What's unique about Web service orchestration that make it a new category?
Orchestration has to address diverse needs arising from the involvement of both technical and business users in building, deploying and managing process-centric applications.
There are three key requirements for orchestration: support for choreography standards (interoperability), visual communications for business users and orchestration logic for developers.
IBM and Microsoft have pooled their existing business process languages, WSFL and XLANG, respectively, to create BPEL4WS, a new joint specification, the Business Process Execution Language for Web services. BPEL4WS is a workflow language that describes the number of Web services that need to be executed, the order in which they are executed and the type of data they share. BPEL4WS works in tandem with WS-Coordination (which conducts the interactions among Web services that make up an end-to-end process) and with WS-Transaction (which monitors the process to ensure its transactional integrity).
Business users need to effectively communicate the process model to developers and participate in iterative refinements to it. Visual communications are needed to capture the model obtained during the discovery phase and document it in a consistent and modular fashion. During deployment, business users need up-to-date reporting on performance of business processes for monitoring and analysis of business operations.
Developers require flexibility for authoring the flow of collaborative business processes and long-running business transactions. Orchestration logic is comprised of non-linear interactions with asynchronous service components. These interactions often include dynamic branching, sophisticated join patterns, exception handling and events. A thriving developer community is crucial for orchestration, hence mandating an easy learning curve and leverage of commonly available developer skills.
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