Enterprise buses and dirt roads

As vendors begin to identify themselves with SOA, I hope they won't apologize for the dirt road or demand that we pave it. SOAP traffic flowing over the Web and through e-mail isn't a bad thing. We already know how to proxy this stuff. We're about to discover a whole new set of reasons to do it. [Full story at InfoWorld.com]

The "dirt road" metaphor is courtesy of Annrai O'Toole. It resonates for me in a couple of different ways. This column talks about how our "dirt road" protocols, SMTP and HTTP, are routable, cacheable, and proxy-able in ways that we've yet to fully exploit.

The idea of dirt roads also evokes, for me, Larry Wall's famous anecdote about the University of California's approach to designing walkways. At the Irvine campus, according to Larry, planners just sowed grass everywhere and let the paths that emerged define where to put the sidewalks. I wonder about this a lot, lately, when thinking about the differences between LAMP (Linux/Apache/MySQL/Perl|Python|PHP) and .NET/COM+ or J2EE/EJB. Where's the inflection point between these two styles? When you harden an architecture for robust transactions, how do you preserve the fluidity that the agile enterprise requires?

As Don Box points out, Bob Martin, Ward Cunningham, and Guido van Rossum have recently joined the blog conversation. Ward, the other day, wrote:

Two wiki sites are sisters if they join their namespace in such a way that happy collisions occur. [Ward Cunningham's Weblog]

I hope to see some happy collisions between the LAMP and .NET/J2EE perspectives.

Former URL: http://weblog.infoworld.com/udell/2003/05/03.html#a680