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InfoQ Homepage News Article: Why BPEL is not the Holy Grail for BPM

Article: Why BPEL is not the Holy Grail for BPM

BPEL (Business Process Execution Language - short for WS-BPEL) was originally conceived to facilitate the orchestration of the various web services interactions (i.e. the SOAPful variety) required to complete a business process. BPEL recently came into the spotlight again, after a post by Ismael Ghalimi (of Intalio) explaining "Why BPEL matters":

Whether you like it or not, BPEL won the war of standards. While we (Intalio) lost a battle when BPML was supplanted by BPEL (because we had failed to secure IBM’s support for it), the war was eventually won when BPEL 2.0 was released (with Intalio’s support), and all major vendors adopted it against XPDL, including Microsoft, Oracle, and SAP. Some legacy workflow vendors might find delight in trying to re-play lost battles of the past (like some nostalgic French patriot dreaming of what could have been had Bonaparte’s army won the Battle of Waterloo ? I know, I’m French), it’s time to move on. Really.

This article sparked a major discussion in the BPM community about the technical merits of BPEL. Arthur ter Hofstede, a respected voice in BPM academia, responded strongly to the claims that BPEL leverages the Pi-Calculus mathematical model, pointing out:

It is not sufficient to just say that a certain language is based on a certain theory and that therefore this language derives some wonderful properties from this theory. This needs to be actually demonstrated in a reproducible (and hence publicly available) way. Till then such claims should not be made.

In this new article, Pierre Vignéras, a member of the Bonita team at Bull R&D, adds more fuel to the flame; exploring issues facing practioneers trying to use BPEL to model a simple parrellel process modelled with BPMN (Business Process Modelling Notation).

Read the article: Why BPEL is not the holy grail of BPM.





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