BPEL in action by Edwin Khodabakchian

Edwin Khodabakchian

Edwin is the founder and former CEO of Collaxa, a pure-play BPM startup whose BPM orchestration product has supported BPEL for more than a year. Collaxa was acquired by Oracle in June 2004, and its BPEL Server product is now marketed as Oracle BPEL Process Manager. Edwin is now Vice President of software development with Oracle

No application is an island

Edwin started his talk with good to remind common sense facts: No application is an island They all interact with other systems.

Java + jms + jca + eai + web services = "not enough",

You need orchestration, you need Service Oriented Architectures (SOAs), there to help increase enterprise flexibility and asset reuse. They enable the orchestration of services into end-to-end business processes. But many traditional Business Process Management (BPM) tools are proprietary. That’s where the emerging specification called Business Process Execution Language (BPEL) comes in.

BPEL is to flow what SQL is to persistence

BPEL is indeed there to bind/integrate services, coordinate process flow (through a very user friendly interface, in Oracle BPEL designer) , and expose the resulting end-to-end process flow as a web service.

Oasis states WS-BPEL is there for Enabling users to describe business process activities as Web services and define how they can be connected to accomplish specific tasks

cf. http://otn.oracle.com/bpel Oracle BPEL contains over 100 samples, Edwin showed us a few among those.

Another demo Edwin and his colleague gave us was quite interesting, they used Oracle JDeveloper to build and orchestrate a simple file system monitoring and file extracting engine [application built in a few clicks]


Among Web Services Standards, Edwin really insisted on inviting us to look at apache wsif framework:

The Web Services Invocation Framework (WSIF) is a simple Java API for invoking Web services, no matter how or where the services are provided. WSIF enables developers to interact with abstract representations of Web services through their WSDL descriptions instead of working directly with the Simple Object Access Protocol (SOAP) APIs, which is the usual programming model. With WSIF, developers can work with the same programming model regardless of how the Web service is implemented and accessed.

BPEL Process manager provides a extensible binding framework based on wsif and JSR 208: JavaTM Business Integration (JBI): it help you defining custom wsdl bindings, and implementing wsif providers.

BAM: Business Activity Monitoring:

BAM is implemented into Oracle BPEL servers with sensors, sensors added in way close to AOP. We can then query the system to know what route of the business flow is taken more than the others. The results can be viewed on a portal dashboard


Oracle is currently working on a compact xml binary format who should prevent us from using blog, this will allow use to save xml/dom binary instead, and still be able to used xquery. Edwin told us that Oracle and a few vendors already have quite a good optimization on xml as on proprietary binary format.

BPEL was initially proposed by MS and IBM.

Oracle BPEL designer UI reminded me of a internship I did in 1996 in the industry, I was programming automates with GRAFCET (Sequential Functional Chart).[ http://www.lurpa.ens-cachan.fr/grafcet.html].