What is the difference between Software as a Service (web services) and Service Oriented Architecture?

Just wondering what the difference is between Software as a Service (web services) and Service Oriented Architecture? I have read several definitions of SOA but still am at a loss as to what the difference is. Really appreciate any clarification!


I did a very quick Google search, bear in mind I’m no expert and this is simply my interpretation/understanding.

An example of software as a service is OpenAI’s API. Their AI software is a service, provided through an API, which developers can use with a subscription. Software like ChatGPT, that actually uses this service (and could use others) would be using a service-oriented architecture.

So software as a service is when you develop software that others will use through APIs. The software is on your servers, but others can use it somehow.

Service-oriented architecture is a type of software where you use services as a part of your software.

Hopefully that makes some sense (and is somewhat accurate).

Wikipedia articles:
Software as a Service (SaaS)
Service-oriented Architecture


The key difference separating SaaS and SOA lies in their focus and scope. SaaS primarily focuses on delivering software applications over the internet on a subscription basis, while SOA focuses on the architecture and design principles for creating modular, reusable services that can be shared and integrated across different applications. SaaS is a specific deployment and distribution model for software delivery, whereas SOA is an architectural approach guiding the design and organization of software systems to enhance flexibility, scalability, and reusability. So, SaaS is for the delivery and consumption of complete applications, whereas SOA focuses on architecture and design principles for modular and interoperable services loll.

I hope this clarifies your question and provides you with some knowledge on the difference between an SOA and SaaS.


Thank you for the response. It was most helpful!


Thanks for responding! That is very helpful!

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