Thursday, June 15, 2006

Lifetime Management with BPEL (Part I)

Here we go...

I'd like to show you an example of BPEL (read BEEPLE :) that allows to implement some kind of a lifetime management using web-services.

This implementation is based on BPEL's Pick activity, and right before we start I'd like to introduce readers in what this activity is need for. Those who familiar with that may freely skip this part.

So, as I already said, BPEL have the Pick activity that is like widely known Switch/Case language construction in programming languages (Java, C++ or Pascal Case/Of). Those constructions have a possibility of redirecting control flow based on some expression, for instance (Java):

switch (directionExpression) {
case LEFT:
case RIGHT:
case UP:
case DOWN:
default: // Hold
In BPEL the Pick activity is the analog of the Switch statement. Pick's OnMessage statements are like Switch's case statements.

To be true to the reader I'd like to say that BPEL have the Switch activity too. The main thing that distinguish Pick from Switch constructions is that Pick is a blocking activity, that means that the expression that manages the process control flow is a message that BPEL process instance is waiting for to receive, and the flow would be frozen until this message arrives, while in Switch we already have this expression defined as a process variable and the alternative flow may be picked up without any delay.

Now I'd like you to mention the default statement. Pick has the analog of this statement that corresponds the situation when no message were arrived to the Pick activity during some time period (or by deadline) - the timeout; and the activity that is responsible to handle such timeouts is Pick's OnAlarm.

So the BPEL code using Pick may looks like:
<onMessage operation="approve">
<!-- TODO Implement OnApprove -->
<onMessage operation="reject">
<!-- TODO Implement OnReject -->
<!-- Timeout will occur in one minute -->
<onAlarm for="&quot;PT1M&quot;">
<!-- TODO Implement OnTimeout -->

to be continued...