in the standards work both within OSOA and OASIS, so it is no coincidence that 11g's SOA Suite (one of four Oracle product and/or version-upgrade announcements on July 1 - more analysis to come over the summer) is an implementation of the standard.
In fact, although Oracle lists pages of changes and upgrades in the 11g SOA Suite white paper (you have to fill out a 'bingo card'), as compared to earlier releases, the suite's standards compliance is probably its most important feature. In the white paper, Oracle explains how SCA is a natural evolution that dates back to the 1988 release of the Object Management Group's Common Object Request Broker (CORBA) standards effort. The significance of that is that it does not trace its roots to the Open Software Foundation's (now Open Group's) Distributed Computing Environment (DCE). Many of the white paper drawings use the old CORBA plug-in-stub icon rather than the more familiar two-headed arrow to illustrate integration points.