BPEL tutorial

This SearchSOA.com tutorial has the latest information on Business Process Execution Language (BPEL). Find enterprise application definitions, tips on Workflow managment, and first-hand stories from successful BPEL application integration.

Business Process Execution Language (BPEL) is part of a long history of defining Web services-based business processes.

This tutorial from SearchSOA.com dives deep into the features of BPEL and how it fits with related standards such as REST, WSDL, and BPMN. In this BPEL tutorial you will find articles, tips, expert advice, white papers and more that explain how BPEL fits into the world of Web services.

Contents
Introduction
What is BPEL?
BPEL tips and expert advice
How is BPEL used?
BPEL products

 Introduction
Business Process Execution Language (BPEL), short for Web Services Business Process Execution Language (WS-BPEL), is an executable dialect of XML that allows for the modeling of interactions between Web services on the cloud. Such modeling is valuable for successful business process management (BPM) and service-oriented architecture (SOA) implementation. BPEL was standardized by OASIS in 2004, after collaborative efforts to create the language by Microsoft, IBM, and other companies.

In order to streamline the BPM modeling process, BPEL uses easy-to-understand commands that perform complex functions. Because BPEL is human-readable it allows for collaboration between business people and developers.

One of BPEL's primary uses is to model Web service interactions on a distributed system. BPEL allows for complex orchestrations of multiple service applications through a single controller service. When described in a corresponding WSDL contract, that process can be seen as a service in and of itself. If you want to describe a BPEL process in WSDL, there are important considerations and steps to take.

Before it's written in WSDL, though, a BPEL process must work properly. Because many BPEL processes use multiple applications, many of which are often written in different languages and located on distributed systems, proper end-to-end testing is paramount. Several new SOA governance products and product updates recently came out that address that challenge with BPEL in mind, including 3 new editions of Sparx's Enterprise Architect 7.5.

BPEL is often associated with Business Process Management Notation (BPMN), which also seeks to streamline the BPM modeling process. Unlike BPEL, BPMN is not executable and so is mostly used for planning and design. BPMN, though, has a visual component that makes it easier to understand for business people not familiar with programming. Many companies have developed their own visual notation for BPEL to further simplify the language.

BPEL and BPMN have grown in popularity together over the last few years as each seeks to simplify business process management and encourage collaboration between business people and developers. But translating from one to the other remains a challenge. The co-evolution of BPEL and BPMN continues to drive BPM and SOA settings.

Alternatively, you may choose to not use BPEL at all. Some have accused BPEL of being "overly complex," and seek a different approach to business process integration. Thrift, an open-source project formally under the guidance of Facebook and now housed with Apache, eases cross-language services development in a dozen supported languages.
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 What is BPEL?
BPEL defintion
BPEL (Business Process Execution Language) for Web services is an XML-based language designed to enable task-sharing for a distributed computing or grid computing environment.

BPEL best practices
Find BPEL basics, best practices and tutorials for software architecture developers and IT management working on service-oriented architecture and Web services projects. This topics page is filled with the latest articles, tips, expert advice, and tutorials on SearchSOA.com.

WS-Coordination
WS-Coordination (Web Services Coordination) is an IT industry standard for how individual Web services can interact in order to accomplish an application task. WS-Coordination can be used with BPEL to help coordinate a transaction.

WS-Transaction
The WS-Transaction (Web services Transaction) interface defines what constitutes a transaction and what will determine when it has completed successfully. WS-Transaction can be used with BPEL to help contextualize a transaction.
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  BPEL tips and expert advice
BPMN: The less collaboration, the better?
BPMN 2.0 came about to bridge the divide between business and development architects—but what is the key to effective cross-team architecture? Active Endpoints CTO Michael Rowley claims that constant collaboration between business and IT has its costs. Read his expert advice in this SOA Talk blog post about BPM, BPMN, SOA and BPEL.

BPMN with BPEL, an ongoing debate
Bruce Silver has made some strong points on why Business Process Execution Language (BPEL) does not make modeling with Business Process Modeling Notation (BPMN) simpler. Active Endpoints CTO Michael Rowley, though, claims that BPMN2.0 with BPEL is simpler than the new BPMN execution language. Read the two sides of the debate.

Service contracts for BPEL 2.0
The BPEL orchestration standard allows for contract-first Web services design inside an SOA. This tip identifies best practices for using BPEL and WSDL for service contracts.

Co-evolution of BPMN and BPEL drives BPM in SOA settings
The SOA industry often likes to pit standards against each other in "standards wars." Learn why BPMN vs BPEL seems to be a case where co-evolution and collaboration might be the rule.

MiniGuide: End-to-end testing for SOA and enterprise transactions
Now, increasingly, it is held that the best way now to understand the behavior of a complex distributed system is by ''following the transaction.'' This mini-guide provides articles with tips and advice for end-to-end testing of transactions, and how BPEL can help.

BPEL vs. workflow foundation
Sri Nagabhirava discusses the differences between BPEL and workflow foundation and which is best at building a composite Web service.
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 How is BPEL used?
Where does BPEL fit in?
BPEL is part of a long history of defining Web services-based business processes. In this tip, discover the features of BPEL and how it fits with related standards such as REST, WSDL, and BPMN. Also, examine some of the trends which provide the background for languages like BPEL, such as coordinating complex systems and diagramming processes.

With MDM, BPM and BPEL, business users may become data stewards
Just as order entry has largely become the province of the end user, front-line business people may someday take on a greater role as data stewards. With widely deployed MDM, this may happen, and it may be monitored by BPM-oriented Business Process Execution Language-authored (BPEL-authored) business rules.

Online real estate SOA moves into BPEL
Read how Move Inc., an online real estate services provider, uses BPEL in the integration of legacy systems and new CRM and ERP products as the first step in an incremental "pragmatic SOA" implementation.

Verizon uses BPEL app to cut down on code, check for fraud, and go green
Verizon Wireless employed Oracle BPEL Manager with a rules engine to study call patterns. Learn how that led to a reduction in lines of Java code for an app that provides fraud detection teams with better information for decision making. It also used less hardware, reducing IT energy consumption.

SOA, BPEL working on the railroad
Commuter trains in the San Francisco, California area will soon be issuing tickets from a new SOA-based ticketing system, which combines BPEL, wireless handheld devices and a legacy data center.

Thrift: A pragmatic approach to service integration
Establishing communication between disparate technology platforms is one of the holy grails in enterprise computing. Thrift seeks to ease cross-language services development in an effort to alleviate that problem, perhaps as an alternative to BPEL.
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 BPEL products
Sparx Systems upgrades Enterprise Architect 7.5
Sparx Systems recently announced the release of three new editions and an upgrade of its Unified Modeling Language (UML) based modeling and design tool, Enterprise Architect 7.5, which includes new tools for BPEL users.

WSO2 launches Carbon modular SOA framework with OSGi flavor
Open-source specialist WSO2 has recast its core software offerings as the "Carbon," which uses OSGi to achieve a more modular service-oriented architecture (SOA) framework.

BPEL4People and WS-HumanTask get reference implementation
Although BPEL4People and WS-HT aren't fully ratified standards, Active EndPoints Inc., one of the leaders of the standards effort, is incorporating them into its new tools for BPM and SOA design and development.
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This was first published in December 2009

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