ebXML Forum News

Tuesday, December 26, 2006

The ebXML BP 2.0.4 (BPSS) approved as OASIS standard

The new ebXML BP specification (BPSS) approval marks a paradigm shift for BPM technology and SOA.

We have waited 5 years for the BPSS specification to finally become a fully approved standard. Why has this taken so long and now it has arrived - what is it delivering?

The original foundation work set during the initial ebXML work was aligned to the UN/CEFACT UMM process - and binary collaborations - this gave it sound grounding. However the underlying UML itself (that UMM is a specialization from) was never designed to provide full BPM modelling support - only localized programming development - and particularly the ability to manage context in a structured way is weakly defined in UML. Failure to reconcile that caused a signficant two year delay prior to the BPSS works transfer to an OASIS ebXML BP TC (technical committee).

All those growing pains however are now behind - and what has emerged is an immensely capable base specification that can form the foundation for SOA networks of collaborating services. To support this there is also an Eclipse based modelling tool for developing BPSS instances using the ebXML BP 2.0.4 specification.

The core capability highlights include:

1) Ability to define context and manage it across the BPM
2) Formal business signals mechanism
3) Business documents can be linked to transaction processing technology
4) Full process modelling via forking and flow control expressions

In today's demanding SOA environments it is crucial that business partners are able to share not just their transaction formats (query/response) - but also the exact processing control - including exception handling (signals) and collaboration control (context) to cover the edge conditions and "what if" systematically - that would otherwise require costly human intervention.

These definitions can now be shared in a formal way between partners - instead of being hidden in process logic within their internal integration systems.

The ebXML BP (BPSS) specification therefore provides a critical component for the development of large scale open cross-enterprise SOA solutions that are inclusive of all partners, large or small.


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