SOA backlash

Well, gosh. Someone’s a little full of himself.

From time to time, I find myself lassoing a sacred cow in this Editorial space, dragging it over to the slaughterhouse of rhetoric, and ultimately barbecuing its falsehood over the stainless-steel, six-burner, propane-powered grill of real-world experience.

That’s nice, dear. Far be it from me to put a mute in the end of your massively overblown trumpet, but you’re about a year and a half too late with your biting editorial.


About a year and a half ago, I was editing the XML & Web Services newsletter and I distinctly remember going to conferences and speaking to vendors who were trying to make it absolutely clear that they didn’t regard SOA as a panacea, knew there were all sorts of things that needed to be done to make it work properly and didn’t want to over-hype it (insert usual disclaimer about all vendor comments needing to be taken with a pinch of salt).
But now the wise editor of Johnny Come Lately News has used his massive powers of insight to show that the emperor has new clothes. At last, the scales have fallen from our eyes and we can see again, revealing SOA to be nothing but hype, as well as the halo of godly light encircling his head. Thank goodness he was here to save us from our blindness.
As the good old Gartner hype cycle reveals, Mr Searing Insight has merely shown we are now entering the Trough of Disillusionment for SOA.
I would go further and say that he, himself, is in the third phase of editorials: the first phase (“Look at this fabulous emerging technology. It could be disruptive and shake the industry upside down”) came and went about a year and a half ago; the second phase (“It’s not just early adopters – real enterprises are using this technology in practice. What I said in phase one is coming to pass”) went shooting by six months ago; now we’ve entered the phase where certain CIOs are grumbling that it’s hard to put SOA/whatever into practice and so the articles that proclaim the new technology as all hype, it’s not as easy as people think and it’s going to require a hard slog to make it work are starting to emerge.
What amuses me most about this particularly self-aggrandising article is how much it exposes the editor’s lack of long- or short-term memory. It’s as if this is the first time this has ever happened. Equally importantly, it shows that even though the vendors themselves are aware of this media cycle and tried to stop it happening with SOA, some editors just can’t break the habit, didn’t listen to the vendors in the first phase and are perhaps unaware they’re even in this cycle. It’s like some collective, editorial herd instinct.
As an editorial, it tells you nothing you didn’t know 18 months ago. What it does tell you is a hell of a lot about the editor.

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