The Software Quality Challenges of Service Oriented Architecture in e-Commerce

Shelly Saunders, Margaret Ross, Geoff Staples, S Wellington

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


    Web Services technologies and their supporting collection of de facto standards are now reaching the point of maturity where they are appearing in production software systems. Service Oriented Architectures (SOAs) using Web Services as an enabling technology are also being discussed widely in the IT press. However, despite the numerous and real advantages of these architectural patterns there are still many software quality challenges that remain unresolved. This is particularly true as we consider more advanced architectures that exploit the technology to its maximum advantage: utility computing and on-demand service discovery and composition, grid computing and multi-agent systems will only become pervasive once the software quality challenges of real-world industrial applications have been addressed. In this paper potential quality issues such as performance, reliability and availability are addressed in terms of the quality assurances that might need to be provided to consumers of services. Proposed XML-based Service Level Agreement (SLA) languages are reviewed as a means of providing these quality assurances in machine-readable ways. We also discuss how SLAs might be automatically negotiated to enable automated, on-demand service discovery and composition. The next section of this paper addresses quality issues from a service provider's perspective. The providers of such services will need to ensure that SLA commitments are met and this poses interesting problems in terms of application management. Network quality of service is currently addressed through such means as IntServ and DiffServ. Research proposals to introduce similar techniques at an application level are described. From the service consumer's perspective, interesting research proposals for proactively ensuring that good quality of service is obtained are also reviewed. These could be particularly important for creating confidence, from a consumer's perspective, in these architectures. Finally, the paper evaluates the challenges and suggests areas where further research is most urgently required.
    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)65-75
    JournalSoftware Quality Journal
    Issue number1
    Publication statusPublished - 2006


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