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What Is Web Oriented Architecture?

By Alex Newth
Updated May 16, 2024
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Web oriented architecture is a type of software model in which the programs are used and accessed from the Internet, instead of from the computer itself. With this model, a set of programs is stored in a server space, and it is accessed and used through the Internet. One of the main advantages is that this allows for easy access from any location with Internet access. Federation also is possible, meaning that a single login will allow the user access to all the services in the set. This architecture is related to service-oriented architecture, or a program suite, because the two are nearly identical; the main difference is found in how the programs are used and accessed.

When a computer uses a program, the program normally has to be installed on the computer’s hard drive, where the computer will open it up and use its functions. With web oriented architecture, the user accesses all the functions from an Internet browser. This is usually done by typing in a specific website address and entering login information. This is made possible by storing the software information on a server, which is then accessed by anyone going to the website.

With programs that are installed on the hard drive, users have to worry about what operating system they are running, if there is enough memory and processing power, and other hardware specifications. While there may be some hardware specifications for web oriented architecture, the needs are much lower, making the programs more accessible at work or home. Operating system rarely matters when using this architecture, and less memory and processing power is typically needed, so older or weaker computers will have little difficulty using the programs.

Most web oriented architecture solutions also include a federated login. When a business uses software, it normally requires that the user login for each program. With federation, just a single login is needed, which makes validation easier on the servers and makes it easier for users to move between programs.

Before web oriented architecture, there was a similar system, known as service-oriented architecture, and the two are similar. Both focus on software suites and are made primarily for businesses, but where the programs are stored are different. Service-oriented architecture is only stored on the computer. Many classify web and service-oriented architecture as the same thing, because program access is the only real difference between the two.

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Discussion Comments
By Markerrag — On Dec 13, 2014

@Vincenzo -- Need I remind you about the problems that governments and corporations have had over the years with hackers grabbing financial information and other sensitive stuff? I think Logicfest is right. Some information needs to be kept secure and you need local programs running on machines that cannot access the Internet to be totally secure.

Well, you could still have someone run in and access information on a computer with a USB drive and make off with it. But that's a totally different discussion, isn't it?

By Vincenzo — On Dec 12, 2014

@Logicfest -- That's overreacting a bit, isn't it? I mean, there are a lot of Web based apps that carry financial information and all sorts of data you wouldn't want intercepted. And, yet, people find a way to keep it safe from prying eyes.

If such information is kept secure, then a company's reports and spreadsheets should be safe, too.

By Logicfest — On Dec 12, 2014

@Terrificli -- That is all true, but there is a major drawback to programs that have to be accessed over the Internet -- security. Think about it for a minute. Any time you access the Internet, you run the risk of having communications between your computer and a server intercepted by a hacker. Who knows what they will do with that information?

To be truly secure, then, you need to have a program that runs locally and allows no access from the Internet. Those Web based apps may be great for most users, but there are some that will need the rock solid security that can only come through a program running on a local machine.

By Terrificli — On Dec 11, 2014

The big advantage of this is that the programs are platform independent. Windows? Mac OS? Linux? None of that matters one whit. If you have a computer that can access the Internet, you can use a Web oriented software suite.

In the old days, you were out of luck if you had a computer that didn't support a program you wanted to run. That is one of the many ways Windows was (and remains) such a dominant operating system. People can break out of that OS if there are enough Internet oriented programs to allow someone to switch to a different kind of computer.

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