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The SOA Diet

For Years, the Atkins Diet was Considered to be Pure Nonsense

It never ceases to amaze me how something can move from essential obscurity to mainstream hype in what seems to be only overnight. Take the low carbohydrate diets, which are all the rage now. For years, the Atkins diet was considered by most diet professionals to be pure nonsense - how can you lose weight with a diet rich in fat, with bacon and eggs in the morning and a pound of steak or two for dinner? Yet all it took was one investigative report from a prominent newspaper to give the diet credibility. Now, you can't seem to get away from low-carb food products - they're everywhere. Yet, for the most part, anyone who eats in moderation and has kept with the traditionally balanced diet stands a good chance of keeping their weight down without any fancy diet or trend. A lot of it is pure common sense and good old-fashioned self control.

By now you may be asking yourself whether the publisher has made a mistake and somehow mixed up editorials with some nutrition magazine. But wait; stay with me for a minute and you will see there is some relevance here to the WebLogic world.

Today, SOA (service-oriented architecture) is all the rage in the computing world. SOA promises to revolutionize the business of application integration so as to make enterprise applications, legacy and new, work together as one. Now, everyone seems to want it, and by golly, an increasing number of vendors out there have products that support various aspects of SOA development and deployment.

I do believe SOA holds a lot of promise for the future, especially when you begin to coordinate and orchestrate business workflow and processes using products such as WebLogic Integrator. But SOA, in and of itself, is not an instant "cure-all" for today's IT computing ills. The problems facing most enterprise systems are not going to go away overnight by moving towards an SOA-based architecture. As a matter of fact, the efforts I have seen so far moving towards SOA have only magnified the years of neglect and bad design decisions made by IT . And that is not to mention the host of hidden business rules, bad design, garbage data, and other gremlins typically found in most enterprise database systems.

SOA-based architecture does not replace enterprise applications, but instead builds upon them. If the applications lying beneath the shallow SOAP interface are shaky and are prone to constant problems, the Web services will reflect that. No matter how well you design your SOA-enabled business processes, there is no way it is all going to work correctly or reliably.

Now, for all of you WebLogic developers out there, it means this: more than ever, you need to be able to stay proficient in the underlying J2EE and WebLogic technologies and continue to design and develop high-quality applications using all of the "best practices" you can get your hands on. A well-designed application, along with a solid database design and proper configuration management practices, will make implementing SOA-based applications so much easier. You cannot ignore the basics.

And, this is where we come in here at WLDJ. We will continue to provide you with the high-quality articles you have come to expect, as well as get you acquainted with the latest trends affecting the BEA platform, as you will see in this special SOA issue.

Some say SOA is really nothing more than rehashed ideas from the past - just CORBA revisited. Others say that it is revolutionary and bound to change everything. Whatever happens, we will continue to support you as a WebLogic developer.

Now, let me get back to that steak I was eating.

More Stories By Joe Mitchko

Joe Mitchko is the editor-in-chief of WLDJ and a senior technical specialist for a leading consulting services company.

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