Skip to main content

Governance and SOA

IBM has some interesting thoughts and papers on Governance in the context of SOA. This is clearly an important topic: let's get it right this time is my feeling. (If you need an example of what can go wrong when these issues are not properly thought through just consider the email fiasco: SPAM is essentially a throw back to an era before there were stamps on envelopes and only the rich could afford to receive a letter.)

However, IBM's stance appears to focus on what we (the OASIS SOA Reference Architecture committee) call the “Enterprise SOA”. In contrast to the situation where there is an easily definable corporate body that owns the SOA, the “Internet SOA” corresponds to the real Internet. In the Internet SOA there are no governing authorities to set up nice committees to decide what can and cannot be published.

However, just because there is no Big Sibling does not mean that governance is not a critical issue for Internet-scale SOAs. We simply have to find another way.

It is said that European law was based on a pre-existing body of 'Merchant Law'. This was an era of very limited central government, city states and a surprising amount of international trade. Without a recognized legal framework, merchants were forced to settle disputes among themselves. Much like the Internet today.

Anyway, we are looking for the right architectural hooks on which to hang governance and related concepts.

Popular posts from this blog

Comments Should be Meaningless

This is something of a counterintuitive idea: Comments should be meaningless What, I hear you ask, are you talking about? Comments should communicate to the reader! At least that is the received conventional wisdom handed does over the last few centuries (decades at least). Well, certainly, if you are programming in Assembler, or C, then yes, comments should convey meaning because the programming language cannot So, conversely, as a comment on the programming language itself, anytime the programmer feels the imperative to write a meaningful comment it is because the language is not able to convey the intent of the programmer. I have already noticed that I write far fewer comments in my Java programs than in my C programs.  That is because Java is able to capture more of my meaning and comments would be superfluous. So, if a language were able to capture all of my intentions, I would never need to write a comment. Hence the title of this blog.

Sub-turing complete programming languages

Here is an interesting intuition: the key to liberating software development is to use programming languages that are not, by themselves, turing-complete. That means no loops, no recursion 'in-language'. Why? Two reasons: any program that is subject to the halting problem is inherently unknowable: in general, the only way to know what a turing-complete program means is to run it. This puts very strong limitations on the combinatorics of turing-complete programs and also on the kinds of support tooling that can be provided: effectively, a debugger is about the best that you can do with any reasonable effort. On the other hand, a sub-turing language is also 'decidable'. That means it is possible to predict what it means; and paradoxically, a lot easier to provide a rich environment for it etc. etc. An interesting example of two languages on easier side of the turing fence are TeX and CSS. Both are designed for specifying the layout of text, TeX is turing complete and CSS

On programming languages and the Mac

Every so often I dig out my Xcode stuff and have a go at exploring developing an idea for Mac OS X. Everytime the same thing happens to me: Objective-C is such an offensive language to my sensibilities that I get diverted into doing something else. All the lessons that we have learned the hard way over the years -- the importance of strong static typing, the importance of tools for large scale programming -- seem to have fallen on deaf ears in the Objective-C community. How long did it take to get garbage collection into the language? I also feel that some features of Objective-C represent an inherent security risk (in particular categories) that would make me very nervous to develop a serious application in it. As it happens, I am currently developing a programming language for Complex Event Processing. Almost every choice that I am making in that language is the opposite to the choice made for Objective-C -- my language is strongly, statically typed; it is designed for parallel exe