Service-oriented architectures (SOA) offer concepts and principles which allow the realization of flexible corporate applications and the implementation of agile system environments. Service-oriented approaches provide the additional advantage that multiple perspectives and points of view within an organization can be taken into account. SOAs feature useful abstractions at different levels. Therefore they are not only comprehensible to IT personnel but also to non-IT personnel. This characteristic of an SOA taps into the knowledge of many employees thus contributing to its success and, incidentally, enables the management of the IT and business departments to gain appropriate influence on the main architectural decisions.

Challenges and Motivation

Due to the fact that the complexity of software is permanently increasing, the development and maintenance of software systems are expensive and time consuming processes. The successful execution of these processes depends predominantly on the extent to which the complexity of the problem domain and the system can be managed. Apart from the great number of advantages IT leaders discover a noticeable increase of complexity when implementing SOA initiatives. This refers to both the problem complexity and the solution complexity of an SOA. Technology, business processes, business functionality, integration and maintenance are elements of complexity which threaten enterprise projects and reduce an enterprise’s agility.

In contrast to stand-alone solutions, which operate as self-contained systems, SOA is a distributed approach. Service-oriented systems do not have clearly defined boundaries. Thus, the governance as well as a comprehensive knowledge and understanding of the system as a whole are essential when services are implemented on different platforms. Additionally, system-wide and domain-exceeding knowledge and understanding are compulsory from the functional point of view. Different stakeholders may have numerous views of a certain system, which contain different aspects and pieces of information in relation to the system as a whole.

The set of relevant views which is used to document a system’s architecture mainly depend on the goals of specific stakeholders. Once documented, those views have a static nature, even though they are subject to change due to iteration cycles. The related set of concerns represented by a specific view will remain the same (otherwise a new view would have been created). But a set of documented views cannot cover the variety of concerns related to a software system arising from different stakeholders acting in a dynamic environment. The stakeholder’s concerns and goals mainly depend on their roles, experiences as well as their knowledge and are influenced by changing requirements. Particularly, SOAs that support a dynamic environment lead to a variety of concerns caused by the additional complexity.

Hence the use of views should not only support certain phases, e.g. design or construction, but contribute to the whole SOA life cycle and its evolution. Taking this into account, different research questions arise:

  • How can a stakeholder consider pieces of information within a certain context, if he does not have access to that information in the form relevant to him?
  • How can a stakeholder gather and comprehend information in an efficient manner?
  • What are relevant views?
  • Who defines which aspects are relevant to a specific stakeholder?


  • Mastering the complexity of software intensive systems
  • Integrate enterprise repositories to support on-demand creation of generic views
  • Provision of consistent information in the context of SOA governance
  • Efficient provision of context-specific information based on stakeholder profiles
  • Analysis and evaluation of SOA design principles
  • Better comprehension of the SOA environment
  • Three-dimensional generic views
  • Navigation and interaction techniques
  • Development of prototypes to evaluate conceptual models and software interfaces
  • Adaption to real world scenarios

Rescent Results

We developed an approach called the Generic View Concept to facilitate the on-demand and context-specific creation of views of SOA-based systems to fulfill the variety of stakeholder concerns. The Generic View Concept is a holistic approach which is not bound to specific SOA environments, e.g. influenced by the organizational structure, implementation details, infrastructure or strategies. It is not intended to replace other view concepts that have proven to be successful when developing software systems. It is rather a complementing concept focused on comprehension and analysis of information in the context of SOAs.  An overview of the Generic View Concept is illustrated in the figure below which shows the core elements. The concept is divided into the four main areas: Information, Profile, Context Creation and Visual Representation.

To make use of our approach and gather first experiences with a software tool using real data we developed a prototype (see video demonstration above) which is based on the Generic View Concept. Using the prototype stakeholders are able to configure profiles based on their concerns. An extensible dimension system was introduced which allows a flexible configuration and visual transformation. The prototype uses 3D technologies to represent Generic Views as an alternative to 2D representation forms.

Please take a look at our paper references below for further readings.


  • Roman Belter, Thorsten Spies, Andre Ludwig, Bogdan Franczyk, Stefan Eicker: Towards Information Transparency in the Context of Service Management. In: Proceedings of the IEEE International Conference on Service-Oriented Computing and Applications (SOCA), 2010. IEEE, Perth 2010.
  • Thorsten Spies, Thomas Hofmann: Usability eines 3D-Interfaces zur Visualisierung von Informationssystemlandschaften. In: Gesellschaft für Arbeitswissenschaft e.V. (GfA) (Hrsg.): Neue Arbeits- und Lebenswelten gestalten, 56. Kongress der Gesellschaft für Arbeitswissenschaft. GfA Press, Darmstadt 2010, S. 239-242. Details
  • Stefan Eicker, Reinhard Jung, Widura Schwittek, Thorsten Spies: SOA Generic Views - In the Eye of the Beholder. In: IEEE (Hrsg.): Proceeedings of 2008 IEEE International Conference on Services Computing (SCC 2008), IEEE Congress on Services 2008, WebX 2008 Workshop. IEEE, Hawaii, USA 2008, S. 479-486. Details
  • Stefan Eicker, Thorsten Spies, Christian Kahl: Software Visualization in the Context of Service-Oriented Architectures. In: Proceedings of the 4th IEEE International Workshop on Visualizing Software for Understanding and Analysis (Vissoft2007). IEEE, Banff, Alberta, Canada 2007, S. 108-111. Details
  • Stefan Eicker, Thorsten Spies, Christian Kahl: Softwarevisualisierung im Kontext serviceorientierter Architekturen (Forschungsbericht), 2007. (ISSN 1860-2770) Details

Student Theses

  • Diplom-/Master-/Bachelorarbeiten
    • Entwicklung von SOA-Governance-Strategien zur Unterstützung des Informationsmanagements im Kontext generischer Architektur-Sichten (Masterarbeit, geplant)
    • Kommunikation von Architekturwissen - Implikationen für die Gestaltung unterstützender Software-Werkzeuge (Widura Schwittek, Masterarbeit Wirtschaftsinformatik, 2010)
    • Informationsmanagement im Kontext von SOA Governance - Darstellung und kritische Bewertung von Mechanismen und Prozessen (André Diermann, Bachelorarbeit Wirtschaftsinformatik, 2009)
    • Entwicklung einer Regel- und Transformationssprache zur Profilkonfiguration generischer Sichten im Kontext serviceorientierter Architekturen (Florian Witteler, Diplomarbeit Wirtschaftsinformatik, 2009)
    • Analyse der Informationsbedarfe und Verantwortlichkeiten von Rollen im Kontext serviceorientierter Architekturen (Roman Barski, Bachelorarbeit Wirtschaftsinformatik, 2009)
    • SOA Reifegradmodelle - Einflussfaktoren, Maßnahmen und Vorgehensweisen am Beispiel der Enterprise SOA (Ulf Spies, Diplomarbeit Wirtschaftsinformatik, 2008)
    • Dynamische Visualisierung serviceorientierter Architekturen (Christian Kahl, Diplomarbeit Wirtschaftsinformatik, 2007)
  • Seminararbeiten
    • Servicekompositionen in serviceorientierten Architekturen (Benedikt Ritter, 2009)
    • Darstellungsformen zur semantischen Erweiterung von 3D-Visualisierungen für serviceorientierte Architekturen (André Diermann, 2008)
    • Visualisierung semantischer Zusammenhänge zwischen Informationsartefakten des Softwareentwicklungsprozesses (Jens Peter Schuler, 2008)

Former Project Members

  • Staff members
    • Roman Barski (Prototype Development)
  • Student members
    • Malte Goddemeier (Prototype Development)
    • Ulf Spies (Prototype Development)
    • Christian Kahl (Prototype Development)
    •  Stefan Sockel (Prototype Development)