Web-oriented architecture (WOA), a descriptive term for a subset of service- oriented architecture (SOA), has recently arisen as the next buzz-phrase to help further confuse the IT architect.
WOA is simply a way of implementing SOA by creating services that are RESTful resources, allowing any service or data to be accessed with a URI. (REST, by the way, stands for representational state transfer. And URI is short for uniform resource identifier.)
For many scenarios, this method dramatically simplifies things over the traditional WS-* approach. WOA resources are stateless and self-descriptive. Additionally, building SOA across intra-enterprise and in-the-cloud services becomes much easier with WOA.
As defined by Gartner's Nick Gall (thanks to Rob Eamon for the pointer): Long version: WOA is an architectural style that is a substyle of SOA based on the architecture of the www with the following additional constraints: globally linked, decentralized, and uniform intermediary processing of application state via self-describing messages.
Shorthand version: WOA = SOA + WWW + REST
To be clear, the WOA approach is not ideal for every scenario. As with any architectural style, there are trade-offs. Any application that requires a real-time, event-based action or response, for example, can't be easily built in the WOA way (at least without crippling the system with constant polling). For the enterprise architecture with any level of complexity, no one approach will fit all needs.
Add in the inevitable enterprise mix of legacy applications, existing investments in SOAP-style SOA, and point-to-point integration infrastructure, and it becomes clear that the true pure-play WOA will be all but nonexistent. … Read more