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Senin, April 06, 2009

Open Source Business Process Management ( jBPM vs Open WFE vs Enhydra Shark )

Business Process Management(BPM) / Workflow management systems (WFMSs) are software systems which support the execution of business processes in an organisation. They take care of the distribution of work (and associated data) to the right people at the right time. They are configured based on (often graphical) process models. Similar to database management systems.

There is a lot of BPM in Java. But there is only three BPM who usually use. (jBPM, Open WFE and Enhydra Shark).

jBpm is a flexible, extensible workflow management system. Business processes , expressed in a simple and powerfull language and packaged in process archives, serve as input for the jBpm runtime server. jBpm bridges the gap between managers and developers by giving them a common language : the jBpm Process definition language (jPdl).

OpenWFE is an open source java workflow engine. It is a complete Business Process Management suite, with 4 components : an engine, a worklist, a webclient and a reactor (host for automatic agents). A python access library is available : your python application / client can interact with an OpenWFE REST worklist.


Shark is an extendable workflow engine framework including a standard implementation completely based on WfMC specifications using XPDL (without any proprietary extensions !) as its native workflow process definition format and the WfMC "ToolAgents" API for serverside execution of system activitie

If we compare those BPM. there is none of offerings stands out as being clearly superior to the others. although it can be argued that OpenWFE demonstrates a marginally wider range of features, whilst Enhydra Shark and jBPM clearly lag behind in terms of overall patterns support. OpenWFE tend to demonstrate broader pattern support in their corresponding tool classes (i.e. open source vs proprietary), especially in the control-flow perspective. Moreover, it can also be observed that the proprietary tools are generally better equipped in the resource perspective and better able to support interaction with the external environment, whereas the open source systems essentially rely on their users having programming experience (e.g.
Java) to achieve the required integration with other systems. In the data perspective jBPM, relying heavily on Java coding for data passing and manipulation, clearly lags behind the other offerings.

Overall one can conclude that the open source systems are geared more towards developers than business analysts. If one is proficient with Java, jBPM may be a good choice, although if not, choosing jBPM is less advisable. Similarly,
whilst OpenWFE has a powerful language for workflow specification in terms of its support for the workflow patterns, we postulate that it will be difficult to understand by non-programmers. Finally, Endydra Shark’s minimalistic support
for the workflow patterns may require complicated work-arounds for capturing nontrivial business scenarios. This situation is a marked contrast to the database field where open source database management systems are accessible to
a much broader audience.

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