As those of you who follow us know, we’re very proud of the fact that ActiveVOS is built from the ground up on standards. We strongly believe that standards support is the entry price for any BPMS that hopes to change the way process applications are built and deployed.
Now, I am pleased to report that OASIS has announced that the WS-BPEL Extension for People (also known by its alliterative shorthand name, BPEL4People) 1.1 specification is available for public review. In addition, the companion specification, WS-HumanTask 1.1, is also available for public review. ActiveVOS 7 implements both WS-HumanTask and BPEL4People.
In short, these two standards marry automated processing with a vastly updated and more intelligent approach to human workflow that (finally!) makes including people in complex processes as easy as including any system task.
Consider the graphic above. Prior to WS-HumanTask (and BPEL4People), creating human tasks usually required interaction with a proprietary workflow system that didn’t necessarily integrate easily with the rest of the application architecture:
One of the motivations of WS-HumanTask was an increasingly important need to support the ability to allow any application to create human tasks in a service-oriented manner. Human tasks had traditionally been created by tightly-coupled workflow management systems (WFMS). In such environments the workflow management system managed the entirety of a task’s lifecycle, an approach that did not allow the means to directly affect a task’s lifecycle outside of the workflow management environment (other than for a human to actually carry out the task). Particularly significant was an inability to allow applications to create a human task in such tightly coupled environments.
This graphic neatly shows how these new standards separate — and standardize — the work items from the processing of those items. All in all, a huge step forward for a new generation of process apps.
When you do take a look at the specs, I hope you’ll notice the level of commitment Active Endpoints has made to developing and finalizing these standards. Two of our technical leaders, Luc Clément and Michael Rowley, are listed as editors for the drafts. They are helping make a lasting contribution to BPM through their efforts to bring these standards to market, in partnership with the other members of the OASIS Technical Committee.