Hooking Shit Together: I Love it!

I had a few spare cycles this evening to sit down and watch/listen to the Pat Helland interview that is up on TheServerSide.NET. In the interview Pat Helland gives his views on service orientated architecture (SOA) which happens to be one three letter acronym (TLA) that I am getting parrotted back to me by customers lately.

Now don’t get me wrong, I think SOA has a really good vibe but until today I have yet to see anyone provide me with a workable definition – and I’m sorry A1 plotter dumps with big rectangles with words like “identity management” and “customer records” with thin black lines labeled web-services just don’t do it for me. Pat has succeeded where so many others have failed simply by taking the noun “Service Orientated Architecture” and introducing a verb “Hooking Shit Together”.

In one of my recent consulting engagements I worked with a customer on a proof-of-concept that aimed to demonstrate the feasibility of integrating a core business system implemented in Forte with a .NET application. Forte is an object orientated programming language which is owned and being killed off by Sun Microsystems. Even though support for Forte is being wound down it does have some minimal web-services support. I really have to hand it to one of my customers team members for getting that feature working, I was skeptical at first.

Under the covers Forte availed itself of a SOAP4J-like web-services stack. I first saw SOAP4J a few years ago in a crusty old version of WebSphere Application Developer where you had to manually build up your WSDL contracts, so I knew we could be in for a bit of fun. Fortunately it did spit out a WSDL contract which took away alot of the guess work. We then sat down and took on the task of making .NET and Forte talk together. We added a web-reference generated from the WSDL contract and we were away (generating a .NET server-side from the WSDL contract was a little bit more interesting, but I’ll save that story for another entry)!

Anyway, in my opinion this is what it is all about. The business requirements said that we needed to get our new shit talking to this other shit. So we sat down, and hooked shit together. HST is the TLA for me – thanks Pat! See you in Melbourne.


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