How to picture Service Oriented Architecture (SOA)

It’s fun (for me anyway) to find ways to visually describe a complicated idea so anyone can understand. Service-Oriented Architecture (SOA) is one of those technology topics that benefits greatly from a visual spin. Below are some alternative sketches developed for the Forest Service as they work to build smart new apps for work and recreation.

From Wikipedia: Service-oriented architecture is less about how to modularize an application, and more about how to compose an application by integration of distributed, separately-maintained and deployed software components. It is enabled by technologies and standards that make it easier for components to communicate and cooperate over a network, especially an IP network.

sketch of travel industry

You’ve probably enjoyed the benefits of SOA in booking airline flights online. Not long ago, people had to go to travel agents. Now, thanks to a more modular approach to software interaction people can book through different sites that all draw from a common API of data.

sketch of SOA at FS

Similarly, this sketch shows how an SOA approach could enable the Forest Service to develop apps faster for more purposes.

SOA sketch

This early thumbnail sketch shows the future promise of SOA

SOA sketch 2

This sketch shows the apps as a cloud of interchangeable pieces accessible to users and programmers