Web 2.0, SOA, and Portals

There have been a number of blogs recently discussing Web 2.0 and SOA. In his IT Toolbox blog, David Linthicum quotes Dion Hinchcliffe, essentially saying that Web pages are becoming less important, and Web services are becoming more important.

One thing that I’ve spoken with some people about is applying the concepts of SOA to the Presentation Tier. I think portlets are to the presentation tier what Web Services are to the business tier. In the same way that the business tier is headed toward orchestration and composition of services, the presentation tier should be headed toward orchestration and composition of presentation services, i.e. portlets. This tier is far more challenging than the business tier, simply because this is the interface that deals with people, and people are complicated. The number of things that can be (and need to be) communicated through a user interface is far greater than what needs to be communicated from a WSDL file.

That being said, I think we can really get somewhere if some of the best thinkers on server-side SOA got together with some leading usability / user interface gurus and tried to come up with a solution. If we had a solution that captured the dynamic behaviors and flexibility required on the user interface side, this could in turn be utilized to enable dynamic behaviors and flexibility on the server side even more.

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