Ever heard of SCA? Service Component Architecture? (Leave it to the English-speaking people to glom together 3 nouns and expect people to understand what that jumble of words is supposed to mean. In the glass-houses dept: shades of "Windows Communication Foundation." But I digress!). I've certainly heard of it. From time to time, people ask me, or those around me, what about this SCA thing? People ask, what does Microsoft think about SCA? Will Microsoft support SCA? How?
Well, at this point, it's hard to say. Before I get into why, let me give my take on what SCA is. SCA is another multivendor integration spec to come out of the Java community, along the lines of OSGi, ebXML, JBI (JSR-208), and JCA (JSR-16, JSR-112). Yes, I understand that SCA is more heavily service oriented than JBI or JCA for example. But still, SCA is about integration in Javaland, and it falls in that line.
Why is it hard to say whether or how Microsoft would support SCA? There are a couple reasons.
When will we know more? When might I have a better answer to the question, "will Microsoft support SCA, and if so how?"
That's hard to say, too. I know that answer may sound evasive (maybe it is part of my DNA). But look: I'd expect delivery of commercial-ready implementations of the SCA specs, from vendors like IBM and BEA, in late 2007, possibly later. But those would be small scale roll-outs - small in terms of number of installations. And of course small is a relative term. Alfred Chuang of BEA used to talk on his earnings calls of growing his customer base from 13,000 customers to 14,000 customers. This is great, but Microsoft counts its .NET developers in millions. Given that, if a hundred customers begin using SCA to good effect, is that enough to incent Microsoft to action on SCA? Probably not! What numbers would reach the threshold of interesting? I don't know.
To wrap up, SCA is primarily NOT about Interop. SCA is primarily about Java, and describing a new service-oriented metaphor for Java-based application logic. Something to succeed J2EE, which offered a metaphor grounded in components - Enterprise JavaBeans(tm).
We think Interop is important. Customers get good value when obstacles to interconnections fall away. We started working on XML and Web services standards, along with other industry leaders, back in 1999. We're committed to supporting Interop over open standard protocols, to deliver that customer value (case in point: WCF). (**We also so our best to support non-standard protocols, via adapters that connect to proprietary systems like SAP ERP, or IBM transaction systems and MQSeries. ) We're pretty sure SCA doesn't raise the bar in the interop arena.