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BPMN in Eclipse SOA Tools Platform

by Stefan Tilkov on Nov 29, 2006 |
With the donation of Intalio's BPMN modeling editor by Intalio, the Eclipse SOA Tools Platform now has a visual editor for creating process diagrams. It seems quite likely that BPMN (Business Process Modeling Notation), which is gaining more and more traction as a standard notation for business process modeling, is destined to become the standard notation for processes in the SOA world.

In a position paper submitted to the Eclipse Modeling Symposium, the role of BPMN vs. EPCs and UML 2.x activities is summarized as follows:
Since the merge between OMG and BPMI.org, BPMN [BPMN] – Business Process Modeling Notation – is recognized as the de-facto standard notation for representing processes. Until now, there has been no standard notation for designing business processes. Event Process Chains (EPC) is a great notation, but it is a propriatery one that is not only supported by IDS Scheer ARIS. UML Activity Diagrams [UML] are nice, but business analysts somehow cannot use them. Flowcharts are what they’d rather go for, but these tend to be limited to the modeling of single processes, which does not accommodate the requirements of a Service Oriented Architecture (SOA). Something better was needed, and this is why BPMI.org developed BPMN a couple of years ago.
In BPM expert Bruce Silver's opinion, the availability of a BPMN modeler for Eclipse is significant because of its potential to link process modeling and execution via generation of BPEL:
Let’s face it, most business analysts have probably never heard of Eclipse, much less the Eclipse Foundation.  But conversely, most developers have not yet made the connection that with BPMN, the model can actually generate the BPEL code.  That code generation is not in the open source tool - it’s just a diagramming tool at this point - but the idea of business-driven process implementation will definitely be advanced here.

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