SOA Talk

Sep 30 2009   8:21PM GMT

In BPM complexity, Active Endpoints finds a middle road

RobBarry Rob Barry Profile: RobBarry

Business process management systems (BPMSs) can be criticized for being either too business user-centric and lightweight, or overly technical and not user-friendly. The culture of SOA, however, is a culture of collaboration between departments and that can be useful for a BPMS to emulate.

A SOA-based BPMS targeting development teams, Active Endpoints’ ActiveVOS seeks to take a middle road approach to this problem. The company just launched the ActiveVOS 7.0 release, where it updated core technologies and streamlined the user experience a bit.

“BPM suites that focus on business users, they don’t get technical enough,” said Alex Neihaus, VP of marketing at Active Endpoints. “They become islands of computing and sit off by themselves. And with BPMS for architects and developers, the level of cost and complexity is beyond the level of what most people are willing to undertake.”

The company’s approach is to offer drag-and-drop AJAX forms using Business Process Modeling Notation (BPMN) 2.0 to generate executable Business Process Execution Language (BPEL) 2.0 processes. When a step is dragged into a process, the flow is automatically mapped out and can then be altered.

There is also built in support for interfacing with human processes via the WS-HumanTask standard. The BPMS supports a host of standards

Michael Rowley, the company’s CTO, said the new version would also support mashups.

 “There is a new approach to enterprise mashups,” said Rowley. “Put all of the logic for presentation on the client and have the calls go right into the enterprises services layer.”

Rowley said it is too sluggish to have mashups put in calls to data providers. Rather, he favors having the calls talk directly to the services handling the data. This keeps the data on the mashup the same as the data used by the services.

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