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Issue of December 2005 

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BPEL 2 gets delayed

Version 2.0 of the Web services business process execution language (BPEL) will have to again wait till next year. The Organisation for the Advancement of Structured Information Standards (OASIS) is yet to give the go-ahead to enable human interactions as a part of this technology.

BPEL was designed to co-ordinate between Web services considered critical for applications such as transactions and B2B systems. With increasing portal initiatives among enterprises, the technology has wide industry support from vendors like Microsoft, BEA and IBM. The preliminary BPEL 1.1 and 2.0 technologies have been incorporated by Oracle and WebSphere in Oracle BPEL Process Manager and IBM Websphere Process Server respectively. However, OASIS has to accept it as an official specification.

In addition to BPEL, OASIS coordinated the design of BPEL with that of BPELJ (Java) and the Web services remote protocol (WSRP). Due to the standardised Web services supported by Java, XML and other platforms, it has created scope for the introduction of third-generation portals.

The first versions of this new generation of portals were released in 2004, but by 2006-end we should see considerably more innovative inter-operability and BPM tools as OASIS protocols such as WSRP are expanded and extended.

BPEL has functions such as language constructs to enable if-then-else statements for the 2.0 version. According to IBM, dynamic, parallel invocation of services is also an important addition for adapting the number of steps in a process based on the number of partners participating in a transaction.

Experts are of the view that version 2 improves the way Web services are used to call out to partner links to enable more flexibility. However, issues such as merging and creating documents still need to be addressed.

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Indian Express - Business Publications Division

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