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Subject: Issue 147 - Proposal For Vote

147 - Serial and Parallel For-Each

Proposal: Introduce a foreach to BPEL with both serial and parallel 

Rationale: Just check the issue list for issue 147. There is a whole 
series of mails attesting to how important this activity is.

Introduce a section 12.6

Note: This proposal assumes that issue 126 is adopted.

12.6 - Foreach

<foreach iteratorVariableName="ncname" iteratorVariableType="qname"\
            parallel="xs:Boolean" validate="yes|no"? standard-attributes>
      <expression expressionLanguage="anyURI">...</query>

A foreach activity is used to iterate over a variable, either serially 
or in parallel. The foreach activity specifies an expression that is to 
return a set of element information items (EIIs). The foreach also 
specifies a variable name in the iteratorVariableName attribute and a 
variable type in the iteratorVariableType attribute. All the EIIs 
returned by the expression MUST be of the type specified by the variable 
type. By default however a BPEL engine is not required to validate 
variable types, if the programmer wishes to guarantee that the output of 
the expression will be validated to be of the appropriate type then the 
validate attribute should be set to 'yes'. If the validate attribute is 
set to 'yes' and the output of the expression are not all EIIs of the 
type specified by iteratorVariableType then a mismatchedAssignment 
failure MUST be thrown. Note that variable validation, if activated, is 
performed before any of the 'notional' virtual scopes described below 
are created.

If parallel="no" then the foreach is a serial foreach. In that case, 
conceptually, a new 'notional' virtual scope is created that does not 
contain a fault handler nor a compensation handler. In fact, this 
'notional' virtual scope cannot be said to exist for purposes of 
determining which scopes are children of other scopes. Please refer to 
section 13.5.1 for a full description of the compensation handle of this 
'notional' virtual scope. This 'notional' virtual scope contains a 
single variable declaration with the name given in iteratorVariableName 
and the type given in iteratorVariableType. The virtual scope 
conceptually contains a virtual sequence. The first entry in the 
sequence is an assign that assigns an EII from the returned set, in 
document order where possible, in random order where not, to the scope's 
only variable. Once an EII from the return set is assigned to the local 
variable that EII is removed from the return set. The next activity in 
the sequence is then the activity specified in the body of the foreach 
activity. If the virtual scope exits without error and if there are 
remaining EIIs in the returned set then the process repeats until the 
returned set is empty.

The EIIs in the returned set are aliases to real EII instances held in 
BPEL variables. It is possible for one of the EIIs being pointed to, to 
be deleted while the for-each is executing. Such a deletion would occur 
if the EII being pointed to was removed from the BPEL variable that 
contained it. In that case the EII disappears from the returned set and 
is not iterated over.

The foreach virtual scope local variable in the foreach iteration 
instance is also an alias to an actual EII in a BPEL variable. While the 
iteration instance is executing the EII could have its value changed. If 
that happens then the situation is similar to what happens if a BPEL 
variable is shared by two simultaneously executing sections of a BPEL, 
the change made in one section is instantly visible to the other. If, 
however, the EII instance is deleted then the virtual scope local 
variable will become null. It is legal to assign to the virtual scope 
local variable after it becomes null but the value will be lost when 
that iteration ends, just as with any other scope local variable. To 
prevent other parts of a BPEL from altering the return set or the scope 
local variable the foreach can be placed in a serialized scope.

If the parallel attribute is set to 'yes' then a parallel foreach is 
created. In a parallel foreach a virtual flow is created that contains a 
series of virtual scopes, one for each EII in the returned value set, 
defined as given previously. As with a serial foreach the local 
variables in the parallel scopes are aliases to actual BPEL values with 
the same behavior as given above. While the possibility of interference 
can be reduced by placing a parallel foreach into a serialized scope 
this cannot prevent parallel virtual scopes generated by the foreach 
from interfering with each other since they all exist inside of the same 
serialized scope. A parallel foreach ends using the same logic that 
controls any flow's behavior. That is, either all the scopes in the flow 
successfully exit or one of the scopes throws an unhandled fault and the 
flow is terminated.

Addition to Appendix A:

mismatchedAssignment  Thrown from a for-each if the returned iterator 
set is validated and contains entries of a type other than that 
specified in iteratorVariableType.

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