- Lehrstuhl für Praktische Informatik (2)
The CHORCH Approach: How to Model B2Bi Choreographies for Orchestration Execution
- The establishment and implementation of cross-organizational business processes is an implication of today's market pressure for efficiency gains.
In this context, Business-To-Business integration (B2Bi) focuses on the information integration aspects of business processes.
A core task of B2Bi is providing adequate models that capture the message exchanges between integration partners.
Following the terminology used in the SOA domain, such models will be called choreographies in the context of this work.
Despite the enormous economic importance of B2Bi, existing choreography languages fall short of fulfilling all relevant
requirements of B2Bi scenarios.
Dedicated B2Bi choreography standards allow for inconsistent outcomes of basic interactions and
do not provide unambiguous semantics for advanced interaction models.
In contrast to this, more formal or technical choreography languages may provide unambiguous modeling semantics,
but do not offer B2Bi domain concepts or an adequate level of abstraction.
Defining valid and complete B2Bi choreography models becomes a challenging task in the face of these shortcomings.
At the same time, invalid or underspecified choreography definitions are particularly costly considering the organizational
setting of B2Bi scenarios.
Models are not only needed to bridge the typical gap between business and IT,
but also as negotiation means among the business users of the integration partners on the one hand
and among the IT experts of the integration partners on the other.
Misunderstandings between any two negotiation partners potentially affect the agreements between all other negotiation partners.
The CHORCH approach offers tailored support for B2Bi by combining the strengths of both dedicated B2Bi standards and formal rigor.
As choreography specification format, the ebXML Business Process Specification Schema (ebBP) standard is used.
ebBP provides dedicated B2Bi domain concepts such as so-called BusinessTransactions (BTs) that abstractly specify the exchange of a request business document
and an optional response business document.
In addition, ebBP provides a format for specifying the sequence of BT executions for capturing complex interaction scenarios.
CHORCH improves the offering of ebBP in several ways.
Firstly, the execution model of BTs which allows for inconsistent outcomes among the integration partners
is redefined such that only consistent outcomes are possible.
Secondly, two binary choreography styles are defined as B2Bi implementation contract format in order to streamline implementation projects.
Both choreography styles are formalized and provided with a formal execution semantics for ensuring unambiguity.
In addition, validity criteria are defined that ensure implementability using BPEL-based orchestrations.
Thirdly, the analysis of the synchronization dependencies of complex B2Bi scenarios is supported
by means of a multi-party choreography style combined with an analysis framework.
This choreography style also is formalized and standard state machine semantics are reused in order to ensure unambiguity.
Moreover, validity criteria are defined that allow for analyzing corresponding models for typical multi-party choreography issues.
Altogether, CHORCH provides choreography styles that are B2Bi adequate, simple, unambiguous, and implementable.
The choreography styles are B2Bi adequate in providing B2Bi domain concepts, in abstracting from low-level implementation details
and in covering the majority of real-world B2Bi scenarios.
Simplicity is fostered by using state machines as underlying specification paradigm.
This allows for thinking in the states of a B2Bi scenario and for simple control flow structures.
Unambiguity is provided by formal execution semantics whereas implementability (for the binary choreography styles) is ensured by providing
mapping rules to BPEL-based implementations.
The validation of CHORCH's choreography styles is performed in a twofold way.
Firstly, the implementation of the binary choreography styles based on Web Services and BPEL technology is demonstrated
which proves implementability using relatively low-cost technologies.
Moreover, the analysis algorithms for the multi-party choreography styles are validated using a Java-based prototype.
Secondly, an abstract visualization of the choreography styles based on BPMN is provided that abstracts from
the technicalities of the ebBP standard.
This proves the amenability of CHORCH to development methods that start out with visual models.
CHORCH defines how to use BPMN choreographies for the purpose of B2Bi choreography modeling
and translates the formal rules for choreography validity into simple composition rules that
demonstrate valid ways of connecting the respective modeling constructs.
In summary, CHORCH allows integration partners to start out with a high-level visual model of their interactions in BPMN
that identifies the types and sequences of the BusinessTransactions to be used.
For multi-party choreographies, a framework for analyzing synchronization dependencies then is available.
For binary choreographies, an ebBP refinement can be derived that fills in the technical parameters that are needed for deriving the implementation.
Finally, Web Services and BPEL based implementations can be generated.
Thus, CHORCH allows for stepwise closing the semantic gap between the information perspective of business process models
and the corresponding implementations.
It is noteworthy that CHORCH uses international standards throughout all relevant layers, i.e., BPMN, ebBP, Web Services and BPEL,
which helps in bridging the heterogeneous IT landscapes of B2Bi partners.
In addition, the adoption of core CHORCH deliverables as international standards of the RosettaNet community
give testament to the practical relevance and promise dissemination throughout the B2Bi community.
QoS-Enabled B2B Integration
- Business-To-Business Integration (B2Bi) is a key mechanism for enterprises to gain competitive advantage. However, developing B2Bi applications is far from trivial. Inter alia, agreement among integration partners about the business documents and the control flow of business document exchanges as well as applying suitable communication technologies for overcoming heterogeneous IT landscapes are major challenges. At the same time, choreography languages such as ebXML BPSS (ebBP), orchestration languages such as WS-BPEL and Web Services are promising to provide the foundations for seamless interactions among business partners. Automatically translating choreography agreements of integration partners into partner-specific orchestrations is an obvious idea for ensuring conformance of orchestration models to choreography models. Moreover, the application of such model-driven development methods facilitates productivity and cost-effectiveness whereas applying a service oriented architecture (SOA) based on WS-BPEL and Web Services leverages standardization and decoupling. By now, the realization of QoS attributes has not yet received the necessary attention that makes such approaches suitable for B2Bi. In this report, we describe a proof-of-concept implementation of the translation of ebBP choreographies into WS-BPEL orchestrations that respects B2Bi-relevant QoS attributes.