Wednesday Mar 14, 2007

How to learn WS-BPEL 2.0?

Nearly four years ago I joined the WS-BPEL 2.0 technical committee, and from nearly the first day people have been asking me, "how do I learn BPEL?" At long last I have a good answer -- the NetBeans 5.5 enterprise pack (EP). The EP includes an integrated version of Open ESB, including its WS-BPEL 2.0 service engine.

The EP includes an intuitive interactive graphical process diagram editor. If you really like the XML language the TC crafted, there is two-way editing (between the graphic and text views of the process). This makes writing process definitions easier, since it handles a lot of the "boilerplate" XML, and makes it much harder to make a mistake. This can make learning the language syntax less painful, and shorten the learning curve. (The EP includes WSDL and XML Schema editors with similar capabilities, making these related document types easier to learn and create.)

Syntax isn't the whole story, though. What about the run-time dynamics of WS-BPEL? How can you learn them? How can you gain insight into the internal workings of the language? The best way I've seen to date is to use the EP's BPEL debugger. This allows you to do all the things you'd expect: stopping process instances, inspecting variables, setting breakpoints, etc. This lets you see what is happening "under the hood" of the BPEL service engine, answering the common question "why did it do that?" in a way that is very instructive.

If you are curious about WS-BPEL 2.0, check out the Enterprise Pack, and take the BPEL debugger for a test drive.

FYI, the WS-BPEL 2.0 service engine itself comes from Open ESB 2.0.

Monday Feb 05, 2007

WS-BPEL 2.0 (almost) out of the oven

After over 3-1/2 years, the WS-BPEL technical committee (TC) at OASIS finally hit a milestone we have all been awaiting for a very long time: the TC has submitted WS-BPEL 2.0 to OASIS for approval as an OASIS specification.

We will soon see some official announcements, webinars, etc., to properly introduce the completed specification. I'll just say that the new, soon-to-be standard is a huge improvement over the previous non-standard specification, BPEL4WS 1.1. Not only is the language more clearly and rigorously defined, but it also far more consistent, powerful, portable, and, in general, more useful. It has certainly been worth the wait!

During this 3-1/2 year journey, I've come to better know and admire the TC members. I am also impressed with the willingness of the participating corporations to contribute time and talent (not to mention intellectual property) to the cause of creating a truly open web service-based business process language. I feel honored to work with such people, and know that we "done good."

For me this hasn't been a mere intellectual exercise. Sun has "skin in the game", as a colleague of mine is fond of saying. WS-BPEL is supported in Open ESB, the Java EE 5 SDK (which includes a subset of Open ESB), and in the NetBeans 5.5 Enterprise Pack. I still am impressed with the Enterprise Pack; the interactive WS-BPEL debugger is, to me, still a Cool Thing. So take WS-BPEL 2.0 out for a spin; it is The Way to add stateful processes to your web services.

About

rtenhove

Search

Archives
« April 2014
SunMonTueWedThuFriSat
  
1
2
3
4
5
6
7
8
9
10
11
12
13
14
15
16
17
18
19
20
21
22
23
24
25
26
27
28
29
30
   
       
Today