Life is an SOA, I wanna ride it, all night long
There are a few, shall we say, paradigms that have taken hold at different times of my life and completely taken over the way I think about the world. The biggest to date was Pipelining – that which a processor does to make it most efficient, and make computer users think that they are actually running all their programs simultaneously. Pipelining and the Critical Path dominated much of my task-oriented way of thinking in college and for a short time thereafter. This was of thinking has recently experienced a resurgence due to a new house requiring new processes to be established (yeah, I’m a frickin’ robot; the scary part is when I actually do think like this when I’m not just thinking about how I think about it; you follow? Good).
The paradigm this time, is the Serice Oriented Architecture. It’s the idea that you can send an input into a service and know the format of the result that will be sent back without worrying about the internals of the service itself. The analogy that was used to make it easy to understand was the basis for my whole line of thinking (and hence, the post you are currently reading): You can walk into a Starbucks, order a Tall Mocha (to keep it simple), and you know what you’re going to get. You don’t have to worry about where the cup is coming from, or where the beans were harvested, or even how to operate the machine that spits out the beverage. You just send the input, and back comes the result.
Service a: a facility supplying some public demand <telephone service> <bus service> b : a facility providing maintenance and repair <television service>
So, my train rolls, if Starbucks is a service… then, what isn’t? Great (you’re saying), you deserve a patent and a Nobel Prize for that right there, you revolutionary. I feel your sarcasm. I’m new at this philosophizing thing.
But here’s where the SOA comes in. There are further ideas behind SOA besides just being able to make and/or use little black boxes. Yes, you can put the little black boxes together to create larger processes that require only minimal input. WordPress is a Service. I haven’t studied all the code behind it, but it’s there and I can type in my words and it produces blog posts. In a more physical sense, and somewhat more fitting for the highway theme, public transportation is a Service. I can get on the Blue Line at Addison and know where I’ll end up if I get off at Monroe. The guys who put together my pool table were essentially a Service. I gave them the parts (after providing the Disassembly Service myself), and they gave me a pool table.
The best part about The Real World is that
UDDI the Yellow Pages works at run time in real life.
In another bonus, I found out how to use the HTML editor in WordPress 2 (as opposed to the rich text editor). I like to have strong control over what is shown on the page… and it’s nice to not have paragraphs reformatted after I’ve written them. Thank you for that option, WordPress.