OASIS Reference Model for SOA. Part 7: Core Concepts – Service Description

This post is part of a series. Click here for the ‘home page’

The service description represents all the information needed in order to use a service. There is no one “right” way of describing a service, rather the elements of description required will depend on the context and the needs of the parties using the service.In essence, the service description is an amalgamation of information the other core concepts in the OASIS Reference Model:


As discussed earlier, interaction is composed of:

  • Behaviour Model, which is made up of:
    • Action Model
    • Process Model
  • Information Model, which contains information about:
    • Semantics
    • Structure

All of these elements should probably be included in your service description.

As discussed earlier, visibility is composed of:

  • Awareness
  • Reachability
  • Willingness

The documentation from OASIS suggests that you only need to include the ‘reachability’ components in your service but I disagree. I think all three elements need to be there. For example:

  • Awareness – location of the service (and maybe alternate/backup locations)
  • Reachability – protocols used
  • Willingness – fair use policies

Real World Effect
Clearly the whole point of interacting with a service is to “get something done”. The service description needs to include sufficient information to allow the consumer to clearly understand the real world effects of invoking a service.

For more information about real world effect click here.

Contract and Policy
A service description may include information about the policies (i.e. constraints or conditions of use) that govern the use of the service.

For more information about contract and policy click here.


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