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SOA Principles – Loose coupling
SOA is a loosely coupled arrangement of services and service consumers. At design time, loose coupling means that services are designed with no affinity to any particular service consumer. Inside the service, no information is assumed as to the purpose, technical nature or business nature of the service consumer. Thus, a service is fully decoupled from a service consumer.
However, the service consumer is dependent on the service (that is, it embeds literal references to service interfaces). Thus, SOA is asemi-coupled (or loosely coupled) architecture. It differs from an event-driven architecture, in which all participating software components are decoupled from others, and also from a monolithic architecture, in which all software components are designed to operate only in the initially intended context (that is, logically tightly coupled).
Design-time loose coupling is essential to SOA because it enables the non-intrusive reuse of service interfaces. However, tools can't guarantee design-time loose coupling. Poorly designed services, which are logically locked into their service consumers, may render the entire application monolithic —despite the use of SOA-style technologies.