Archive for the ‘BPEL’ Tag

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

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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.

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 …

Achieving Separation of Concerns Using BPEL

Say you buy a shrink-wrapped package with n features. If this software is integrated into a BPEL (Business Process Execution Language) framework, then it should theoretically be possible for you to swap out any of the n features and replace them with the web service (or downloaded) code of your choice. In this article, software developer Stephen Morris reviews the idea and merits of separating software features from business processes in the context of BPEL.  The vast majority of software producers focus exclusively on domain-specific solutions. In this way, software is becoming more customized and, correspondingly, less generic. While some end users (particularly large corporate customers) may be able to request features that closely fit their business processes, it’s likely that most of us end up with a poor fit between our deployed software and our business process needs. The end result is massive cross-vendor duplication of software development that tries to implement code as well as business process logic.

An interesting separation of concerns is becoming possible by the use of BPEL. BPEL allows for business process logic to be expressed in a specific language and to be tied into external software. This reduces (and potentially eliminates) the need to code business process logic in a traditional programming language (such as Java or C++/C). In turn, this provides a clear separation between software features and business processes. By taking the business process logic (e.g., workflow management) out of the application code, the latter becomes simpler and more focused.

In this article, I’ll review the idea and merits of separating software features from business processes in the context of BPEL. Along the way, we’ll see how this leads neatly to the need for highly generic software. The latter is (in my opinion) a pressing concern for all software developers.

Read the complete article by Stephen B. Morris.

Process Component Models: The Next Generation In Workflow ?

Tom Baeyens, founder of JBoss jBPM gives his view of the state of the BPM / workflow market and introduces a new type of workflow technology called process component models.

This article arguments that the gap between the analysis and the implementation of business processes is far bigger then the marketing of today’s workflow tools might suggest. Also it will propose a much more realistic way of dealing with this situation. The current standards and initiatives will be explained with enough depth so that you can see how they relate to the movements and why.

At the end, a new type of workflow technology is introduced called process component model. This type of framework can handle multiple process languages and it can support process languages that better support the transition from analysis process diagrams to executable processes.

This article is orgnised as follows:

– What is BPEL
     – Thoughts and comments on BPEL
     – BPEL extensions
– BPMN
     – What is BPMN
     – Analysis versus execution
     – Process development process
     – Modelling details
     – Mappings and mismatches
– Other BPM technologies
     – XPDL
     – BPDM
     – jPDL
– Choreography
– Process component models
– Implications of this new approach

Read full article …

ebMS 3.0 and support for SOA

OASIS, the international open standards consortium, announced October 16th that its members have approved ebXML Messaging Services (ebMS) version 3.0 as an OASIS Standard.

The V3.0 specification provides a raft of new features that enable extended B2B interchanges and support for SOA message transport layer services.

ebMS V3.0 is designed to be used either with or without any of the other ebXML standards.

V3.0 now includes capability to use WS-Security, WS-Reliability, and the WS-ReliableMessaging OASIS Standards with ebMS. It can also be used with business process technology including OASIS ebXML BPSS V2.0.4 and OASIS BPEL systems.

Several industry domains have declared their support for the new ebMS V3.0 including AIAG automotive group, Fujitsu and the HL7 healthcare standards community.

“This new version of ebMS will address a broader array of users including SMEs with limited connectivity and little IT management resources. The adoption of Web services standards for security and reliability will facilitate implementations over existing platforms. We believe ebMS 3.0 will become an effective and versatile B2B complement to enterprise systems and SOA deployments,” said Yasushi Ishida, Exective Architect of Software Unit, Fujitsu Limited.

For more information see http://www.oasis-open.org/news/oasis-news-2007-10-16.php