Still think you need BPEL?

Fourteen years ago, IBM and Microsoft announced plans to introduce a new language called Business Process Execution Langauge (BPEL) to much fanfare and controversy.  This post takes a retrospective look at BPEL, how things have progressed, and ponders the point of it all. Continue reading

Should we focus on the negative?

The WfMC and many other who help have been trying to highlight the positive examples of both BPM and ACM by collecting use cases, judging the best, and publishing in compendia.  It was Socrates who said there is value in a focus on the negative:  he would rather be refuted than to refute another because being rid oneself of evil of harboring false beliefs is better than ridding it in another.   Continue reading

Is the BPMN/BPEL Debate a Dead Horse?

Bruce Silver’s latest post “Reframing the BPMN vs BPEL Debate” calls to question whether it is worth continued discussion of the definition of BPM. Like most of Bruce’s posts, it is insightful and well worth reading. This is in response to a post by Boris Lublinsky on “BPEL: Who Needs It Anyway?

I am a little surprised by Bruce’s response,  Continue reading


Finally a well considered and detailed article on the limitations of the approach to BPEL.

There are a few vendors who promote BPEL as as the one-and-only-true-way to support BPM. In fact, it is good for some things, but fairly bad at a large number of other things. It is my experience that BPEL is promoted primarily by vendors who specialize in products we might rightly call “Enterprise Application Integration” (EAI). These companies have recently taking to calling their products “Business Process Management”. Potential users should be asking the question “Is BPEL appropriate for what I want to do.” Continue reading

WYDIWYE: The Answer to BPEL Transform Problems

I just want to highlight an excellent post by William Vambenepe on the subject of BPMN to BPEL: going to battle with one hand tied? He does a very simple experiment: draw a meaningful diagram in BPMN, in this case a fairly simple one involving an Inclusive-OR branch, and then attempt to convert this to BPEL. He does this conversion and presents the results is quite obviously a diagram that fails in fact to capture the exact meaning. He says he has no solution to this problem. Continue reading

Human Process: Email Voting

The BPMN specification includes a sample process to use as an example of how you would use BPMN to draw the process and how it would then be converted to BPEL. Bruce Silver has suggested that this be used as an example process to test interoperability between different process diagramming tools. One point in favor of this is that it is fairly well fleshed out and documented. Also, it is a real process that would be reasonable to use in real life.

As I set out to implement this process, it struck me how dramatically different the process would be drawn if you had an implementation engine that supported human activities directly. Continue reading

The Diagram IS the Meaning

Bruce Silver put together a summary of The Real Issues with XPDL, BPEL, and BPMN where he explained better than I could that the aspect of portability that is more valuable depends on what you’re trying to do. He correctly points out that “XPDL captures the diagram, while BPEL captures the process semantics.”

Bruce brings BPMN into the discussion as potentially the standard that is possibly the most important. There have been a number of discussions recently of the relation of these three standards, Continue reading