An SOA odyssey

Monday, July 10, 2006


For our project we're now about to release our final deliverable. This is the fourth deliverable in the project with the first one being in August of last year. This one is the largest and is used to automate many of the financial transactions performed on our web site which will in turn be used in the automation of requests that come from other channels (scanned forms and external call centers).

That said, the frameworks that the team has built are about to be used by other project teams as well. To that end one of the talks I attended at TechEd was a discussion of on assisting other developers in using framework that you build. One of the points made was that when you’re developing frameworks (like we have for services, orchestrations, and human workflow) the level of effort for framework developers doesn’t necessarily go down over time if you continue to refine it. The illustration used was the following graph.

As a result, the next effort for the team will be to transition from a project team doing business development into a team that continues to refactor and improve the frameworks that other developers use.

One of the other points made, however, was that teams should invest the time in the framework up front in order to make it consumable through the use of code generation, templates, etc. The presenter specifically mentioned that trying to put something together in a just in time fashion when other teams need it doesn’t work well in his experience. Unfortunately, because of the very tight schedule we've been on the past year that is largely where we are. The key insight for other teams doing this kind of work is to budget the time (I know how difficult that is when the work is viewed as "overhead" of course) in each release to refactor your frameworks and (reference architecture) and incorporate guidance as you go as well as allow time for mentoring other teams.


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