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Book Review: Executing SOA: A Practical Guide for the Service Oriented Architect

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Published by: IBM Press (www.ibmpressbooks.com)
ISBN: 0132353741

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One Minute Bottom Line

Get your business sponsor of your SOA project to read the first few chapters, you read the rest and, together, bootstrap your SOA project immediately! Regardless of the fact that this book focuses on IBM products, it is loaded with practical advice that will help you steer through the treacherous seas of SOA. This is not a book that should take up space on your bookshelf. It should be next to your keyboard for the duration of your SOA project.


This book kicks off with a clean introduction to SOA which explains the business and technical forces that led to formal SOA thinking. The key quote for me is "The IT architect became a city planner rather than a person asked to build a single house". Very early on, the notion of "silver bullet" solutions are dispelled and the books' focus on experiences in real-world projects is set.

The next two chapters, Unveiling the Benefits of SOA and SOA Governance delves into the minds of business executives and draws parallels between the world of business and the world of software architecture from a service orientation perspective. A key statement is that SOA is actually aimed, first and foremost, on business agility and not on IT.

Whereas the earlier chapters are of extreme value to business and the SO architect, the practical nature of the book really kicks in from the chapter on A Methodology for Service Modeling and Design onwards. This chapter introduces SOMA (Service Oriented Modeling and Architecture) standard from IBM. This may put off a few people who don't work with IBM, but the truth is that SOMA is an excellent body of work and offers SO architects something useful in part or in its entirety. As a reader, you must make a mental note that SOMA is, actually, product independent.

As important as management of services are, the chapter on Leveraging Reusable Assets describes the immense value to be obtained from reusability. The centralization of services in repositories and the surrounding issues of semantics, usage of repositories and the like is covered adequately.

Realization of Services examines the tools need to setup your SOA development environment. This chapter focuses completely on the IBM toolset. This is not unexpected; the book is an IBM Press book. If you are already using or decided on the IBM product set, then this is perfect. However, don't let this detract you. Read between the lines and extract the real value which is the nature and kinds of tools and products that you actually need to realize your SOA implementation.

With the intense focus on Services in SOA projects, the concept of Information delivered to end users is often neglected. The chapter Information Services corrects this imbalance. It looks at recent innovations and research for delivering information from your services to the right people at the right time in your organization.

The hype around Web 2.0 and the relevance and positioning of SOA in the Web 2.0 space is discussed in the chapter Collaboration Under SOA: The Human Aspects. This is a clear and precise chapter that brings the human/tool interactions into the realm of SOA.

The book wraps up with a discussion on The Future of SOA. This chapter is collection of short essays, abstracts and thoughts on the recent developments and emerging trends that you should, perhaps, keep on your radar.

Published at DZone with permission of its author, Aslam Khan.

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