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Popkin moves on BPEL

Popkin Software has expanded its System Architect enterprise architecture and modeling toolset to include greater support for business-oriented process management, the company said at this week's DCI Meta Business Process Management conference in Boston. With the next version of System Architect (Version 10), due in July, the company will include integrated support for the XML-based Business Process Execution Language (BPEL).

Version 10 of System Architect will also be able to integrate models developed using Business Process Modeling Notation (BPMN) with its SA simulator, said Jan Popkin, the firm's CEO. BPMN will give users an automated method for analyzing and predicting the costs of a transaction or process, as well as the impact of changes to the process.

The new business process notation could be a major step forward for system architectures that are tied to business processes. Popkin and other members of the BPM initiative have worked on this for more than a year. It arises, in Popkin's view, from the need to more ably move a set of ideas -- as well as related descriptions and documentation -- into an executable system.

"The idea of capturing business [needs] and moving them down as much as possible to the executable has been around for many years," Popkin admitted. "What this does is start formalizing it, making use of standards and moving it forward." This is not code generation, he cautions; in using the new standards, teams should be able to "generate a language describing the process, not the code.

"The notation is a visual way of capturing how processes work," added Popkin. This is useful for collaborative efforts -- in other words, human consumption. Meanwhile, the generated BPEL can be used for machine consumption.

"There are now a lot of standards here," said Popkin. "That's the interesting part of the story."

Popkin on trends: SOA and BPM, app dev and architecture
"Many pieces are coming together. The business process management concept is crossing over to SOA [Service-Oriented Architecture] and development. The whole idea of business process and how it's used to drive the different development scenarios is related to SOA in terms of creating higher level architectures that can be visualized and then worked on at a business process level," said Jan Popkin, CEO at Popkin Software.

"We are concerned with business processes, but we are driving down to the implementation level. In fact, the application view of the world and the analysis view of the world are coming together," he noted. "Business process is dovetailing with architecture [which becomes enterprise architecture], which dovetails in turn with application development. And standards are the upside."

On Government architecture efforts
The [U.S.] Government’s point of view was to use enterprise architecture to understand their ‘business” goals and map that into a structure and enforcement strategy and hopefully an application implementation strategy. There are parallels on the commercial side, but there is no congressional act in place on the commercial side.

About the Author

Jack Vaughan is former Editor-at-Large at Application Development Trends magazine.

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