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Subject: Re: [wsbpel] BPELJ

Brand, Olivier, VF-GP&S Düsseldorf wrote:

I have reviewed the BPELJ whitepaper and I have several concerns / questions regarding this. I am concern on the approach which is "breaking" the portability of BPEL. This reminds me of some Java extensions that can be included in some XSLT (a vendor centric approach). 
I believe there are two possible answers to this concern:
  • Portability is not as restricted as the XSLT example you cite, for Java is also portable. One could reasonably expect quite a number of BPEL engines that would support BPELJ, assuming that JSR 207 standardizes it, thus avoiding vendor lock-in games.
  • The BPELJ partner links could be changed to conventional service types. This could be done without affecting the process, so there exists at least a subset of BPELJ that could be regarded as portable, regardless of the engine's support of Java.
Why don't we take the approach that IBM is following within their BPEL implementation: make use of the WSDL binding extensions to include other type of technology? I am talking here about WSIF. It seems to be a good approach. The BPEL compiler will be the one optimizing access to the objects.
I have spend a lot of time making similar points with my colleagues. I have consistently run into the objection that packaging very fine-grained data manipulation operations as Web services is a) an unnatural act for a programmer, and b) incredibly inefficient. I have found some could ways to counter the latter point (to some degree), but not the former. Does anyone have some insight into the former line of argument?
The other point I wanted to raise is on the use of transactions. How would you (if you would) propagate a transaction from a Java component to a Web Service endpoint? I think that this raises the issue of not having a Web Service Transactional framework in place in the current BPEL spec. Why not advocating the use of WS-CAF which is the only standard in this space for managing transactions and context propagation? (Initiatives from IBM and Microsoft are not in any standardization bodies. Am I wrong?)
Transactions are also of great concern to me. WS-CAF would appear to be the only standard in town worth considering in the WS space. I would encourage the authors of proprietary alternatives to elements of WS-CAF to either submit them to a standards setting organization ASAP, or throw their weight behind the WS-CAF standard. We need to have a clear set of standards to achieve interoperability between web services with appropriates qualities of service to make them practical. (That's my personal opinion; I'm just an engineer who wants to create something of value at the end of the day.)

Perhaps the F2F next week will foster greater understanding of transactions, and the standards space surrounding them. Choreology has made some interestig proposals in the past, and I am not convinced that we have properly digested them yet. Perhaps the focus that a F2F meeting brings will help in this regard.


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