WOA or Whoah?

Over the past couple days, we’ve seen a backlash to a backlash. Web-Oriented Architecture (WOA) has been seen as a reaction or backlash to the complexity of SOA. But as no good deed goes unpunished, there’s much concern that with debates over WOA vs. SOA, the ideal of service-orientation gets lost in the message. Weeks of give and take over the matter culminated in the welcome return of Dana Gardner’s much-missed BriefingsDirect Analyst Insights podcasts. Yesterday, we joined with Forrester Research analyst Jim Kobielus, independent analyst Joe McKendrick, Current Analysis principal analyst Brad Shimmin, and Procullux Ventures director Phil Wainewright. There seemed to be emerging consensus that WOA complements or can also provide a simpler onramp to SOA.

But after we received a reader comment that maybe we’re muddying the waters with the plea, “Can we please stop the proliferation of WOA when folks can barely still digest SOA??,” the result sparked yet a new round of debate not only from yesterday’s crew, but also consultant (and WOA evangelist) Dion Hinchecliffe, Jon Collins, plus Neil Macehiter and Neil Ward-Dutton.

Here’s a few excerpts:

“Not sure how things work in the US, but in Europe folks need time to digest stuff and make it relevant to themselves. That’s still happening in the real world around SOA, at least over here. All the chatter about WOA appears pretty pie-in-the-sky and hype-driven, too vendor- and tech-focused for the folks we speak to… the “pie-in-the-sky” etc stuff isn’t necessarily my perspective, but it certainly is the perspective of the people I speak to here in Europe. So we have to moderate our message and show how new ideas fit in with existing ideas…”

“I also agree with Dana’s blog about dropping the acronyms altogether…”

“The problem is that Gartner’s business is predicated on creating acronyms (that’s where WOA came from after all) and they are, as [we] were discussing earlier in the week, a market maker. Is there a WOA MQ? My guess (0.9 probability) is that if there isn’t there will be soon…”

“Too bad human nature will never allow it. If we see or understand something that’s unique, we are compelled to name it…”

“Don’t under estimate the Silicon Valley get-rich quick thinking and seduction process. There’s a deep dichotomy: Silicon Valley methods vs ITIL reasoning…”

“WOA simply reflects the set of emergent network and application architectures that are working today on a large scale on the Web, getting results for a great many organizations by using slightly different techniques and a fairly different mindset than we’ve used in SOA…”

“I sit in trepidation waiting for the first press release I get with the acronym “WOA” in the title, knowing it will be from some obscure company that has somehow managed to fit their quart into the latest pint pot…”

“I don’t believe SOA is going away or out of fashion, I’ve predicted a potentially bright future for it as WOA ideas helps deliver on the fuller promise of SOA…”

“SOA isn’t just seen as a technical integration-centric activity, but also a business architecture / business transformation…”

“I for one am not seeing much of that kind of strategic-level analysis and thinking in the WOA-side of things… as you say, that’s a pretty far cry from using SOA as a way to enable the transformation and reinvention of business processes and business models. And that’s an enterprise perspective that probably needs to be “married” to WOA and its pointedly consumption-oriented approach since it could be a great enabler of such activities. It does remain to seen if it’s a meaningful driver of them however…”

To hear the podcast that prompted today’s discourse, click here.

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