What is SOA?

Patrick asks for clarification of my previous statement about how, IMO, REST proponents generally like SOAP and dislike SOA. He writes;

I consider myself a REST convert, to the extent I think I understand it and its incarnation in HTTP. Though I don’t understand the position above. Is there even a concrete definition of SOA with which to make this statement?

I thought SOA was a fairly innocuous term, being so vaguely defined that an SOA could be built using REST and HTTP.

“innocuous”? I wouldn’t say that. I think it’s actively harmful as a name for an architectural style. As I see it, “SOA” means different things to different people. As such, it’s almost entirely useless since it does nothing to constrain how one might go about building distributed systems. That’s why I don’t like it. It’s for the same reason that I wouldn’t recommend the null architectural style as a guide from which to design an architecture; all REST and SOA based architectures are instances of the null style too! 8-)

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