A lot of people, including technology experts, have struggled to define SOA and explain it, even to other IT folks.
It looks like they'll get help in the New Year-an OMG official recently revealed the group's modeling language for SOA development will be ready to release in January.
The OMG, of course, is best known for its work with the widely used Unified Modeling Language (UML). The SoaML, short for Service Oriented Architecture Modeling Language, is an extension of that specification and is tailored for SOA development. SoaML will be published as a UML profile, which means you'll be able to use it in UML modeling tool, InfoWorld reported recently.
It even has it's own logo. Pretty cool, huh?
The big news here is that if the specification is adopted, we might finally be able to get everyone speaking the same language-or pictographs, as the case may be-when it comes to SOA. That's certainly the goal, according to the InfoWorld article, which reported that "SoaML seeks consistency in terms of defining an SOA as well as provision of a consistent modeling framework."
Ron Schmelzer of ZapThink, a SOA consultancy, was glad the specification didn't kowtow to Web services too much, according to the article.
He clarified in the e-mail to me that people should understand this as a way to talk about SOA, not a computer language for developing SOA:
"Rather than it being a language for system-to-system communication, it's a language to help with modeling... that is, machine-facilitated human-to-human communication. They want to standardize the way people refer to various aspects of SOA, and as such it's more of a language for people to use in communicating SOA concepts."
I wouldn't describe SOA modeling as a hot topic, but it's definitely a recurring issue. You'll remember one of the key aspects of Microsoft's OSLO was its ability to help with SOA modeling.
Who knows? Perhaps a modeling solution is exactly what's needed to revitalize SOA adoption-assuming, of course, that SOA survives in 2009.