That's fine and where we started from...except...What about
governments and other non- "business" or not for profit
organizations? The term "business" is overloaded to some degree as is the
term "market." That is the reason we didn't keep those terms...but I have
no real objection.
Bob, I do not think that SOA is the instrument related to
the "change in the organization's environment". If I may, here is my
adaptation for SOA: "The ability to successfully respond to unexpected change in
the business needs in the market"
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I guess I have to put my oar in this water. At the
Agility Forum at the Iacoa Center (for the Agile Enterprise) at Lehigh Univ.,
I was on a team called the Agile Virtual Extended Enterprise technical
committee and I supported the DARPA/NSF effort called Next Generation
Enterprise on the Virtual Enterprise Team. Both of these organizations
used the following as the definition of agility--"The ability to successfully
respond to unexpected change in the organization's
What do you think?
Indeed I do not expect we (and anyone else) will provide a definitive
cookbook for defining services. However, it is exactly those guiding
principles that I think will be valuable and with which the RA should be
consistent. Thomas Erl's book may provide a good starting point.
If anyone can summarize between now and when I eventually make it to a book
store (or log into Amazon), we can begin considering those.
Note when we mention principles, we have to do much more than use terms
which are familiar but overused and never really defined. The RM
specifically took shots at loose-coupling and coarse-grained. I also put
agility into that category. When we state the principles (assuming we
can), those SHOULD be phrases that convey enough meaning that they cannot be
automatically misconstrued (by accident or on purpose) and then crisply
Again, I'm energized to revise the service description model but have a
long list of household chores to catch up on first. Keep sending
ideas. Alternately, you can come over and fix the lawn mower.
On Oct 11, 2007, at 1:35 PM, Scott Came wrote:
this kind of specific guidance is best reflected in a set of
principles. I don’t believe there will be a “one size fits all” set of
rules that tell you, in every situation, how to design a service
properly. The best you can do is identify the principal forces at
play—those factors that, at a minimum, the designer should at least consider
when setting service boundaries. Those forces are represented in
principles that say what should characterize a proper service. Proper
application of these principles (selecting among the sometimes competing
forces) requires the skill of a designer, but well-stated principles
accelerate the design process and bound the designer’s discretion somewhat,
in pursuit of an overall design objective.
just any old set of principles will do. SOA has an overall purpose—to
increase agility, adaptiveness, responsiveness to change—so the principles
should be included only to the extent they promote the design of services
that contribute to this purpose.
principles commonly identified with SOA are: loose-coupling,
abstraction, autonomy, statelessness. These were articulated, among
other places, in Thomas Erl’s “SOA: Concepts, Technology, and
Design”. I see he has a new book out that explicitly focuses on
principles. I know of no open-standard (e.g., OASIS) statement of
these principles; I think it would be great if the RA could reference them
somehow. I’m also not aware of any articles specifically addressing
design principles, but will look and post anything I find.
I believe a
single service description artifact is the right approach, largely for the
reason of discoverability as you mention. But, within that single
artifact, I believe there will generally be policy statements that apply to
I'll agree with your
analysis in principle but I'd like to get more specific for the
1. What can we say as
specific guidance about defining the service boundaries and what is the
range of things it makes sense to include as operations of a service?
With your example of the Time Management Service, it is also possible that I
have a general purpose Viewing Service and the time record is one of the
things I can view. Now the partitioning may just fall onto the
combination of competency and artistry of the service designer, but I hope
we can say more.
2. If I attach things
such as policies at the endpoints, how do I reflect that in the service
description? As I mentioned before, if the service description is the
information set on which I base discovery, I am assuming I can't have things
sprinkled outside of the service description that might be critical criteria
for the user.
Also, I'm always up
for collecting (and hopefully eventually reading) good, concise analyses of
how to approach these problems. Books are sometimes tough to consume
but articles and chapters are more doable. If you have any particular
favorites for providing insight, please pass these along.
On Oct 10, 2007, at
10:53 AM, Scott Came wrote:
your reply. I agree that stock quote checking, credit card payment,
and spouse reminder transmission are very likely to be properly offered
through separate services.
agree that there probably should be only one service description “artifact”
(whatever that might be), with one policy “artifact”, but I would add that
the description and policy may have distinct provisions for each
action. This seems to be true whether all the actions of a service are
part of a single process model or not. For instance, in the example
you offered, there may be policy provisions for the account debit action
that have nothing to do with the notification about the final bill
payment. If it’s a corporation using the service, there may well be
rules that say the cardholder (ordinary employee) can receive notification
that the bill has been paid, but only accounting can authorize the debit to
While it is
true that WSDL places no limits on what you can “pack into a service”, there
are some good principles of design that you apply to choose service
boundaries. I would think the same principles would apply to any
service, regardless of the transport/messaging protocol being used (e.g.,
web services or not). As I suggested in my original post, the loose
coupling, autonomy, and encapsulation principles (I’m paraphrasing here)
proposed by Thomas Erl and others suggest a balance of loose coupling and
high cohesion. The architect designing a service (establishing its
boundaries…what actions belong in the service and which ones don’t) should
apply these principles to maximize the resiliency and agility that SOA
linkages of actions in a particular process certainly would have significant
bearing on the application of these principles, there are other factors that
would have a bearing as well. Information model dependencies are a
good example. One reason you wouldn’t want the stock quote checker and
the weather report in the same service is that their information models are
likely to vary independently. You wouldn’t want to force the weather
checkers to change their consumer implementations (having to deal with a new
service interface) just because a new piece of information is added to the
stock quote. They would view that as absurd.
But in the
Employee Time Management service, if corporate accounting updates the chart
of accounts, it’s likely that both the viewing of time records and adding of
new time records would be affected. If two objects are loosely coupled
but highly cohesive, they tend to change together or not at all. So,
applying these principles would call for the viewing and adding of time
records being actions in the same service. But they may not
necessarily be part of a single business process…you could view records
without adding new ones, for example.
point: As an architect who designs a lot of services, I would not want
my alignment to the SOA-RM RA to be in conflict with my need to apply design
principles, which principles may call for me to group actions into a single
service when they are not (necessarily) related through a process
On the MEP
issue, I am in agreement (for many of the same fundamental reasons) that the
actions of a service may require different MEPs.
Lines 101-1015 are
trying to wrestle with the question of what actions make sense to have as
part of a single service and if I allow/encourage lots of description to be
connected at the lowest levels of the service, i.e. the endpoints where I
invoke the actions/operations, what does that mean for description of the
service and eventually service discovery.
Let's see if I can
expand on the questions. If I think of the actions as being similar to
WSDL operations, there is no limit to what I can pack into a single
service. So I can have a service with operations to check stock
quotes, to pay my credit card bill, and to send reminders to my wife.
If fact, I can have a single Ken's Service with many, many operations that
does all the computer-initiated tasks I can think of. Then, certainly
I would need to fully describe the RWE of each operation and the associated
policies would probably vary enough to merit individual
this doesn't seem like a good idea. So in the RM we talk about a
service having a resulting set of RWEs and policies about the interaction,
but what is implied is that the various actions are tied together in the
process model because there is a multi-step process that is necessary to
realize the RWE. The RWE is what results from completing all the
steps, and policies would relate at the service level to say what is
required to complete the entire defined process. In this case,
describing the service is fairly straightforward.
Now can one service
(as defined) have more than one RWE? Yes. If I have a bill
paying service and the funds are deducted from my checking account (or any
other account I designate) then RWEs include a debit to my checking account,
a funds transfer to whoever sent me the bill, and possibly some accumulation
of information to the credit bureaus that keeps me in good standing.
There may be multiple actions I need to invoke to handle parts of the bill
paying process and the MEPs used by each action could differ. So some
form of request-response could provide my credentials whereas a notification
of the final bill paying could just be a one-way notification.
In your time charging
example, I would lean to saying each CRUD operation is a different service
with possibly different policies in defining who is authorized for each
operation. Is there any particular benefit to bundling these into a
single modifyTimeCharging service?
Hopefully, this has
provided you some understanding of my thought process. I'd be happy to
be argued into a different interpretation if that would have a sounder
On Oct 8, 2007, at
12:39 PM, Scott Came wrote:
some questions regarding draft 0.2 of the RA, in the area of the action
model. I scanned the list archives for answers, and none were readily
lines 1011-1015, there is a statement that real world effects (note the
plural) are defined for a service, not the individual actions on a
service. Similarly, policies are associated with the service and not
struggling with the practical implications of this.
if you allow a service to produce multiple real world effects, and the
plurality of effects is of significance to consumers, then at least in some
cases I would think you’d want to provide independent access to those.
(Otherwise, you may as well just roll them all up into one macro
“effect”.) So, if you accept that a consumer may choose to achieve
some of a service’s effects and not others during a particular interaction,
how would the consumer do so other than by invoking specific actions?
And, if the consumer is to invoke specific actions to achieve particular
effects, wouldn’t the service provider necessarily need (per awareness) to
tell the consumer which actions produce which effects? Otherwise what
distinguishes the actions?
may help… A corporate accounting department provides a service for
business units to use in managing employee timesheets. (The
corporation is large and diverse enough that business units may build their
own time accounting systems, but by policy everyone must access the central
corporate capability for some basic functions.) The time accounting
service provides access to basic CRUD capabilities for employee time:
add time records, read (view) them, update existing ones, and (perhaps)
delete records under certain circumstances. If you are willing to
grant that these four actions (create, read, update, delete) are appropriate
within a single service action model, then clearly they produce distinct
(though related) real-world effects (underneath the “umbrella” effect of
“manage employee time records”), and certainly will have different policies
associated with them (there may well be tighter access control on changing
data than viewing data, for example).
objection to this characterization of the service is that it tightly couples
each of the four C/R/U/D operations in a single service. The problem
with this objection is that there is no universal benchmark for
tight-coupling. Coupling and cohesion are competing forces that need
to be balanced in any design decision. Achieving that balance is an
engineering problem solved based on the particulars of the situation.
In an SOA, since one of the primary objectives is agility and resiliency, I
would hope the architect would make that decision primarily on the basis of
whether the four actions are likely to change at the same time, or not at
all. But certainly other factors may come into play.
you would want to give the architect the freedom to achieve the right
balance there, rather than force his or her hand by saying services must be
designed such that the actions do not achieve distinct objectives and do not
have distinct policy requirements.
of reasoning may be completely out in left field; however, if it is, I would
urge some more thorough discussion in section 4.2.2 of how service design
principles should impact the scoping of services, their RWEs, and their
have one more specific follow-up question, not addressed in section
188.8.131.52: In an RA-conformant concrete architecture (as such is
envisioned now), can the actions in a single service’s action model use
different MEPs? Can one action use request/response and another use
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