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New Open Group SOA book builds bridge over delta between IT and business services

Business people discovered services around the time the first cave man offered to start campfires in exchange for food.

IT people groked service orientation sometime in the past decade but are still struggling to communicate their discovery to business people.

This may be an exaggeration, but it also helps explain the disconnect between business and IT that has plagued adoption of service-oriented architecture (NYSE:SOA) to the point where some people have thrown up their hands and declared SOA dead.

In some ways the problem of getting business people to embrace SOA is due to this backward-incompatible approach, in the view of Chris Harding, forum director for The Open Group. [Disclosure: The Open Group is a sponsor of BriefingsDirect podcasts.]

“One of the things we are supposed to do is bring about alignment between the business and technical communities,” he said. “What we found when we were doing that is the business people have known what a service was for centuries if not millennia.

"And technical people have come across this wonderful new idea. And actually the alignment problem is to stop the technical people reinventing service in a new way that the business people don’t understand.”

To help get the business-technical alignment back on track, The Open Group is publishing The SOA Source Book.

Harding knows what you are thinking: What do we need with another SOA book?

He is quick to differentiate that The SOA Source Book is from all the other SOA titles now available.

To begin with this is not your coder’s SOA book. It does not tell you how to build a service. It is also not a publication of standards and guidelines that would have required a lengthy review and adoption process.

The SOA Source Book was created by members of The Open Group’s SOA Workgroup, who have day jobs architecting business applications. They are offering real world enterprise architecture experience in deploying services for business purposes.

Applying The Open Group Architecture Framework (TOGAF) approach, The SOA Source Book “aspires to be systematized common sense” in architecture and governance, Harding says.

It takes a flexible approach to implementation. For example, rather than advocating one model for SOA, the book suggests a number of models that can be used depending on what makes the most common sense for the business application.

The SOA Source Book is also not your after-market weighty tome that can double as a doorstop. Running exactly 100-pages in the PDF version, it features short clear sentences in brief paragraphs focused on the many moving parts of an SOA implementation. Scanning the categories and subheads in the table of contents, the reader can quickly find information on a specific subject.

Rather than reading it from cover to cover, Harding anticipates that enterprise and IT architects will use it to quickly look up information they need for specific components or processes they are working on.

The SOA Source Book is available in both printed and electronic form (if you want to save a tree). More information is available.

Rich Seeley provided research and editorial assistance to BriefingsDirect on this blog. He can be reached at Writer4Hire.

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