Open source BPEL engines review. Introduction

In this article, I try to review and compare several open source BPEL engines written in java.


According to wikipedia, Business process management (BPM) is a method of efficiently aligning an organization with the wants and needs of clients. It is a holistic management approach that promotes business effectiveness and efficiency while striving for innovation, flexibility and integration with technology. As organizations strive for attainment of their objectives, BPM attempts to continuously improve processes - the process to define, measure and improve your processes - a 'process optimization' process.

In the universe of tools and products that try to support this methodology, several standards showed up, like XML Process Definition Language (XPDL), Yet Another Workflow Language (YAWL) and Business Process Execution Language (BPEL). Each has a different background, motivation, history, etc, but in a simplified view, we can think on them as competitors. And, in this competence, and without technical evaluations, ability to support workflow patterns, etc, a lot of people in specialized press has considered BPEL as the "winner" for a practical reason: the support from biggest software companies, like BEA Systems, Commerce One, E2open, EDS, IBM, Microsoft, NEC, Novell, SAP, SeeBeyond, Sybase, Tibco Software, Vignette, Waveset, and others.

Besides sharing or not that vision about winners and losers, and not necessarily being my opinion, is about products supporting this standard that the analysis will be done.


In open source world, there are several projects, with different maturity, that try to implement a BPEL engine in java. Of course you're free to choose any, and even change between them as they all run the same code, experience has shown several times that this isn't always true, or this is not always that easy (any similarity with J2EE compliant application servers is not casual). So, the first choice is very important to improve chances of success for the process, and avoid costly changes on an ongoing process.

Important notes:

In a previous analysis, and probably arbitrarily, I've chosen 4 implementations for this review. Of course, I accept suggestions about others, but I'd like this to be justified, and showing some "quality" on them.

Selected projects

There are some other projects that are now abandoned, and that in some cases derived into another, and are out of review here, like:


The BPEL current standard is actually called WS-BPEL 2.0. The previous versions is known as BPEL4WS 1.1.

This standards use SOAP 1.1, WSDL 1.1, WS-I Basic Profile 1.1, XML Schema 1.0, XPath 1.0, and XSLT 1.0.

OSS BPEL engines review

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