SOA stands for service-oriented architecture. It is a style of software design that provides services to the other components by application components. These services are provided through a communication protocol over a network. The basic principle of service oriented architecture is that it is independent of vendors, products and technologies. These services are discrete units of functionalities, which can be accessed remotely. They can be acted upon and updated independently, just like retrieving a credit card statement online. The SOA represents a business activity with a specified outcome and is self-contained. Service-oriented architecture is about how to compose an application by integration of distributed, separately-maintained and deployed software components. SOA makes it easier for components to communicate and cooperate over a network, since it is enabled by specific technologies and standards.
SOA is very beneficial, since the creation of a robust service layer helps in getting a better return on the investment made in the creation of the software. Since location transparency is one of the properties of the service-oriented architecture and therefore, code mobility becomes a reality. It forces an application to have multiple layers and each layer has a set of specific role for the developer. Since, these services on the other hand are used by multiple applications, they have their own security mechanisms and several other benefits.
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