WS-BPEL standard aims to boost web services

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WS-BPEL standard aims to boost web services

The Web Services Business Process Execution Language (WS-BPEL) version 2.0 was today ratified as an Standard.

WS-BPEL is engineered to use web services standards to describe business process activities as services, defining how they can be composed to accomplish specific tasks.

"The concept of BPEL that began in the earliest days of Web services has become a cornerstone, not only for bringing more finely grained business processes closer to the business department, but also for ensuring that common ways can be constructed among technology providers designing frameworks for future service oriented business processes," said Charles Abrams, research director at Gartner.

"The approval of WS-BPEL as an OASIS Standard should be noted as a milestone in the fulfilment of the open web services vision."

According to OASIS, WS-BPEL defines a model and a grammar for describing the behaviour of a business process based on interactions between the process and its partners. The interaction with each partner occurs through web services interfaces.

The WS-BPEL process defines how multiple service interactions with these partners are coordinated to achieve a business goal, as well as the state and the logic necessary for this coordination.

"Think of a WS-BPEL process as a reusable definition that can be deployed in different ways and in different scenarios, while maintaining a uniform application-level behaviour across all of them," said Diane Jordan of IBM, co-chair of the OASIS WSBPEL Technical Committee.

"WS-BPEL introduces systematic mechanisms for dealing with business exceptions. This is essential because not all transactions are straightforward and simple. WS-BPEL lets you define how you want activities to be compensated in cases where exceptions occur or a partner requests reversal."

He explained that WS-BPEL separates the public aspects of business process behaviour from internal or private aspects-and supports both. The standard can be used both for executable processes, which describe the actual behaviour of participants in business interactions, and for abstract processes, that may be used to represent publicly observable behaviours. Abstract processes serve a descriptive role and allow for more than one possible use case.

"By providing a language for specifying both executable and abstract business processes, BPEL extends the web services interaction model to help better support business-to-business transactions," added John Evdemon of Microsoft, co-chair of the OASIS WSBPEL Technical Committee.

"This protects business partners from the need to reveal all their internal decision making and data management to one another. Separating public from private processes also provides companies with the freedom to change confidential aspects of the process implementation without affecting the observable behaviour."
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