1.3. What is Service Oriented Architecture?

Service oriented architecture (SOA) is an architectural concept in software design that emphasizes the use of combined loosely coupled services to support business requirements directly. In SOA, resources are made available to service consumers in the network as independent artefacts that are accessed in a standardized way. This adherence to standardization is definitional. SOA is precisely about raising the level of abstraction so that requirements and business processes can be discussed in a language understood by business people as well as IT folk.

The main idea behind SOA is the desire to build applications that support a business process by combining a number of smaller 'business services' into a complete business process or workflow. Each of these services is a stand-alone piece of software providing business functionality that is loosely coupled to the other services (other pieces of software) which make up the application. Examples of a business service could be checking details about a customer, validating a customer payment, sending an invoice to a customer, synchronizing or transferring data between systems, or converting a document from one format to another. Many of these services will be particular to a business; however, some will also be standard services that could either be purchased as software or will be readily available on the internet in the form of web services. New services can also be created from existing applications ...

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