BPEL4WS is an executable business process modelling language for expressing the logic of a composite Web service. BPEL4WS is specifically tailored for the loosely-coupled paradigm of Web services and is equipped with the ability to express comprehensive workflow patterns as well as communication patterns (e.g. request/reply, asynchronous). As such, BPEL is able to carry out complex workflow management tasks as well as handle enterprise integration tasks in various forms.
Web services composition and workflow management are related in the sense that both are concerned with executable processes. The advantages of BPEL4WS are that it is designed to fit within the Web services stack and hence ensures interoperability across implementations. A BPEL process is published using WSDL and is readily available for further consumption and interaction with other BPEL processes. BPEL4WS also provides for portability of the flow logic it expresses.
This was first published in July 2003