BPEL: Game Changing Technology

Loraine Lawson

Everybody has a "computers will never be able to do that" scenario. Mine used to be the speakwrite in George Orwell's 1984 -- until voice recognition software came along.


Today, there are lots of people who don't believe an ordinary business manager will ever just draw some boxes and lines on a touch-sensitive pad and create an application. I think they're wrong.


What brought this topic to mind was the mention of business process execution language (BPEL) in a recent story on Delta Airlines' use of SOA technology to revamp many of its core processes.


One of the things that's good about BPEL is that it's a standardized option for representing business processes. More important for many will be the companies behind it, which include Microsoft, IBM and BEA. BPEL's key drawback has been its inability to handle human intervention, but a new version called BPEL4people is in the works that may resolve this issue.


If you're not familiar with BPEL, we can recommend an excellent article in JavaWorld that explains how it's related to SOA and includes actual BPEL diagrams. There's even a little code, but don't let that scare you away. Pretty soon, all you'll need is boxes and lines anyway.

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