n. In computing, a Service-Oriented Architecture (SOA) is a flexible set of design principles used during the phases of systems development and integration. A deployed SOA-based architecture will provide a loosely-integrated suite of services that can be used within multiple business domains.
SOA also generally provides a way for consumers of services, such as web-based applications, to be aware of available SOA-based services. For example, several disparate departments within a company may develop and deploy SOA services in different implementation languages; their respective clients will benefit from a well understood, well defined interface to access them. XML is commonly used for interfacing with SOA services, though this is not required.
Service-orientation requires loose coupling of services with operating systems, and other technologies that underlie applications. SOA separates functions into distinct units, or services, which developers make accessible over a network in order to allow users to combine and reuse them in the production of applications. These services and their corresponding consumers communicate with each other by passing data in a well-defined, shared format, or by coordinating an activity between two or more services.
"Hell yes! I don't want them using my tax dollars to train terrorists!"