Monday, August 17, 2009

YAMTCARO and the Service apology

I just wrote an answer in TSS that I thought I could share here too. The basic idea everyone has about services is that they are to distribute logic, make remote calls, have loose coupling interfaces, and are resusable. And nothing is working as it is advertised. I will play the defendant part here.

“I see a repeating idea about SOA, services in particular, that doesn’t fit in what I have learned from my childhood as an architect. I will explain myself.

I recall the old Object oriented days when all the fuzz was about reusability. The idea was clear: separate the code into coherent and functional complete things. Then a problem was found: the interface. You could not reuse the thing because of the interface not being suitable, or requiring things not in the new problem domain.

Then a service came. It was the idea of having a business functionality (not an interface, not an object) able to accept messages and offer a business value. It has no reusability concept, the fuzz was actually about replacing fixed interfaces with a simple port. And somebody said: Let’s implement it with SOAP. And SOAP was Simple Object Access Protocol, an RPC oriented wrapping protocol used to access distributed objects. Wow. Wait a minute. Something is not working here. I know objects were supposed to accept messages. Nobody uses that. But a service is not an object. A service has no methods or parameters. Definitively, it has no response. There is no interface per se, just a port where you deliver your message.

Now, the message is not SOAP. SOAP is a wrapper. The real thing is in the body.

Once the service has read from the port the message content, it will now know what to do. And it may decide to send another message. As simple as that. But as difficult to grasp for an object programmer, that it was reduced to a YAMTCARO (Yet another method to call a remote object).

NOw, can somebody tell me why a service needs a method name to be called? SOAP had stubs in the client, to simulate the remote object as local. Services are not object, stubs have no place here. Makes no sense. You need a port object to stream your message. Simple.

Finally, since a service is just a port, and the service semantics (which are not technically describable) is hidden behind the service cloud. You can create a versioning system underneath the cloud, so old messages can still be accepted and new messages, that represent new business needs, be processed as required. Service cloud still as white as before. It may have a new port, but old ports may be still there.

Enterprise architects? Their job is to have one eye in the problem space, and the other in the solution space. They will work with business people to design services scope (business driven), and work with designers to technically create the structure of the cloud.

Hope this helps to understand why I say all that I say.”

William Martinez Pomares

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