Magento is a modular system that enables third-party developers to customize and overwrite core parts of its framework. This flexibility, however, comes at a price. Business logic tends to leak across the layers of the Magento system, which manifests as duplicated and inconsistent code.
Merchants might be reluctant to upgrade Magento because customized extensions that they have purchased might not be compatible with new versions of Magento. Also, Magento and third-party developers can find it difficult to track and report the dependencies that customized extensions have on other extensions.
To address these issues, the Magento system introduces service contracts.
A service contract is a set of PHP interfaces that are defined for a module. A service contract includes data interfaces, which preserve data integrity, and service interfaces, which hide business logic details from service requestors such as controllers, web services, and other modules.
If developers define data and service interfaces according to a set of design patterns, the result is a well-defined, durable API that other modules and third-party extensions can implement through Magento models and resource models.