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Subject: RE: [wsbpel] Issue 6 - Rough draft of proposal for vote


"Did not complete" means that the activity did not complete successfully and there was no fault handler that could handle the fault without rethrowing it.


In case of scopes, we have the following outcomes:

(1)   Scope completes successfully

(2)   A fault has been thrown within the scope and there is a fault handler local to that scope which can handle the fault without rethrowing it; in this case the process will continue with normal processing in the enclosing scope

(3)   A fault has been thrown within the scope and no fault handler can perform clean up - so the fault may be rethrown or different one may be thrown; in this case the process will terminate processing in the enclosing scope


I hope this explanation helps.




-----Original Message-----
From: Vinkesh.Mehta@commerceone.com [mailto:Vinkesh.Mehta@commerceone.com]
Sent: Montag, 13. September 2004 02:13
To: Trickovic, Ivana; alex.yiu@oracle.com; amarten@us.ibm.com
Cc: LEY1@de.ibm.com; ROL@de.ibm.com; dieterkoenig@de.ibm.com; edwink@collaxa.com; satisht@microsoft.com; wsbpel@lists.oasis-open.org
Subject: RE: [wsbpel] Issue 6 - Rough draft of proposal for vote

Hello Ivana,
Could you please clarify the following paragraph:
"Not all activities must complete in order the enclosing flow activity to complete. The way to identify that an enclosed activity did not complete is to propagate faults. We may distinguish between severe faults and those that can be ignored. Severe faults cause the enclosing flow activity (or more precisely, enclosing scope) to terminate the flow activity, including all active concurrent activities, and corresponding fault handler may be initiated. Other faults may be ignored - the flow activity is "informed" that a concurrent activity did not complete but still allows other active concurrent activities to continue with execution."
In this paragraph when you say "did not complete",  do you mean "did not complete successfully". I am assuming the faults will be generated ONLY by activities that are actually completed and not by activities still in RUNNING state?
As I understand a BPEL process engine would only evaluate the <completeCondition> for a process instance everytime an activity within in the <flow> completes (SUCCESSFULLY or with a FAULT).
-----Original Message-----
From: Trickovic, Ivana [mailto:ivana.trickovic@sap.com]
Sent: Saturday, September 11, 2004 5:10 PM
To: Alex Yiu; Axel Martens
Cc: Frank Leymann; Dieter Roller; Dieter Koenig1; 'edwink@collaxa.com'; 'satisht@microsoft.com'; 'wsbpel@lists.oasis-open.org'
Subject: RE: [wsbpel] Issue 6 - Rough draft of proposal for vote


Here is a proposal for the completion condition - it addresses some issues not tackled so far (at least not in case of <completeCondition>). It is a version of the proposal for completion condition for the bundle element. This proposal includes comments from many people including Frank Leymann, Dieter Koenig, Dieter Roller and Satish Thatte. It does not mean that they completely support the proposal - they may have issues with any part of the proposal.



Completion condition


The current semantics of the flow activity is that it waits for all concurrent activities to complete. The completion also means that an enclosed activity/scope may end abnormally or be skipped (e.g. the join condition of the activity evaluated to false). If a fault is thrown within an enclosed activity/scope and one of the local fault handlers catch the fault (and does not rethrow the fault), the enclosed activity/scope will be deemed to be completed (although ended abnormally). If a fault is not caught by any local fault handler (or is rethrown) the flow activity will terminate all active concurrent activities and corresponding fault handler may be initiated.


A completion condition for the flow activity is needed for scenarios where not all concurrent activities of a flow activity must complete in order the flow activity to complete. Note: We are not talking about "successful completion" of enclosed concurrent activities because that would not be consistent with the semantics of the current flow activity.


The completion condition may have different flavors, such as:

(1) N out of M

(2) The two most important requests completed

(3) A Boolean condition operating upon process variables


Not all activities must complete in order the enclosing flow activity to complete. The way to identify that an enclosed activity did not complete is to propagate faults. We may distinguish between severe faults and those that can be ignored. Severe faults cause the enclosing flow activity (or more precisely, enclosing scope) to terminate the flow activity, including all active concurrent activities, and corresponding fault handler may be initiated. Other faults may be ignored - the flow activity is "informed" that a concurrent activity did not complete but still allows other active concurrent activities to continue with execution.


Ignore semantics


Faults thrown within enclosed concurrent activities/scopes and not handled by local fault handlers are rethrown. Enclosing <flow> element decides which of these rethrown faults can be ignored. This new "ignore" semantics should be part of the completion condition and should apply to all enclosed activities. This new semantics does not introduce a new fault handling mechanism. It is needed for identifying how many of the enclosed activities failed.



Proposed syntax


<flow standard-attributes>




      <link name="ncname">+






   <conditions branch="xsd:integer"?



      <fault name="qname"? value="ncname"?/>*





Attribute branch is used to specify a condition of flavor "wait for N out of M activities to complete", or more precisely value N. Attribute expression is used to specify a Boolean condition operating upon process variables or a condition of flavor "the two most important requests completed".


Both conditions (branch and expression) may be specified at the same time. They will be checked when one instance of the scope activity reaches the end. If at least one condition evaluates to true all active instances will be terminated.


Element <ignoreFaults> specifies faults that may be ignored. Element fault is used to specify a fault which may be ignored (fault name and fault data may be specified). Element <ignoreAll> would mean that all faults thrown/rethrown by any concurrent activity/scope may be ignored. If this element is specified <fault> element must be omitted.


Completion condition failure


A new standard fault, e.g. completionConditionFailure, should be introduced to notify that the completion condition of a flow activity evaluated to false (note: all concurrent activities have been completed). The fault is thrown in the scope enclosing the flow element.


Completion condition and links


There should be no difference between a flow activity with a completion condition and a flow activity without completion condition. For example, if the completion condition fails all links leaving the flow activity should have value "false" (or be reverted to a negative status).


There are just a few additional rules:

(1) Let's assume enclosed activity A is the source of a link. If the completion condition evaluates to true and activity A is not completed it will be terminated and the value of the link will be set to "false".

(2) Let's assume enclosed activity A is the source of a link and the activity failed but the fault is "ignored" by the enclosing flow activity. The value of the link will be set to "false".


New function for completion condition of flavor "the two most important requests completed"


For completion conditions of flavor "the two most important requests completed" standard attribute "name" must be specified for all enclosing activities in order to be able to distinguish them. In addition a new function, e.g. isCompleted('activityName') must be introduced. The semantics of the function is: if activity completed successfully the function returns value true.



    <completionCondition expression=

           "isCompleted('A') AND isCompleted('B')"         








-----Original Message-----
From: Alex Yiu [mailto:alex.yiu@oracle.com]
Sent: Samstag, 11. September 2004 00:49
To: Axel Martens
Cc: 'edwink@collaxa.com'; Trickovic, Ivana; 'satisht@microsoft.com'; 'wsbpel@lists.oasis-open.org'; Alex Yiu
Subject: Re: [wsbpel] Issue 6 - Rough draft of proposal for vote

Hi, Axel,

Thanks for liking parts of my proposal so far.
Actually, the idea of my proposal is borrowed from a part of presentation from Ivana and Dieter Roller in March F2F. I just generalize it to apply to <flow> also.

About using links or not:
I don't have a huge opposition to Axel's proposal which enriches the semantics of joinCondition evaluation. However, it is not that difficult for people to make mistakes in joinCondition. Look at the 2-out-of-3 example. The join condition already gets so complicated. If people make a mistake in their joinCondition, the whole flow can get struck for no good reasons. (The completeCondition approach will less likely to have the whole flow struck. Because, it does not introduce a new parallel activity in the flow). But, if this is what Petri-net-oriented and control-link-oriented audience really want, I can accept it in a sense, as long as this is not the only way to achieve similar business logic.

About static vs dynamic parallelism:
Static parallelism is basically <flow> construct in BPEL. Dynamic parallelism is "parallel forEach" or "bundle". Issue 4 and 147 are related issues.

About "Terminating still running tasks versus proceeding in control flow while those tasks are
still running":

I am not 100% that I understand your question. Let me try to answer it anyway. The completeCondition is about triggering termination of still-running tasks. The "proceeding in control flow" (if I understand you correctly) will be handled by an outter flow. [I guess it is related to (hotel and (train or plane)) flow??]

About changes of "forcedTermination" fault handler:
If you got a chance to see some recent emails on Issue 135, Satish has recently suggested to remove the notion "forcedTermination" fault and replace its fault handler with cancelHandler. Frank, Yaron, Edwin and I all agree with this direction. Because, overloading fault with the concept of "forcedTermination" is a "false economy" and it creates quite a bit of unnecessary confusion.

I don't think we should go back to this route or even further overload the "forcedTermination" fault handler semantics. Because, fault handling is way too generic and the changes you mentioned will create even more confusion. (e.g. Will this change of marking as "completed" apply to all "forcedTermination" fault handler / cancel handler of all scopes? )

I guess most of us agree that we should have a new mechanism to kill / do an early completion of a flow in a nice and clean way. However, overloading a standard fault handler does not seem to be the best one. I would rather introduce a construct which is very specific to <flow> or parallel-forEach. For example, this <completeCondition> construct or maybe a new activity called <completeFlow />.  I will send out more emails on joint thinking of both Issue 6 and Issue 135.  Please stay tuned.


Alex Yiu

Axel Martens wrote:


I like the simplicity of the syntax of Alex's proposal. Although,
for me it is quite easy to model in terms of links and join
conditions, and I want to keep my proposal alive (because of the
minimal changes to BPEL's syntax and semantics), it looks like a
nice macro to provide more convenience to the customers.

Alex, could you shortly explain to me, what do you mean by static
and dynamic parallelism? How do you handle the two different cases
after evaluating the completeCondition: Terminating still running
tasks versus proceeding in control flow while those tasks are
still running (Sorry, I missed your previous emails)?

I agree to Alex's opinion, that we need a mechanism to kill
parallel flow nice and clean. This could be done either by a new
mechanism which does not throw a fault or by changing the way
fault are handled. I have discussed already an example of the
second case with Ivana, and I like to tell you, what I have in
mind. Look at the following example:

<scope name="scopeFlow">
    <link name="linkA"/>
    <link name="linkB"/>

    <scope name="scopeA">
      <invoke name="A" ...>
        <source linkName="linkA" ...>

    <scope name="scopeB">
      <invoke name="B" ...>
        <source linkName="linkB" ...>

    <throw name="C" faultName="bpws:forcedCompletion"
           joinCondition="linkA OR linkB" joinEvaluation="immediate">
        <target linkName="linkA" ...>
        <target linkName="linkB" ...>


First, I explain the situation: In the example above, activity C
will be executed if one of the two activities A and B was
successfully completed. Activity C throws the fault
"forcedCompletion". Like each other fault, this forces the scope
"scopeFlow" to terminate still running activities. Assume, there
was a fault handler defined in this scope which catches the fault
"forcedCompletion" (omitted in here), the process continues after
scope "scopeFlow". A problem arises, if scope "scopeFlow" should
be compensated. Because it was exited from a fault handler, no
compensation handler was installed.

Now, I explain my solution: In the example, I have chosen a new
"standard" fault name: "forcedCompletion". The only necessary
change is to allow a fault handler that catches this fault to
install a compensation handler for the same scope, i.e. to mark
the scope "scopeFlow" as "completed" instead of "exited".

The standard compensation mechanism will only undo those
("scoped") activities within the scope, which actually have been
successfully completed, i.e. scopeA or scopeB or may be both.

Axel Martens

Post Doc Researcher
Component Systems Group
IBM TJ Watson Research Center
Hawthorne, NY (USA)
Phone: (914) 784-7480
E-mail: amarten@us.ibm.com

Alex Yiu <alex.yiu@oracle.com>

09/10/2004 12:10 AM

Alex Yiu <alex.yiu@oracle.com>
"Trickovic, Ivana" <ivana.trickovic@sap.com>, Axel Martens/Watson/IBM@IBMUS, "'edwink@collaxa.com'" <edwink@collaxa.com>, "'satisht@microsoft.com'" <satisht@microsoft.com>, "'wsbpel@lists.oasis-open.org'" <wsbpel@lists.oasis-open.org>, Alex Yiu <alex.yiu@oracle.com>
Re: [wsbpel] Issue 6 - Rough draft of proposal for vote


Here are some examples how to use completeCondition to express similar business logic in Axel's previous email:

(A) "Select one out of three" example:
   <completeCondition branch="1" />
   <invoke name="CheckAirlineA" ... />
   <invoke name="CheckAirlineB" ... />
   <invoke name="CheckAirlineC" ... />

(B) "Select two out of three" example:
   <completeCondition branch="2" />
   <invoke name="AskRefereeA" ... />
   <invoke name="AskRefereeB" ... />
   <invoke name="AskRefereeC" ... />

As you guys can see, the completeCondition declaration is very straight forward and simple. No complicated links and joinCondition usage.

(C) "(Plane or Train) and Hotel" example: It would become two flow constructed (nested).

<assign> ... <to variable="planeResult"></assign>
  <!-- initialize "planeResult" with NOT-OK value -->
<assign> ... <to variable="trainResult"></assign>
  <!-- initialize "trainResult" with NOT-OK value -->
<flow name="checkIterinary">

   <flow name="PlaneOrPlane">
           fn:planeOK(planeResult) or fn:trainOK(trainResult)
      <invoke name="CheckPlane" outputVariable="planeResult" ... />
      <invoke name="CheckTrain" outputVariable="trainResult" ... />
   <invoke name="checkHotel" />
<switch name="bookingSwitch">

       (fn:planeOK(planeResult) or fn:trainOK(trainResult)) and fn:hotelOK(hotelResult)
       <invoke name="invokeBooking" ... />
         <invoke name="writeInformation" ... />

Please note that regardless whether we pick a link-oriented approach or completeCondition approach:
  • The initialization of result variables are needed because of potential cancellation of one of the invoke between train and plane
  • The "fn:*()" represents the logic to determine whether a traveling resource is available. They are used in either the transitionCondition of links or the condition of switch/case.
As you guys see, we don't need declare to six links. The completeCondition and case-condition are much simpler and easier to understand.

I attach a diagram to illustrate the above flows.

I guess we can still more time in terms of refiniment of joinCondition evaluation. However, I don't think that should be the only approach to achieve complete condition related logic.


Alex Yiu

Alex Yiu wrote:


+1 to what Ivana said in general.

Few points to add:
  • Axel's proposed enhancement to control links evaluation works to an extent for static parallelism  (e.g. <flow>). However, control links do not work well in dynamic parallelism (e.g. "parallel forEach" or "bundle"). I think the notion of completeCondition (borrowed from Ivana and DK) is general enough and it should be applied to both static and dynamic parallelism. A general completeCondition mechanism will be easier for BPEL users to learn.
  • Even in a pure static parallelism case, completeCondition has much better code clarity. It is more declarative and easier for BPEL users to understand. It will eliminate significant amount of joinCondition programming, which may be error prone. (I will send another email later to show how completeCondition can be used to express the same semantics of Axel's example).
  • In one of my previous emails, I also tried to use a "macro" way to illustrate how outstanding running flows can be cancelled by throwing a fault within a scope. The illustration has the same compensation handler installation problem that Ivana has pointed out. The "illustraction macro" does NOT carry a desirable and intended semantics. We need to create / describe a new mechanism to cancel parallel flow without throwing a fault. (That was discussed briefly between Edwin and me at Oracle).


Alex Yiu

Trickovic, Ivana wrote:

I find the idea interesting. In fact, I was discussing the completion condition issue with Dieter Koenig during the last f2f meeting and his suggestion was also to try to resolve this issue using links. And we identified that several changes need to be done, including removing restriction for jonCondition, that "the join condition is evaluated as soon as all incoming links of the activity are determined" - so definitely "immediate" semantics needs to be introduced.
I have the following comments on your proposal.
1. In your proposal you are using a fault (bpws:forcedTermination) to terminate all active parallel branches. But this changes the outcome of the flow activity. It will always end abnormally and compensation handler (if it is defined) will never be installed. Although completion condition has evaluated to true and needed activities have completed the enclosing flow activity will end abnormally. Is this really intended semantics?
2. Your proposal does not address some pain points. For example, in case of "N out of M", N<M there many possible "variations":
(A) One enclosed activity may experience problems but the <flow> activity may succeed
(B) One of enclosed activities may experience a severe error, which may have impact on the <flow> activity
The question is what to do with running activities? In the latter case, reasonable behavior would be: if one enclosed activity does not succeed other running activities should be cancelled and the flow activity should try to recover. In the former case, we should allow active parallel activities to complete their work. This is not supported in your proposal.


[stuff deleted]

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