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Processes for BPEL

In this tip, Dave Chappell discusses what kinds of processes to use and avoid for BPEL.

What sorts of processes do you recommend using BPEL for? What processes should I maybe avoid until the standard becomes more mature?

BPEL today can be used for simple orchestration of Web Services. It is primarily useful to technologists, rather than C-level executives. Use for BPM-like activities involving human interaction, forms processing etc. should be avoided as it is unclear exactly where this is going at the moment (although this may change with BPEL4People).

The basic process flow model of BPEL describes how a service interacts with one or more "partner links". This is most effective if you have a centralized hub-and-spoke view of the world, but in a highly distributed WAN based deployments you should beware of any BPEL implementation that requires that a process flow make a trip back across the network in between every step in the process.

In addition BPEL assumes that all services must be web services. With a pure BPEL solution there is no inherent support for legacy systems and relational data stores, and no built in support for mediation components such as transformation.

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