Building an application? Do you need a BPM engine?

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Content Copyright © 2008 Bloor. All Rights Reserved.

In December 2007, I had an interesting briefing from an unusual company—Parasoft. For 20 years, Parasoft has been delivering solutions that enable the delivery of quality as a continuous process throughout the SDLC. There is one odd-ball in their product portfolio—Parasoft BPEL Maestro, a business process management engine. Jim Clune, Parasoft’s Chief Architect, and Wayne Ariola, Vice President of Strategy and Corporate Development, explained to me that Parasoft see the standard BPEL as a driver for the successful implementation of SOA. Parasoft do not market BPEL Maestro direct to customers but market to other ISVs in an OEM arrangement. Ariola told me that, currently, Parasoft had 5 OEM partners for BPEL Maestro, including Sonic and Data Direct Group.

So who are Parasoft? They are private US Company, which was founded in 1987. They have their Headquarters in Monrovia, California, USA. Development of their product portfolio is carried out both in Monrovia and San Diego in California and also in Novosibirsk in Russia. Parasoft are best known for their software testing tools, such as Parasoft Jtest, SOAtest, WebKing, .TEST, C++test, Insure++ and GRS. They have an impressive set of Alliance partners that include AmberPoint, Borland, HP, IBM, Iona and Sun Microsystems.

What about Parasoft BPEL Maestro? The current version is 3.1. Parasoft BPEL Maestro contains 2 components:

  • BPEL Runtime Engine: The engine runs in a J2EE servlet container such as Tomcat. Versions that run in ESB containers are available for OEM clients. It contains no Java extensions or .NET extensions. Execution is based on BPEL and WSDL, with the WSDL approach to WS.
  • BPEL Toolkit: The toolkit operates as a plug-in within the Eclipse framework and features full support for WS-BPEL 2.0. The editor provides three views of a process with differing levels of granularity. The highest-level view is a graphically-based activity diagram that represents the overall process flow; this view is based on UML activity diagrams. The middle level is a tree structure that reflects the DOM (Document Object Model) of the BPEL process. The lowest level is a syntax-highlighted text editor with browsing capabilities

Parasoft BPEL Maestro implements a WSDL-centric view of Web services. It supports Web services standards such as WSDL, SOAP, XML, HTTP, JMS, WS-Addressing, and WS-I Basic Profile. The produce runs under Windows, Linux, and major UNIX platforms. Additional platforms are available on request.

So what do I think about it? Parasoft BPEL Maestro is a simple development tool that allows an Eclipse trained person to move into the development of SOA business processes. There are some neat pieces of technology and as for support of Web Services standards, Parasoft are to be complimented. Because they are using open standards, it makes easy to integrate with most objects that users require. For Parasoft to get this product to take off they need to get more OEMs to embed Parasoft BPEL Maestro in their solutions.