The Australian Architecture Forum for 2008 focused on SOA: The New Maturity. Being entrenched in my companies SOA program was interested in what I would be hearing. Unfortunately I found that trying to fill eight sessions on relevant SOA content was a little hard. I did find the Round Table sessions interesting in that I was able to hear of other peoples experience with adopting SOA within their organisations.
The keynote this year was by Ron Todd from IBM on Business Agility which seemed to distil down to adopting a Policy Engine for storage of Business Policies. By capturing the policies in a central engine provides the ability for the business to be responsive to market forces by being able to change these policies quickly. Ron emphasised that a policy is not a rule (aka Rules Engine), a policy seemed to fit somewhere between a Business Rule and a Business Process.
Phil Haynes from Object Consulting presented a great overview of one of his projects that used Restful services but the adoption of URIs seemed to be the real nugget. He spoke of everything having a URI defined, and by everything he meant requirements, people, tests etc. This approach seemed to enable a decoupled project that delivered several benefits. An interesting benefit was that the business could access a URI that represented a report or a function and mash-up a report.
Ron Jacobs presented a great overview of his learning’s over the last three (3) months has he has tried to understand REST. He did callout the book RESTful Web Services from O’Reilly as a great resource of information on rest. The presentation was technical but I did get a better understanding of the structure of rest as an architecture style. I think one of my colleagues was truly lost given he doesn’t have a Microsoft background which did sort of raise the question of the suitability of technical detail at a conference like this. I was very surprised that rest does not consider the schema that a resource supports and incorporate a way to discover this schema.
The Round Table on ‘Your SOA implementation is now a teenager and out of control’ was brilliant we had a great mix of people from different sized organisations that were at different points along the SOA adoption path. The group seemed to have the topics of governance and versioning front of mind with several stories being shared on these topics. Probably as no surprise there is a culture aspect to these topics that means there will always be issues in their adoption.
I did run into the problem of being in a Round Table session where we only had five people in the session. Due to the topic of cloud computing there wasn’t much experience in the room and subsequently no discussion naturally evolved with limited the value I got from the session.
As with these sorts of event the ability to network was great, I managed to bump into some old colleagues and make some new contacts. It is great to have a conference focused on Architects in Australia and a big well done must go to Object Consulting for their organisation of this event.