Defining Service-Oriented Architectures
Essentially, a service is the implementation of some step in one or more business processes, and a service-oriented architecture takes advantage of those services. More importantly, service-oriented architectures have many benefits for businesses, including enabling better alignment of business requirements and technology. Service-oriented architectures also allow services to be easily swapped out or reused for different purposes. And a service-oriented architecture gives your business the ability to leverage existing services easily while also leaving the option to write new services to fulfill specific purposes.
Service-oriented architectures rely heavily on programming in XML, a text-based mark up language that enables developers to define their own specific structure of data. However, one major benefit of setting up a service-oriented architecture is that it doesn't matter which language or protocol is used. Instead, the process can be written to be able to be used across many platforms.
One simple example of service-oriented architecture would be a program that installed on a computer that can organize a user's digital music library. The program may work best if it has access to the Internet and can utilize a service - looking up the name of a CD or song title in a large music database, for example, or giving access to an online store that uses the same database in a different manner. Service-oriented architectures are essentially about giving existing services new functionality.