I’ve seen a few rockstars in my day but none of them quite looked like this. Cox Communications, (yes the cable company) proved to be a real SOA rockstar. I know you’re thinking ‘what about SOA has to do with rockstars’ but after you hear this story, I think you’ll agree, not all rockstars have to wear studded pants and strum a guitar.
Cox Communications is the third-largest cable company in the United States and is known for its customer service. Bruce Beeco, who introduced SOA at Cox in 2002, describes how SOA has helped Cox improve its customer service while still saving millions. I know, rockstars typically spend money not save money but by recognizing these simple best practices, Cox Communications was able to develop 40 applications, 120 services, process 5 million transactions per day and still produce $5 million in savings.
Follow these general practices and who knows, you might become a rockstar yourself.
- Model processes to scope services. If you are not modeling, your services aren’t right
- Create a solid, shared framework for technical utilities like security, data validation, error management and logging
- Always create service stubs to speed-up client development and testing
- Define message canonicals at business levels to protect services from changes in systems
- Generalize error faults
- Describe service registration with business description, WSDL, dependencies, SLA requirements, client tracking
- Service scope, keep it simple…don’t turn it into an application
- Services are stateless and have no knowledge of other services or calling application
- No easy way to do version so ensure services are backward compatible
- Log every transaction with identified, timestamps and i/o parameters to ease support issues
- Support multiple low environments for development and testing
And don’t forget, rockstars don’t become rockstars over night. (or atleast they didn’t use to, until American Idol)