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Workflow Design Requirements, BPEL and Partner Service Design -The Importance of Standards, Best Practices and Special Considerations for Optimized Orchestration

Asif Akram, David Meredith

Journal Special Issue Edited
May, 2007

Of critical importance to building an effective and optimised workflow is; a) an understanding of the requirements of a workflow (and of a composition language), b) an effective workflow implementation that addresses these requirements, and c) the chosen style of partner Web services for their subsequent orchestration. In particular, we show how BPEL activities can be used to address these workflow requirements (Business Process Execution Language), which is widely regarded as the de-facto standard for Web service orchestration. We also show how different Web service standards, and some best practices / special considerations are critical when developing Web services for their use in workflows. We address the use of (standalone) Web services for use as partner services within BPEL. In particular, we show how different Web service styles and different approaches to Web service data binding and data typing must be carefully considered in order to successfully address the requirements of BPEL. In addition, we also discuss the use of the BPEL and Web services for managing real scientific workflows. We describe some (common) scientific workflow requirements and show how some limitations of Web services and BPEL in these scenarios. We provide examples and recommendations based on our experiences in developing Web services and workflows for large-scale scientific facilities and research projects in the UK built & maintained by Ashok Argent-Katwala.