Dion Hinchcliffe’s excellent recent post on Web-Oriented Architecture (actually, this is his latest in a series of posts on this topic) reflects an important shift in thinking around technology architecture and componentization. This is the shift from push to pull approaches to change – a shift I’ve covered from from time to time in this blog. It is, I believe, inherent in the evolution from “1.0” to “2.0” (as in Web 2.0, Enterprise 2.0, and so on.)
I’ve posted previously on the shift from IT Architecture to Enterprise Architecture and how this takes you from an IT-out to a business-in approach to design. I’ve since expanded on this idea in my post about moving from Enterprise Architecture to Ecosystem Architecture). Our research last year into SOA showed that most companies try to go about SOA the wrong way – IT-out rather than business-in, and as a technical standards rather than a business capabilities issue . Our research report identified hope then was that IT professionals would get it, and leverage SOA appropriately. In retrospect, that was probably an unreasonable hope. Instead, WOA is evolving naturally from the mélange of emerging standards and architectures.
One of the most powerful attributes of the 2.0 world is its outside-in, bottom-up “pull” nature (as opposed to the 1.0 inside-out, top-down “push.”) I think that WOA (as a manifestation of SOA) is working because it is emergent, and is inherently “pull” oriented. Dion captures this beautifully in this graphic.