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Friday, January 20, 2012

Enterprise Integration with XML, Web Services and SOA

In most of today’s enterprises, we can observe that there are many hundreds of applications, each application being different from other application in one way or the other. Most of these applications are developed by third party. For a standard to be evolved, all these applications must be integrated for easy communication between different departments using different applications.

There is a need for standardizing business applications because even well established ERP applications have not been able to provide all the functions in an enterprise. Instead of using just one application, using multiple applications will give an option of using the best applications in different categories which can improve the productivity of the business. But maintaining several applications simultaneously can be difficult for any enterprise. So, there is a need for enterprise integration. While pursuing enterprise integration, there are issues such as multiple applications being run on multiple operating system platforms. Enterprise integration help can availed by applying certain principles.

XML, web services and SOA or Service Oriented Architecture were introduced to do the job of enterprise integration. Enterprise integration with XML, web services and SOA has been successful to a significant extent after they were introduced. Their introduction has been pioneered as a very important step toward enterprise integration.

Back in the year 2003, a concern about the Microsoft monopolizing on the transfer of computer documents. So, internationally there was a concern to create a language that could easily and quickly help in transfer of documents. Thus, XML was developed.

XML is closely related to HTML. However, there are differences between the two. Where HTML’s majority of focus rests on presentation, XML’s major focus is on providing information content. XML is an extensible language, where as HTML is not.

Service Oriented Architecture and Web Services on the other hand have also been useful in integrating enterprises. Before they are implemented, Service Oriented Architecture and web services must be understood. The process of building Service Oriented Architecture and web services must be initiated.

Web Services, if they are integrated well with the service orientation can answer well the challenge of enterprise integration. With the help of web services, not only integration is possible, but also an ERP application can be developed.

Service orientation has features such as

  • Minimal dependence on other services is required. Only an awareness of other services is required.
  • The service architecture is encapsulated and it can control its own logic.
  • Service orientation can be reused
  • Additional services can be added to them from time to time

With Service orientation the following advantages can be realized

  • Improvement in integration and interoperability
  • Can be reused inherently
  • Architecture and solutions are streamlined
  • XML standardization is possible
  • Better alternative to standard ERP solutions

Integration of enterprise with XML, web services and SOA has been proven to be successful in many organizations. Today, these organizations have been able to reduce costs to a significant level.

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