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Subject: FYI: A BPM language initiative in Australia

FYI - a random email that I thought might be of interest to the TC (note
the references to sub-processes and context).  

I've cc'd Peter since he's not (yet?) a member of the TC.


-----Original Message-----
From: peter.foley@abs.gov.au 
Sent: Wednesday, March 30, 2005 8:20 PM
To: John Evdemon
Subject: Real world example of a BPM execution language

I work at the Australian Bureau of Statistics in Canberra, Australia.
For the last few years we have been developing a Business Process
Management System. Because of when we started and our mainly Lotus Notes
environment we leveraged as many Xml standards as we could but not BPEL
or BPML.
Nevertheless, we have come up with an XML language that has similar
concepts to WS-BPEL and have encountered many of the problems you are
grappling with. As an organisation we have not yet joined W3C or OASIS
(under consideration) but I hope we can still have some input into your
thinking. When WS-BPEL becomes an official recommendation we intend to
migrate our system to it (where possible).

I will give a quick overview of what we have built and if you want more
detail feel free to contact me.

ABS Process Execution Language
      - is based on the BPMN (BPMI.org)
            - we use Gateways to control parallel or decision based
      - allows people to "execute" the processes as well as a workflow
            - we feel it is very important from a knowledge management
and process management perspective that people are not just treated as
nodes in a workflow but also have control over processes that contain
little or no information. To meet this requirement we have developed a
process portal (usibg SVG) where people can create process instances
from a process library and then interact with the process e.g applying
judgement to determine if an activity is complete, performing manual
activities, starting other processes even those executed by the workflow
            - because of the above requirement our language supports the
visual representation of the process particularly screen coordinates
      - is all XML (the workflow engine interprets the XML at runtime)
      - implements the following concepts
            - a map (a sequence of steps with process flows)
            - a business infoset - a persistent store for information
sent to/received from web services
            - a message infoset - the message to be sent/received from
web services
            - an implementation of XLink/XInclude to copy information
to/from the business infoset and message infosets
            - ability to invoke other processes (as sub-processes)
            - all webservice calls are asynchronous
                  - an automated activity calls a web service
                  - an activity then waits for a "callback" from the web
            - the BPMS itself is a web service
      - we are implementing WS-Addressing for end to end message flows
to/from web services
      - we utilise WS-Security for end to end message security
      - the messages sent to web services are created at runtime from a
definition that includes
            - the WSDL (endpoint supplied from metadata via XInclude)
            - XLink instructions for creating the message
            - context headers that define where the message came from
and where it is to go next (not WS-Context yet)

            - support some form of compensation or rollback
            - support timed activities e.g. run X at 3pm, run X 5 days
after Y, run X every 3 weeks
            - improve security handling

      Biggest Challenges solved
            - calling sub-processes
            - passing context around

Hope this helps you in your work on WS-BPEL and look forward to hearing
from you in the future.

ABS Web Site:  www.abs.gov.au

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