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Integrating application functionality into a process with BPEL

How can BPEL integrate existing application functionality, such as SAP or legacy CICS, that's not exposed as Web services into a process?
BPEL processes entail logic that coordinates interactions with IT resources exposed as Web services. In reality, most enterprises today don't have their existing IT assets available as Web services. A canonical representation of a Web service includes exposing a standard interface in the form of a WSDL file and making the service available through a SOAP communication protocol. Accessing existing functionality over SOAP, in many cases, may not be practically feasible or even desired. However, it is usually not too difficult to describe the interface to existing functionality in the form of WSDL.

Integrating existing functionality into BPEL processes can be achieved by using the popular WSIF (Web Services Invocation Framework). WSIF uses WSDL as a normalized description of disparate software, shielding developers from differences in Web service implementations and access methods. WSIF leverages WSDL's capability to offer multiple bindings for a given Web service. A BPEL orchestration server deploying BPEL processes can use WSIF to enable transparent access to a variety of existing applications, given they are described using WSDL and that WSIF providers are available to support the specific protocols to access these resources.

For example, a BPEL process can access SAP BAPIs through a WSIF provider that supports JCA, where the latter includes a SAP adapter. In this example, the combination of BPEL and JCA, enables companies to integrate their existing resources into business processes utilizing 100% standards-based solution.

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