International standards consortium OASIS recently announced the formation of the Open Composite Services Architecture (Open CSA) initiative to provide and promote standards that simplify service-oriented architecture application development. However, a number of factors will decide whether enterprises are to truly reap the benefits of a services-based approach.
The OASIS standards consortium has unveiled its Open Composite Services Architecture initiative.
Open CSA plans to promote the development and adoption of service component architecture (SCA) and service data objects (SDOs).
SCA is a number of specifications which provide a model for developing applications and systems using a service-oriented architecture (SOA). The approach builds on existing standards such as web services, and assists organizations to transform IT assets into reusable services.
SDOs are intended to simplify and unify the way applications handle data, enabling the ability to access and manipulate data in a common way from heterogeneous sources, such as relational databases, XML data sources, web services, and enterprise information systems.
The proposed specifications cover the provision of a consistent model for service assembly where services that are to be combined are declared, and policy creation where policy assertions are specified, as well as binding specifications, which cover how to chain the services together into a component.
In many respects, the move towards components represents the next step of maturity in application development, combining many of the benefits of bespoke development with those of packaged applications. This reflects the evolution that occurs in many IT domains, where technology moves from a do-it-yourself methodology to a largely prefabricated modular and standardized approach, which still allows flexibility for individual organizations.
If enterprises are to reap the benefits of a services-based approach, then the development environment selected must provide a highly-productive framework for creating components. It is also vital that this framework is built on open standards, so that these components are independent of the underlying technologies and architectures; that they can be deployed into any technology environment; and that organizations can find the necessary skills within their existing development staff, or can acquire them.
While components offer undoubted benefits, they are not an automatic solution to the software development backlog, but must be coupled with the use of open standards, a robust methodology, and an effective toolset. As with any new application development concept, a siloed approach will lead to increased development times, fragmented business logic, and high-maintenance overheads.
Source: OpinionWire by Butler Group (www.butlergroup.com)