BPMN Model Interchange: Update

Last summer I posted on the challenge of achieving process model interchange via the BPMN 2.0 standard. In the half year since then, vendor progress toward that goal has been about zero. It seems that vendors, in particular the ones that drove the standard, don't really care about this most fundamental user expectation of any standard. Ah well, no surprise there... But in the past couple weeks, some encouraging developments. Activiti and BonitaSoft - both are open source startups with a BPMN 2.0-based BPMS - have begun to tout BPMN 2.0 import and export. Neither one supports even the Descriptive subclass of the spec (what I call Level 1 in the training), but both vendors are full speed ahead at expanding the capabilities of their process engine. I have downloaded and installed both - an adventure unto itself - and I'll be reporting on both in the days and weeks ahead, along with a fresh look at the latest Oracle BPM11gR1. Oracle is much further along in the engine capabilities, but so far has shown no interest in adopting the final BPMN 2.0 xsd or importing conformant .bpmn files. They had a lead of a year over IBM in terms of BPMN 2.0 support, but they have not made good use of that lever so far. Of the three, Activiti is the most limited right now - no messages or intermediate events, for example - but the part they do is based on the real BPMN 2.0 xsd. BonitaSoft is more functional all around and more "business-oriented" today than Activiti, but I would say they are both aiming at the same target. It will be interesting to see if IBM takes Lombardi Edition in a BPMN 2.0 direction; I'm not sure Phil Gilbert is a believer in its value. If not, when Activiti and BonitaSoft finish the Common Executable subclass of BPMN 2.0, the BPMS marketplace could get very interesting.