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.NET Product Review: Active Endpoints' ActiveBPEL
Using and integrating different platforms

What Is BPEL?
BPEL or Business Process Execution Language is an XML and Web standards-based SOA (service-oriented architecture) standard that allows business people to combine services into automated processes. As described in this review, Active Endpoints' ActiveBPEL product family includes a visual designer that works by allowing non-programmers to assemble Web services into processes by dragging and dropping graphical representations of components (Web services) and "wiring" them together in sequences and flowcharts (see Figure 1).

There are five parts of a BPEL application. The true BPEL part is an XML file that conforms to the BPEL standard (BPEL4WS 1.1 and WS-BPEL 2.0). This file contains the definition of the activities that make up the BPEL process. Another part are the services that get integrated by BPEL; these are defined by standard WSDL files. The other three parts are the proprietary BPEL engine that runs the processes, the proprietary graphic designer that functions as the IDE or the development environment that allows drag 'n' drop design of processes, and the final part is the administrative tools for deploying and monitoring the BPEL process.

BPEL is considered "programming in the large" because it deals with higher-level constructs such as flow control and looping, processes that are long running (for instance, a request for a loan approval might be routed to the accounting department and sit there for days before being approved or denied), fault tolerance (it can be set up to start an alarm process if accounting does not respond to the loan request within a week), and it uses compensation instead of transactions (a transaction can't be kept open for the length of time needed in a long-running process, so, if a stage of a process fails, it has to be "fixed," not just rolled back).

Active Endpoints and ActiveBPEL
Active Endpoints has three versions of their BPEL products: a standalone open source version, a standalone commercial version that can run under either .NET or Tomcat, and an integrated commercial version that can run under J2EE or .NET. Active Endpoints provides a complete set of administrative tools and a sophisticated development environment based on the Eclipse IDE (see Figure 2).

Active Endpoints created the open source ActiveBPEL Engine to generate interest in the BPEL standard and to help educate the community about BPEL.

The open source ActiveBPEL Engine is uses the same source code as used in the ActiveBPEL commercial products. The open source version is recommended for design and testing, but not for deployment because it lacks the system integration, clustering support, and security that are included in the commercial versions and typically needed in enterprise-level BPEL implementations. The open source version does contain everything needed to create and run BPEL applications without these enterprise-level features, including the designer and execution engine, management console, debugging, static BPEL analysis, multiple languages (XPath, XQuery, JavaScript, and custom languages), persistence, and all the documentation. The open source version is released under the GPL and is maintained by Active Endpoints. Active Endpoints also provides free forum-based support and premium support on a fee-based subscription basis.

The commercial standalone (paid license and support) version runs on Tomcat or .NET, and adds support for WS-Security, WS-Reliable Messaging, advance process filtering and alerts, suspend and retry via both the console and APIs, enhanced process deployment and invocation, and process versioning (currently running processes use the old version, new instances of a process use the new version, with the old version being retired after all running processes end).

It also includes APIs to access and control the inner workings of the BPEL engine.

The J2EE and .NET integrated versions add multi-level load balancing and server fault tolerance and deep integration into each of the supported servers: .NET, WebSphere, JBoss, and WebLogic.

In the .NET version, BPEL processes can be launched via either the IIS server API, or a native .NET API. Access security can be handled by either IIS or ASP.NET-based security, allowing access list to be stored in a database, Active Directory, or third-party security suites. Also, ActiveBPEL can be installed in an IIS Web farm where a wide range of load balancing strategies can be used.

The WebSphere version can run as a WS-I compliant framework, or inside WebSphere containers to take advantage of advanced WebSphere capabilities. Security can be handled by the Tivoli Access manager or by legacy or third-party security solutions. ActiveBPEL also supports all of the WebSphere clustering capabilities including automatic failover and content-based routing.

On JBoss, ActiveBPEL uses the Axis JAX-RPC for Web services invocations and message exchange, and also allows direct control by the JBoss WS4EE or EJB bindings. It also integrates with JBossSX security or LDAP servers. ActiveBPEL supports all of the JBoss clustering technology, including JGroups and the Tomcat HttpSession object to provide load balancing, failover, and single sign-on.

Truly the people at Active Endpoints understand how important it is to use and integrate with the different platforms they run on.

Future
The difference between BPEL and workflow is that BPEL focuses on automating Web services, where workflow focuses on connecting people-oriented processes. Active Endpoints has recently released ActiveBPEL for People, which extends BPEL to include people-oriented tasks, including roles and Web-based user interfaces.

More Information
For more information, checkout Active Endpoints' Web site at , there is a nice slide show at www.bptrends.com/publicationfiles/BPEL4ProgArchies.pdf, and Wikipedia has a page on BPEL at http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/BPEL.

About Dennis Hayes
Dennis Hayes is a programmer at Georgia Tech in Atlanta Georgia where he writes software for the Adult Cognition Lab in the Psychology Department. He has been involved with the Mono project for over six years, and has been writing the Monkey Business column for over five years.

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Excitement and interest in APIs has skyrocketed in recent years. However, if you ask a room full of IT professionals "What is an API", you will get a wide array of answers. There exists a wide knowledge gap between API experts and those that have a general idea of what they are, but are unsure of what they have been for in the past, what they look like now, and how they can be used to expand your business in the future. In this session John will cover what the history of APIs, what an API looks like now, how APIs are used today, and why they are important to your entire organization and digital transformation. John will also cover how you can use APIs to lead your digital transformation and uncover new business opportunities within your organization.
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Big Data Expo Silicon Valley All-Star Speakers Include

MATTHIEU
Octoblu

MAHADEV
Cisco

MCCARTHY
Bsquare

FELICIANO
AMDG

PAUL
VenueNext

SMITH
Eviot

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goTraverse

GETTENS
goTraverse

CHAMBLISS
ReadyTalk

HERBERTS
Cityzen Data

REITBAUER
Dynatrace

WILLIAM-
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Cloud
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SCHMARZO
EMC

WOOD
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WALLGREN
Electric Cloud

VARAN-
NATH

GE

SRIDHARA-
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Pulzze

METRIC
Linux

MONTES
Iced

ARIOLA
Parasoft

HOLT
Daitan

CUNNING-
HAM

ReadyTalk

BEDRO-
SIAN

Cypress

NAMIE
Cisco

NAKA-
GAWA

Transparent
Cloud

SHIBATA
Transparent
Cloud

BOYD
Neo4j

WARD
DWE

MILLER
Covisint

EVAVOLD
Covisint

MEINER
Oracle

MEEHAN
Esri

WITECK
Citrix

LIANG
Rancher Labs

BUTLER
Tego

ROWE
IBM Cloud

SKILLERN
Intel

SMITH
Numerex
Big Data Expo New York All-Star Speakers Include

CLELAND
HGST

VASILIOU
Catchpoint

WALLGREN
Electric Cloud

HINCH-
CLIFFE

7Summits

DE SOUZA
Cisco

RANDALL
Gartner

ARMSTRONG
AppNeta

SMALLTREE
Cazena

MCCARTHY
Bsquare

DELOACH
Infobright

QUINT
Ontegrity

MALAUCHLAN
Buddy Platform

PALIOTTA
Vector

MITRA
Cognizant

KOCHER
Grey Heron

PAPDO
POULOS

Cloud9

HARLAN
Two Bulls

GOLO
SHUBIN

Bit6

PROIETTI
Location
Smart

MARTIN
nfrastructure

MOULINE
Everbridge

MARSH
Blue Pillar

PARKS
SecureRF

PEROTTI
Plantronics

HOFFMAN
EastBanc

WATSON
Trendalyze

BENSONOFF
Unigma

SHAN
CTS

MATTELA
Redpine

GILLEN
Spark
Coginition

SOLT
Netvibes

BERNARDO
GE Digital

ROMANSKY
TrustPoint

BEAMER
GoTransverse

LESTER
LogMeIn

PONO
-MAREVA

Google

SINGH
Sencha

CALKINS
Amadeus

KLEIN
Rachio

HOASIN
Aeris

SARKARIA
PHEMI

SPROULE
Metavine

SNELL
Intel

LEVINE
CytexOne

ALLEN
Freewave

MCCALLUM
Falconstor

HYEDT
Seamless

Big Data Expo Silicon Valley All-Star Speakers Include

SCHULZ
Luxoft

TAMBURINI
Autodesk

MCCARTHY
Bsquare

THURAI
SaneIoT

TURNER
Cloudian

ENDO
Intrepid

NAKAGAWA
Transparent

SHIBATA
Transparent

LEVANT-LEVI
testRTC

VARAN NATH
GE

COOPER
M2Mi

SENAY
Teletax

SKEEN
Vitria

KOCHER
Grey Heron

GREENE
PubNub

MAGUIRE
HP

MATTHIEU
Octoblu

STEINER-JOVIC
AweSense

LYNN
AgilData

HEDGES
Cloudata

DUFOUR
Webroot

ROBERTS
Platform

JONES
Deep

PFEIFFER
NICTA

NIELSEN
Redis

PAOLALANTORIO
DataArchon

KAHN
Solgenia

LOPEZ
Kurento

KIM
MapR

BROMHEAD
Instaclustr

LEVINE
CytexOne

BONIFAZI
Solgenia

GORBACHEV
Intelligent
Systems

THYKATTIL
Navisite

TRELOAR
Bebaio

SIVARAMA-
KRISHNAN

Red Hat
Cloud Expo New York All-Star Speakers Included

DE SOUZA
Cisco

POTTER
SafeLogic

ROBINSON
CompTIA

WARUSA
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WSO2 Inc

MEINER
Oracle

CHOU
Microsoft

HARRISON
Tufin

BRUNOZZI
VMware

KIM
MapR

KANE
Dyn

SICULAR
Basho

TURNER
Cloudian

KUMAR
Liaison

ADAMIAK
Liaison

KHAN
Solgenia

BONIFAZI
Solgenia

SUSSMAN
Coalfire

ISAACSON
RMS

LYNN
CodeFutures

HEABERLIN
Windstream

RAMA
MURTHY

Virtusa

BOSTOCK
IndependenceIT

DE MENO
CommVault

GRILLI
Adobe

WILLIAMS
Rancher Labs

CRISWELL
Alert Logic

COTY
Alert Logic

JACOBS
SingleHop

MARAVEI
Cisco

JACKSON
Softlayer

SINGH
IBM

HAZARD
Softlayer

GALLO
Softlayer

TAMASKAR
GENBAND

SUBRA
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Emcien

LEVESQUE
Windstream

IVANOV
StorPool

BLOOMBERG
Intellyx

BUDHANI
Soha

HATHAWAY
IBM Watson

TOLL
ProfitBricks

LANDRY
Microsoft

BEARFIELD
Blue Box

HERITAGE
Akana

PILUSO
SIASMSP

HOLT
IBM Cloudant

SHAN
CTS

PICCININNI
EMC

BRON-
GERSMA

Modulus

PAIGE
CenturyLink

SABHIKHI
Cognitive Scale

MILLS
Green House Data

KATZEN
CenturyLink

SLOPER
CenturyLink

SRINIVAS
EMC

TALREJA
Cisco

GORBACHEV
Systems Services Inc.

COLLISON
Apcera

PRABHU
OpenCrowd

LYNN
CodeFutures

SWARTZ
Ericsson

MOSHENKO
CoreOS

BERMINGHAM
SIOS

WILLIS
Stateless Networks

MURPHY
Gridstore

KHABE
Vicom

NIKOLOV
GetClouder

DIETZE
Windstream

DALRYMPLE
EnterpriseDB

MAZZUCCO
TierPoint

RIVERA
WHOA.com

HERITAGE
Akana

SEYMOUR
6fusion

GIANNETTO
Author

CARTER
IBM

ROGERS
Virtustream
Cloud Expo Silicon Valley All-Star Speakers

TESAR
Microsoft

MICKOS
HP

BHARGAVA
Intel

RILEY
Riverbed

DEVINE
IBM

ISAACSON
CodeFutures

LYNN
HP

HINKLE
Citrix

KHAN
Solgenia

SINGH
Bigdata

BEACH
SendGrid

BOSTOCK
IndependenceIT

DE SOUZA
Cisco

PATTATHIL
Harbinger

O'BRIEN
Aria Systems

BONIFAZI
Solgenia

BIANCO
Solgenia

PROCTOR
NuoDB

DUGGAL
EnterpriseWeb

TEGETHOFF
Appcore

BRUNOZZI
VMware

HICKENS
Parasoft

KLEBANOV
Cisco

PETERS
Esri

GOLDBERG
Vormetric

CUMBER-
LAND

Dimension

ROSENDAHL
Quantum

LOOMIS
Cloudant

BRUNO
StackIQ

HANNON
SoftLayer

JACKSON
SoftLayer

HOCH
Virtustream

KAPADIA
Seagate

PAQUIN
OnLive

TSAI
Innodisk

BARRALL
Connected Data

SHIAH
AgilePoint

SEGIL
Verizon

PODURI
Citrix

COWIE
Dyn

RITTEN-
HOUSE

Cisco

FALLOWS
Kaazing

THYKATTIL
TimeWarner

LEIDUCK
SAP

LYNN
HP

WAGSTAFF
BSQUARE

POLLACK
AOL

KAMARAJU
Vormetric

BARRY
Catbird

MENDEN-
HALL

SUPERNAP

SHAN
KEANE

PLESE
Verizon

BARNUM
Voxox

TURNER
Cloudian

CALDERON
Advanced Systems

AGARWAL
SOA Software

LEE
Quantum

OBEROI
Concurrent, Inc.

HATEM
Verizon

GALEY
Autodesk

CAUTHRON
NIMBOXX

BARSOUM
IBM

GORDON
1Plug

LEWIS
Verizon

YEO
OrionVM

NAKAGAWA
Transparent Cloud Computing

SHIBATA
Transparent Cloud Computing

NATH
GE

GOKCEN
GE

STOICA
Databricks

TANKEL
Pivotal Software


Testimonials
This week I had the pleasure of delivering the opening keynote at Cloud Expo New York. It was amazing to be back in the great city of New York with thousands of cloud enthusiasts eager to learn about the next step on their journey to embracing a cloud-first worldl."
@SteveMar_Msft
General Manager of Window Azure
 
How does Cloud Expo do it every year? Another INCREDIBLE show - our heads are spinning - so fun and informative."
@SOASoftwareInc
 
Thank you @ThingsExpo for such a great event. All of the people we met over the past three days makes us confident IoT has a bright future."
Yasser Khan
CEO of @Cnnct2me
 
One of the best conferences we have attended in a while. Great job, Cloud Expo team! Keep it going."

@Peak_Ten


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Digital Transformation Blogs
Excitement and interest in APIs has skyrocketed in recent years. However, if you ask a room full of IT professionals "What is an API", you will get a wide array of answers. There exists a wide knowledge gap between API experts and those that have a general idea of what they are, but are unsure of what they have been for in the past, what they look like now, and how they can be used to expand your business in the future. In this session John will cover what the history of APIs, what an API looks like now, how APIs are used today, and why they are important to your entire organization and digita...
DXWorldEXPO LLC, the producer of the world's most influential technology conferences and trade shows has announced the 22nd International CloudEXPO | DXWorldEXPO "Early Bird Registration" is now open. Register for Full Conference "Gold Pass" ▸ Here (Expo Hall ▸ Here)
Bill Schmarzo, Tech Chair of "Big Data | Analytics" of upcoming CloudEXPO | DXWorldEXPO New York (November 12-13, 2018, New York City) today announced the outline and schedule of the track. "The track has been designed in experience/degree order," said Schmarzo. "So, that folks who attend the entire track can leave the conference with some of the skills necessary to get their work done when they get back to their offices. It actually ties back to some work that I'm doing at the University of San Francisco which creates an "Outcomes-Centric Business Analytics" degree." Bill Schmarzo, auth...