Microsoft injects Vista with BPEL

Company also forms Business Process Alliance to promote the OASIS standard

Microsoft Corp. hopes to boost the adoption of BPM (business process management) applications by adding support for Business Process Execution Language (BPEL) in the workflow layer of Windows Vista, the company said Monday. It also has formed an alliance of software vendors aimed at making BPEL a more mainstream technology.

Microsoft plans to add support for BPEL in Vista's Workflow Foundation (WWF) through a March community technology preview called BPEL for WWF March CP. That CTP will implement the BPEL 1.1 specification currently available from the Organization for the Advancement of Structured Information Standards (OASIS), which oversees the standard. However, the final release of BPEL for WWF will implement BPEL 2.0 and should be released in the last quarter of the year, Microsoft said.

OASIS has approved the BPEL 2.0 specification but is still preparing it for final release, according to its Web site.

Microsoft and IBM combined two competing business process programming languages to form BPEL for Web Services, later shortened to BPEL, several years ago. In April 2003 those companies along with other vendors submitted BPEL to OASIS as a standard.

In addition to adding support for BPEL into Windows, Microsoft also on Monday said it formed the Business Process Alliance, a group of companies that plans to help customers build BPM applications on Microsoft's software platform.

Along with Microsoft, the companies that have joined the alliance are AmberPoint Inc., Ascentn Corp., IDS Scheer AG, Fair Isaac Corp., Global360, InRule Technology Inc., Metastorm Inc., PNMsoft Ltd., RuleBurst Ltd. and SourceCode Technology Holdings Inc.

According to Microsoft, the adoption of BPM technology has been limited to only the largest Fortune 500 companies. The company hopes to change that by adding BPEL to Windows and recruiting independent software vendors to build technology on its platform.

BPEL has not developed without criticism, however. BPEL is an executable language that orchestrates how business processes interact, and some feel that a language based on what developers call choreography is a better option.

Orchestration controls events in a process centrally, while choreography sets up prearranged rules for those events, which some argue is more flexible for developers.

Microsoft also supports BPEL in its BizTalk Server integration software.

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