Intalio Expands Open Source BPM

although that proposal, discussed previously on BPMS Watch here, is 15 months later still just a vague "white paper," not a spec. It is not clear, for instance, whether Tempo implements all of the process-task configurations described by the white paper. IBM and SAP previously indicated that support for all of the configurations would be required for "compliance."

Both of these donations are important, but in different ways, in my opinion. The modeler is important by adding to the momentum behind BPMN as a modeling standard that can be shared by business analysts and developers. There are a number of free BPMN diagramming tools, but this one is not only free but open source. That means it works as is, but you are free to modify the source code. So we can expect others to improve it, and other vendors to incorporate it in their own BPM tools.

The developer connection here is key. Let's face it, most business analysts have probably never heard of Eclipse, much less the Eclipse Foundation. But conversely, most developers have not yet made the connection that with BPMN, the model can actually generate the BPEL code. That code generation is not in the open source tool - it's just a diagramming tool at this point - but the idea of business-driven process implementation will definitely be advanced here. This was the original "Third Wave" idea, and Intalio is vigorously pursuing the open source approach to achieving that goal.

The Tempo donation is potentially more significant, because the omission of human workflow from the BPEL 2.0 spec remains a major reason why BPEL models for real business processes are not portable, and one of the reasons (the others are frankly commercial) why most BPMS vendors disdain BPEL. If Tempo implements even part of BPEL4People it is probably the first offering to do so, open source or not. If that offering can build any kind of critical mass, it might at least wake up those slackers at OASIS and get them to put a real spec behind it.

The STP BPMN Modeler is available at Intalio will present training on it at EclipseCon 2007 in Santa Clara in March.

Note added 11/30:

Intalio informs me that the link to Tempo is Taking a look, it appears that Tempo implements one of the 5 configurations (Intalio correctly calls them "constellations") referenced in the IBM-SAP white paper, the one that uses standard BPEL Invoke instead of the proposed new People activity type. That makes sense, since the other 4 "break" standard BPEL 2.0 engines. Sensible, but IBM and SAP would not call that "compliant." I'm hoping Intalio will get their PR guys to put the Tempo news out in the trade press, given IBM and SAP's lack of urgency on promoting BPEL4People as a standard.