Nearly half of UK companies go for SOA

The SOA readiness survey of 180 UK organisations by Birmingham-based systems integrator Griffiths Waite showed that of the 47% of respondents pursuing SOA, 20% had already implemented at least one SOA project.And of that 20%, almost half (49%) said their main reason for adopting SOA was to achieve IT flexibility and 14% said it would enable them to get the most out of their IT investments by providing industry standards for accessing functionality and resources.

Hugh Griffiths, director of Griffiths Waite, said, “This shows UK companies are starting to put money behind SOA, which represents a definite shift away from technical discussions towards mainstream implementation.”

Griffiths said another reason for the shift was an increase in the number and maturity of standards, such as the Business Process Execution Language (BPEL) for specifying business process behaviour for web services.

Read the complete article in Computer Weekly

Chaharshanbe Suri

Chahārshanbe-Sūri is the ancient Iranian festival dating at least back to 1700 BCE of the early Zoroastrian era. The festival of fire is a prelude to the ancient Norouz (Persian New year) festival, which marks the arrival of spring and revival of nature. Chahrshanbeh Suri, is celebrated the last Tuesday night of the year, which would be on 18 March this year. The word Chahar Shanbeh means Wednesday and Suri is red. The bon fires are lit at the sunset and the idea is to not let the sun set. Bon fires are lit to keep the sun alive till early hours of the morning. The celebration usually starts in the evening. On this occasion people make bon-fires on the streets and jump over them. The young shoot lots of fireworks before and during Chaharshanbe Suri.

The tradition includes people going into the streets and alleys to make fires, and jump over them while singing and dancing. There is no religious significance attached to Chahar Shanbeh Suri and it serves as a cultural festival for all Iranian Jews, Muslems, Armenians, Turks and Zoroastrians alike. Indeed this celebration, in particular the significant role of fire, is likely to hail from Zoroastrianism. In addition another tradition of this day is to make a special Ajeel ‘Mixed nuts and berries’. People wear disquise and chadors and go door to door knocking on doors. Receiving of the Ajeel is customary, as is receiving of a bucket of water.

Here are some pictures of Charshanbe Suri in Tehran.

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BPMN to BPEL: going to battle with one hand tied?

William Vambenepe writes, “I have been looking at business process modeling and I am a bit puzzled about the connections between the different goals (strategy support, process documentation, automated execution….), audiences (LOB, business analysts, developers…) and tools (process editor, registry, simulation bench, IDE…). I see how it would be nice for all these to play well together. What I don’t quite see is exactly how the current tools achieve that.

One example is the goal of improving communications between business analysts and developers by allowing analysts to capture as much of the intended process as possible in a way that can be easily consumed by developers. That is a worthy goal and it should be eventually achievable (though maybe in a reformulated form) based on industry trends (who would have thought that one day business people would use their own computers to retrieve business data rather than having an operator print documents for them). But it is still a very difficult goal, for which many inherent barriers (in terms of shared vocabulary, skills and mindset) must be overcome. My concern is that the current approaches add many artificial barriers to those intrinsic to the problem.

One source of such artificial barriers is that incompatible business process description languages come into play. One common example is the use of BPMN for analyst-level modeling followed by a translation to BPEL for development tasks. I ran into an example of an incompatibility between the two very early in my experimentations with BPMN, in the form of the “inclusive OR” (the diamond with a circle inside in BPMN).

Read the complete article by William Vambenepe.

Surveys Reflect on “The State of BPM in 2008”

In the past couple of weeks, two major reports on “The State of BPM in 2008” were published. The first one was based on a survey filled by 274 respondents and published by BPTrends.com. The second one was based on analyst reports, articles and a survey of customers and was published by BEA…BPTrends reports that a wide variety of process standards are being used by the respondents. BPMN shows the strongest momentum with 41% (from 22% in 2006) and BPEL showing a modest progression with 26% (from 23% in 2006). XPDL (6%) and the OMG Process Metamodel (7%) are far behind while UML (30%) and CMM/CMMI (28%) remain fairly stable.See the complete article by Jean-Jacques Dubray in InfoQ.

OASIS issues Call for Participation in new ebCore Technical Committee

All interested parties are invited to participate in the new OASIS ebXML Core (ebCore)  Technical Committee.

This group will manage clarifications, modifications, and enhancements for ebXML specifications that are completed or transitioned to it.

The ebCore TC may also produce new conformance profiles and adjunct documents complementing existing specifications.

It will explore synergies with UN/CEFACT, WS-* specifications and SOA best practices.

TC proposers include representatives of Axway, Boeing, Fujitsu, and others.

A TC chair or two co-chairs will be elected at the first meeting, which will be held by teleconference on 4 April. 

Read the complete Call for Participation from OASIS. 

Open Grid Forum Goes to Europe

The Open Grid Forum (OGF) is taking its grid computing standards work to Europe, with a little help from the European Commission.

OGF-Europe, funded by the European Commission for Mobilizing and Integrating Communities on Grid Standards and Best Practices Globally, will help “capitalize on European Commission investments in Grid technologies by driving grid adoption and innovation across Europe in research, government and industry,” OGF said in a statement.

OGF-Europe was launched in keeping with OGF’s mission of “pervasive grid adoption through interoperable software standards.”

The new group will offer outreach seminars and workshops, adoption challenges and recommendations reports, community surveys, best practice reports and tutorials. It will also coordinate an Industry Experts council to better understand how European enterprises are dealing with issues like interoperations and standardization.

“We thank the EU commission for their strong show of support for OGF’s mission of accelerating grid adoption through open standards and in recognizing the power of grid in 21st-century economies,” OGF President Craig Lee said in a statement.

Silvana Muscella, technical coordinator of OGF-Europe and director of OGF.eeig, said OGF-Europe “will be essential in bringing enterprise and e-science communities together to break down barriers and foster mainstream grid adoption.”

OGF-Europe’s first Community Outreach Seminar will be held in the UK this spring. The formation of the new group is well timed; OGF23, the Grid Forum’s quarterly international meeting, will be held in Barcelona in June.

OGF-Europe is led by the Barcelona Supercomputing Centre (BSC), technically coordinated by OGF.eeig (The European Chapter of the OGF — European Economic Interest Group) and consists of eight other partners.

BPEL4People advances toward the mainstream

BPEL (Business Process Execution Language) is too machine-oriented, catering to applications talking to other applications, they say. Most business processes need the human touch somewhere along the line. Consider these un-automatable scenarios: A process may need an executive’s approval to proceed any further. Work may flow like a river, but it also encounters plenty of waterfalls, dams and locks on the way — points at which humans may need to jump in to keep things moving. Workflows are as unique as the companies that create them, and all have their own points where humans intercede.That’s why OASIS announced it is forming a technical committee to explore how the proposed BPEL4People standard (WS-BPEL Extension for People) could rectify this. This is a step toward becoming an OASIS standard, and work will commence on both both BPEL4People and WS-Human Task. WS-HumanTask was created by Adobe, Active Endpoints, BEA, IBM, Oracle and SAP.

As OASIS puts it, the Technical Committee “would define: (1) extensions to the OASIS WS-BPEL 2.0 Standard to enable human interactions, and (2) a model of human interactions that are service-enabled.” The case for BPEL4People vision was first laid out in a white paper jointly published by IBM and SAP in July 2005.

BPEL4People and its cousin WS-Human Task is already appearing on the market. Just this past week, Active Endpoints announced that an update to its open-source ActiveBPEL Community Edition 5.0 Server includes implementations of both standards.

For those who want more details on how BPEL4People works, Andrew Doble provides a deep dive into how BPEL4People fits into the architecture.

But, ultimately, can BPEL4People finally bring SOA closer to the business processes its supposed to support? Just as BPEL has taken its knocks over the years, there are conflicting viewpoints on whether BPEL4People can effectively do the job.

Read the complete article.

OASIS Members Form New Committee to Advance BPEL4People

OASIS, the international open standards consortium, has formed a new technical committee to extend the Web Services Business Processes Execution Language (WS-BPEL) to support human interactions. The new OASIS WS-BPEL Extension for People (BPEL4People) Technical Committee will expand the capabilities of WS-BPEL to support a broad range of human interaction patterns, allowing for additional modeling of business processes within the language.WS-BPEL 2.0, which was approved as an OASIS Standard in 2007, introduced a model to support automated business processes based on Web services. The standard is now widely used for orchestrating machine-to-machine interactions.

“WS-BPEL was not designed for human workflow,” noted Jeff Mischkinsky of Oracle, convenor of the OASIS BPEL4People Technical Committee. “Nevertheless, we realize that many business processes comprise a broad range of activities where people are directly involved. Whether performing tasks, reviewing actions, approving steps, or entering data, people are a key part of many workflow scenarios.”

BPEL4People will define a new type of basic activity that will allow human tasks, including their properties and behavior, to be defined, as well as the operations used to manipulate those tasks. A BPEL4People coordination protocol will control autonomy and life cycle of service-enabled human tasks in an interoperable manner.

more …

OASIS Launches BPEL XML.org Online Community

 The OASIS international standards consortium introduced a new XML.org online community web site dedicated to supporting the Web Services Business Process Execution Language (WS-BPEL) and related specifications. The site, (http://bpel.xml.org), serves as the official information resource for the WS-BPEL OASIS Standard, which provides a method for formally describing business processes and business interaction protocols using Web services.”BPEL has become an important standard for Service-Oriented Architectures,” said Ed Cobb, VP, Emerging Technology & Standards at BEA. “OASIS has created this site as a way to enable users, developers, and vendors from around the world to share information and learn from one another.”

All pages on BPEL XML.org are accessible by the public, and users are encouraged to contribute content. The site features a wiki knowledgebase of information on using and understanding BPEL. It also includes sections where readers can post related news, event information, listings for products and services, links to white papers, case studies, and other resources. Forums that support interactive discussions and blogs are also featured.

“Valuable information on BPEL is scattered throughout the Web on a multitude of web sites from vendors, publications, conferences, and other sources. BPEL XML.org aims to provide an easily navigable nexus point where people can go to quickly find the information they need,” said Diane Jordan, Program Director for IBM Emerging Internet Software Standards. “It’s also a ‘watering hole’ where people working with BPEL can come together to support one another.”

BPEL is the newest addition to the XML.org family of web sites devoted to supporting communities around open standards; other sites include include DITA, ebXML, IDtrust, OpenDocument, and UDDI.

OASIS solicits feedback on proposed ebXML Core charter

OASIS members are asked to review and comment on a draft charter to establish the OASIS ebXML Core (ebCore) Technical Committee. The group plans to serve as the maintenance body for ebXML specifications that are completed or transitioned to the TC. It will manage clarifications, modifications, and enhancements for the specifications. The ebCore TC may also produce new conformance profiles and adjunct documents complementing existing specifications. It will explore synergies with UN/CEFACT, WS-* specifications and SOA best practices.Proposers include representatives of OASIS Sponsor members, Axway Software, Boeing, and Fujitsu, and Contributor members, British Telecommunications and Sonnenglanz Consulting. The comment period for the charter closes 25 Feb 2008.

Read the complete announcement from OASIS.