BPEL Project by Oracle and IBM – Open Source Eclipse BPEL Plugin

Lucas Jellema 1

My first experience with BPEL was late 2004 using the Oracle BPEL PM and Designer plugin for Eclipse. Afterwards, I have worked primarily with the Oracle JDeveloper BPEL Designer functionality. Just moments ago I was informed of the existence of the BPEL Project – apparently a joint initiative by IBM and Oracle (unexpected bed-fellows?). The objective of the project is to produce an Eclipse plugin that provides ‘comprehensive support for the definition, authoring, editing, deploying, testing and debugging of
WS-BPEL 2.0 processes.’ Very recently, a new milestone for this project was made available for download. It requires Eclipse 3.2 – for which only Release Candidates are available at this moment.

I am in the process of downloading both Eclipse 3.2 and will retrieve the BPEL plugin through the Eclipse update mechanism afterwards, so I am not able to inform you on my experiences with the BPEL Project. The project home page states the following ambitions:

The key pieces of functionality that will be provided are:

  • Designer. A GEF-based editor that provides a graphical means to author BPEL processes.
  • Model. An EMF model that represents the WS-BPEL 2.0 specification.
  • Validation. A validator which operates on the EMF model and produces errors and warnings based on the specification.
  • Runtime Framework. An extensible framework which will allow for deployment and execution of BPEL processes from the tools into a BPEL engine.
  • Debug. A framework which will allow the user to step through the execution of a process, including support for breakpoints.

The implementation will be extensible to third-party vendors in a number of ways. The editor will be extensible to support new activity types, property pages for extensibility of existing constructs, an extensible palette, and product-specific branding capabilities. The runtime deployment framework will be extensible so that third parties may add support for a variety of runtime engines. The model will support extensions to provide new activities or attributes, and the validator will allow for validation of these extensions.

It sounds very interesting. And since I expect the project will leverage existing code from the Oracle BPEL Designer plugin for Eclipse as well as probably IBM tool counterparts the plugin may have a rather rich and stable first release. As soon as I have more details – I will let you know.


Installation instructions can be found at: http://www.eclipse.org/bpel/install.php. It says among other things: We’ve released some code to the BPEL project. This code represents the initial
state of the BPEL editor and model. This isn’t necessarily the complete
contribution – stay tuned to this channel. This contribution doesn’t include
validation, samples, docs, nor any runtime framework or debug code


So it  is very early days. The 1.0 release currently is planned for October 1st (2006).

One thought on “BPEL Project by Oracle and IBM – Open Source Eclipse BPEL Plugin

  1. From information I received later it is clear that while the developers working on the BPEL Project from the Oracle side have an involvement with the Oracle BPEL PM and Designer, there will not be any code reuse – nor will existing IBM code be reused. Of course experience from both ends with the development of the respective Oracle and IBM tools will be brought in, but code will not.

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