In previous months, I discussed the concepts of service-oriented architecture (SOA). I covered three main business process management languages: BPEL (Business Process Execution Language), Business Process Modeling Language (BPML) and also Business Process Specification Schema (BPSS) for ebXML. These business process management languages can be used to generate executable XML-based code directly from workflow diagrams or process models. This month I will discuss Business Process Modeling Notation (BPMN) - a process modeling diagramming standard.

Business Process Modeling Notation is emerging as a way to specify business process models and diagrams for any business process management language. As the following extract from the BPMN Specifications states: "Businesspeople are very comfortable with visualizing business processes in a flow-chart format. There are thousands of business analysts studying the way companies work and defining business processes with simple flow charts. This creates a technical gap between the format of the initial design of business processes and the format of the languages, such as BPEL4WS, that will execute these business processes. This gap needs to be bridged with a formal mechanism that maps the appropriate visualization of the business processes (a notation) to the appropriate execution format (a business process management execution language) for these business processes. Inter-operation of business processes at the human level, rather than the software engine level, can be solved with standardization of the Business Process Modeling Notation (BPMN). BPMN provides a Business Process Diagram (BPD), which is a diagram designed for use by the people who design and manage business processes. BPMN also provides a formal mapping to an execution language of BPM Systems (BPEL4WS). Thus, BPMN would provide a standard visualization mechanism for business processes defined in an execution-optimized business process language."1

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