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Web Services Business Process Execution Language, WSBPEL, is an XML-based process/workflow-definition execution language. WSBPEL defines a model and a grammar for describing the behavior of a business process based on interactions between the process and its partners. The interaction with each partner occurs through Web services interfaces. WSBPEL also 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. WSBPEL, previously called Business Process Execution Language for Web Services (BPEL4WS), is often simply referred to as BPEL.
Business processes defined in WSBPEL can be modeled and re-engineered using numerous BPEL modeling tools to generate a BPEL file, which can then be deployed and executed in a runtime environment known as a native BPEL engine.
WSBPEL evolved from the convergence of ideas and concepts such as Microsoft's XLang and IBM's WSFL (Web Services Flow Language). WSBPEL is now a part of the Organization for the Advancement of Structured Information Standards (OASIS) and has industry support from many vendors such as BEA Systems, Oracle, and IBM. The WSPEL specification mainly addresses service orchestration, where business processes are created using the services of the trading partners or stakeholders in the process.
The current version of WSBPEL is 1.1; the 2.0 version, a committee draft dated September 1, 2005, is being defined by the OASIS WSBPEL Technical Committee. WSBPEL is backed by major IT players and software vendors such as Adobe Systems, Hewlett-Packard, IBM, Microsoft, Tibco Software, Sun Microsystems, and SAP, to name a few, and has also been adopted by the industry as the popular language for defining Web services-based business processes. Currently, numerous design-time and runtime products, such as WSBPEL-compliant modeling tools, editors, and process engines, are available from major software vendors.
WSBPEL extends support to existing Web services standards to achieve universal interoperability between applications. As we know, Web services are built on a loosely-coupled integration model to allow the flexible integration of heterogeneous systems in a variety of domains including business-to-consumer, business-to-business, and enterprise application integration.
WSBPEL leverages several XML-based specifications pertaining to the Web services world such as:
WSDL messages and XML Schema type definitions provide the data model used by WSBPEL processes. XML Schema 1.0 is also used as the interface for validating all the process definitions generated using any of the available BPEL modeling tools and editors. WSBPEL's dependency on WS-Addressing avoids the invention of a private WSBPEL mechanism for Web services endpoint references—such references are obviously a general requirement in Web services usage. WSBPEL 1.1 provides extensibility to XPath 1.0, which supports data manipulation and can also accommodate future versions of these standards, specifically with regards to XPath and the related standards used in XML computation.
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