What is BPEL
BPEL is an orchestration language, An orchestration specifies an executable process that involves message exchanges with other systems, such that the message exchange sequences are controlled by the orchestration designer. A choreography specifies a protocol for peer-to-peer interactions, defining, e.g., the legal sequences of messages exchanged with the purpose of guaranteeing interoperability. Such a protocol is not directly executable, as it allows many different realizations (processes that comply with it). A choreography can be realized by writing an orchestration (e.g., in the form of a BPEL process) for each peer involved in it. The orchestration and the choreography distinctions are based on analogies: orchestration refers to the central control (by the conductor) of the behavior of a distributed system (the orchestra consisting of many players), while choreography refers to a distributed system (the dancing team) which operates according to rules (the choreography) but without centralized control.
BPEL’s focus on modern business processes, plus the histories of WSFL and XLANG, led BPEL to adopt web services as its external communication mechanism. Thus BPEL’s messaging facilities depend on the use of the Web Services Description Language (WSDL) 1.1 to describe outgoing and incoming messages.
In addition to providing facilities to enable sending and receiving messages, the BPEL programming language also supports:
- A property-based message correlation mechanism
- XML and WSDL typed variables
- An extensible language plug-in model to allow writing expressions and queries in multiple languages: BPEL supports XPath 1.0 by default
- Structured-programming constructs including if-then-elseif-else, while, sequence (to enable executing commands in order) and flow (to enable executing commands in parallel)
- A scoping system to allow the encapsulation of logic with local variables, fault-handlers, compensation-handlers and event-handlers
- Serialized scopes to control concurrent access to variables