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The IBM Rational Approach to SOA and Web Services

SOA is an approach to IT that considers business processes as reusable components

The IBM Software Development Platform includes several other tools that enable the team to more effectively manage asset workflow. WebSphere Studio Asset Analyzer provides support for the Asset Identification workflow. Rational Software Architect provides a RAS client for Asset Production. This tool also includes another RAS client, called the Asset Explorer, to facilitate Asset Consumption. Developers and architects use Asset Explorer to connect to one or more RAS repositories and issue searches that examine the RAS XML manifest in each of the RAS assets.

An Example of Business-Driven Development for SOA
Developers: Constructing the Service
A Java developer designs and implements the architect's specification and constructs the service using IBM Rational Application Developer.

With many development tasks automated, the developer can focus on implementing the appropriate business logic needed to fulfill the service's functional requirements in Rational Application Developer. The developer can then deploy and test the code in the WebSphere Test Environment included with Rational Application Developer.

Alternatively, a developer can repurpose existing assets, and use Rational Application Developer to automate the creation of a Web Service from existing Java classes or EJBs. Both Rational Application Developer and Rational Software Architect can take advantage of the UDDI browser included in the tools to find and reuse existing services in the development of a solution.

Using Rational Application Developer, the developer can register the service's availability in a UDDI registry and create both a WSDL description of the service and an Enterprise Archive (EAR) file to be used by the Integration Developer. Once these assets are created, the developer can then package them and store them in a RAS-compliant repository, such as one based on Rational ClearCase (see Figure 3).

Getting Started with IBM and SOA
Making the transition to SOA development doesn't require an enterprise to completely overhaul its IT infrastructure and development processes all at once. Often, the transition takes place in incremental steps. A business can decide to rework an existing business process using an SOA, or implement a single new SOA application. Another organization can begin by adopting SOA-oriented development methodologies and tools for a particular phase of the software development lifecycle.

Flexibility is fundamental to companies seeking to react to a rapidly changing landscape that includes emerging competitive threats, shifting compliance and regulatory requirements, mergers, acquisitions, and evolving technology. Just as important is the ability to align a core businesses process - software development - with business needs and priorities.

Achieving flexibility and better alignment of business and IT objectives requires executing IT projects with a high level of coordination, accuracy, and clarity. Business-driven development for services-oriented solutions helps businesses create solutions that truly meet an organization's needs today and are readily adapted when those needs change in the future.

The IBM Rational Software Development Platform plays an important role in enabling organizations to create a set of services capable of realizing these goals. It combines market-leading tools, best practices, and other resources to create a rich, integrated environment for service-oriented solutions development.

More Stories By Jim Palistrant

Jim Palistrant is a Market Manager at IBM Rational that has been working on development and test tools for most of his IBM career. He started working on IBM's Java and Web development tools in 1995, helping to bring the WebSphere Studio tools to market. In 2004 he joined the Rational team and helped bring the Rational Developer products to market. In 2005 he became the Market Manager for Rational SOA Solutions. He is a frequent speaker at technical conferences and to customers around the world.

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