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In line with this and your last post, I would say that external behaviors and contracts may very well be the best way to characterize services. We often say that services are autonomous (in terms of implementation), but I would suggest that they are heteronomous (determined by external forces) in terms of behavior. In other words, services are no longer king of their own domain; their value is derived solely from the external behavior, policy, and service level metrics expected of them by their consumers. Services are of no value... unless consumed by some other application(s). These consumer expectations help shape the contract: if we could capture them, we might learn something useful about the residual couplings between provider and consumer, and so learn something about how we might evolve a service in tandem with the business value we wish to exploit from it.

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