Welcome!

Microservices Expo Authors: Liz McMillan, Zakia Bouachraoui, Elizabeth White, Pat Romanski, Yeshim Deniz

Related Topics: Microservices Expo

Microservices Expo: Article

BPEL4WS 1.1 To WS-BPEL 2.0 - An SOA Migration Path

BPEL4WS V1.1 has several shortcomings that will be addressed by the next release of the specification

BPEL4WS V1.1 is a public draft release of the "Business Process Execution Language for Web Services" specification dated May 3, 2003. BPEL4WS V1.1 is arguably the de facto standard for Business Process Management (BPM); however, because it's a draft release, BPEL4WS V1.1 has several shortcomings that will be addressed by the next release of the specification (named WS-BPEL 2.0), which is targeted to be released either toward the end of this year or during the beginning of 2006.

WS-BPEL 2.0, henceforth referenced as BPEL 2.0, is considerably different from the previous V1.1 draft release. The article will address these changes and demonstrate how to attempt to migrate a V1.1 business process to be compatible with a BPEL 2.0 engine. Sometimes this migration is simple and can be accomplished by means of syntactic changes to the process; sometimes the migration is not so easy, and mostly results in the rewrite of the process or process fragment. We will start with the simple cases and move toward the more complicated ones.

It is not the intention of this article to explain BPEL 1.1 or to explain the new features of BPEL 2.0, so it is highly recommended that the reader have a good familiarity with the BPEL language.

BPEL 1.1 Features That No Longer Exist
We will first address those features that have been removed from BPEL 1.1. The concept of "partner" is no longer available for BPEL 2.0. A "partner" groups several "partnerLinks," and in doing so represents a common endpoint. Aside from being descriptive, the "partner" concept did not have any executable property, so it was decided that the language did not need this concept.

The XML element "compensationHandler" and the XML attribute "enableInstanceCompensation" in the top-level "process" element have been removed. Instance (process) level compensation handlers never had any mechanism for being invoked; therefore, because they could not be used instance level compensation handling is no longer supported.

Since it is very unlikely that any BPEL 1.1 engine made use of either of these concepts, it is generally safe enough to just remove them from the process definition when migrating to BPEL 2.0.

Syntactic Changes
The following changes are just syntactic. You can simply do a simple find-and-replace to migrate to BPEL 2.0:

  • Replace the XML attribute "variableAccessSerializable" with "isolated"
  • Replace the XML tag "terminate" with "exit"
  • Replace the XML attribute "onMessage" of event handlers with "onEvent"
  • Move the XML attribute "joinCondition" that is present in BPEL activities to be a child element of "targets," as in the following XML fragment:
    <invoke name="settleTrade">
       <targets>
         <joinCondition>
           $buyToSettle and $sellToSettle
         </joinCondition>
         <target linkName="buyToSettle"/>
       </targets>
    </invoke>
  • Replace the XML attribute value "rendezvous" of the attribute "initiate" with the attribute value "join"
  • The schema type "tRole" no longer has a child element representing the port type; instead, the port type is now specified as an attribute directly in the role itself, as demonstrated in the following fragment:
    <plnk:partnerLinkType name="shippingLT">
       <plnk:role name="shippingService"portType="shippingServicePT"/>
    </plnk:partnerLinkType>
  • The attribute "portType" of messaging activities such as "receive," "invoke," "reply," "pick," and "onEvent" is no longer mandatory and can be omitted
  • The URI used to specify XPath 1.0 as the expression/query language of choice has been changed, so replace the attribute value "http://www.w3.org/TR/1999/REC-xpath-19991116" of the attributes "expressionLanguage" and "queryLanguage" with the attribute value "urn:oasis:names:tc:wsbpel:2.0:sublang:xpath1.0"
In addition to these, the syntax for assignments has been changed, but we will discuss this in a separate section.

Extensibility of Expression/Query Languages
In BPEL 1.1 expressions are used by switch conditions, while conditions and assignments such as XPath expressions are constrained as being an XML attribute value. Although this is not generally a problem for XPath 1.0 expressions, it is awkward for more complex languages such as XPath 2.0 or XQuery 1.0. XML attributes do not provide enough "real estate" for complicated expressions and also do not allow for the use of other XML features such as CDATA, or to write XML itself as the expression.

Hence, to allow for better extensibility of BPEL using external languages, the authoring of expressions and queries are now realized within XML tags (elements) instead of attributes. In practice this means that the XML attributes "for," "until," "joinCondition," "transitionCondition," "expression," "query," and "condition" must all be changed to be XML elements, which would then contain the expressions (the expressions are the former attribute values). The following snippet shows an example of this conversion for XPath 1.0. Note that the attribute "expressionLanguage" is optional.

<while>
   <condition
expressionLanguage="urn:oasis:names:tc:wsbpel:2.0:sublang:xpath1.0">
$itemsShipped < bpws:getVariableProperty('shipRequest','sns:itemsTotal')
   </condition>
   <sequence>
     <!- do something -->
   </sequence>
</while>

Listing 1 shows an example of a nonstandard usage of XQuery 1.0 as the expression language. BPEL 2.0 has thus far only standardized the usage of XPath 1.0.

Links
Links are used to specify synchronization dependencies between nested activities within a flow. In BPEL 1.1, links could not cross the boundary of structured activities such as "while," "isolated scope," "event handler," and "compensation handler." In BPEL 2.0, this restriction has been made stronger. Links that create a reentrant control path in scopes are no longer permitted. The reason for this tightening is to simplify the semantic of compensation handling. Figure 1 illustrates this banned scenario.

Messaging
Several aspects of messaging for BPEL 1.1 are unspecified. For example, there is no defined behavior for a process that receives a message for a request-response operation and finishes without replying. In BPEL 2.0, such a scenario would have trigged a new BPEL standard fault called "missingReply" fault.

More Stories By Alexandre Alves

Alexandre Alves currently works at BEA Systems, in the WebLogic Integration group. He has worked with integration technologies for over 10 years, focusing on CORBA, J2EE, and Web services.

Comments (1)

Share your thoughts on this story.

Add your comment
You must be signed in to add a comment. Sign-in | Register

In accordance with our Comment Policy, we encourage comments that are on topic, relevant and to-the-point. We will remove comments that include profanity, personal attacks, racial slurs, threats of violence, or other inappropriate material that violates our Terms and Conditions, and will block users who make repeated violations. We ask all readers to expect diversity of opinion and to treat one another with dignity and respect.


Microservices Articles
The now mainstream platform changes stemming from the first Internet boom brought many changes but didn’t really change the basic relationship between servers and the applications running on them. In fact, that was sort of the point. In his session at 18th Cloud Expo, Gordon Haff, senior cloud strategy marketing and evangelism manager at Red Hat, will discuss how today’s workloads require a new model and a new platform for development and execution. The platform must handle a wide range of rec...
When building large, cloud-based applications that operate at a high scale, it’s important to maintain a high availability and resilience to failures. In order to do that, you must be tolerant of failures, even in light of failures in other areas of your application. “Fly two mistakes high” is an old adage in the radio control airplane hobby. It means, fly high enough so that if you make a mistake, you can continue flying with room to still make mistakes. In his session at 18th Cloud Expo, Lee A...
In his general session at 19th Cloud Expo, Manish Dixit, VP of Product and Engineering at Dice, discussed how Dice leverages data insights and tools to help both tech professionals and recruiters better understand how skills relate to each other and which skills are in high demand using interactive visualizations and salary indicator tools to maximize earning potential. Manish Dixit is VP of Product and Engineering at Dice. As the leader of the Product, Engineering and Data Sciences team at D...
Lori MacVittie is a subject matter expert on emerging technology responsible for outbound evangelism across F5's entire product suite. MacVittie has extensive development and technical architecture experience in both high-tech and enterprise organizations, in addition to network and systems administration expertise. Prior to joining F5, MacVittie was an award-winning technology editor at Network Computing Magazine where she evaluated and tested application-focused technologies including app secu...
Containers and Kubernetes allow for code portability across on-premise VMs, bare metal, or multiple cloud provider environments. Yet, despite this portability promise, developers may include configuration and application definitions that constrain or even eliminate application portability. In this session we'll describe best practices for "configuration as code" in a Kubernetes environment. We will demonstrate how a properly constructed containerized app can be deployed to both Amazon and Azure ...
Modern software design has fundamentally changed how we manage applications, causing many to turn to containers as the new virtual machine for resource management. As container adoption grows beyond stateless applications to stateful workloads, the need for persistent storage is foundational - something customers routinely cite as a top pain point. In his session at @DevOpsSummit at 21st Cloud Expo, Bill Borsari, Head of Systems Engineering at Datera, explored how organizations can reap the bene...
Using new techniques of information modeling, indexing, and processing, new cloud-based systems can support cloud-based workloads previously not possible for high-throughput insurance, banking, and case-based applications. In his session at 18th Cloud Expo, John Newton, CTO, Founder and Chairman of Alfresco, described how to scale cloud-based content management repositories to store, manage, and retrieve billions of documents and related information with fast and linear scalability. He addresse...
SYS-CON Events announced today that DatacenterDynamics has been named “Media Sponsor” of SYS-CON's 18th International Cloud Expo, which will take place on June 7–9, 2016, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY. DatacenterDynamics is a brand of DCD Group, a global B2B media and publishing company that develops products to help senior professionals in the world's most ICT dependent organizations make risk-based infrastructure and capacity decisions.
Discussions of cloud computing have evolved in recent years from a focus on specific types of cloud, to a world of hybrid cloud, and to a world dominated by the APIs that make today's multi-cloud environments and hybrid clouds possible. In this Power Panel at 17th Cloud Expo, moderated by Conference Chair Roger Strukhoff, panelists addressed the importance of customers being able to use the specific technologies they need, through environments and ecosystems that expose their APIs to make true ...
In his keynote at 19th Cloud Expo, Sheng Liang, co-founder and CEO of Rancher Labs, discussed the technological advances and new business opportunities created by the rapid adoption of containers. With the success of Amazon Web Services (AWS) and various open source technologies used to build private clouds, cloud computing has become an essential component of IT strategy. However, users continue to face challenges in implementing clouds, as older technologies evolve and newer ones like Docker c...