After a series of announcements last month JBoss has announced JBoss jBPM, their first step into business process management.
They have taken the Java Business Process Management project (jBPM), founded by Tom Baeyens, and made changes so that it meets the stringent requirements of its professional open source environment. Version 1 of jBPM was released in December 2003 so this first JBoss version is known as jBPM V2.0.
jPBM is a workflow engine that can be incorporated into Java projects with ease, and is designed to scale to support the most complex workflow patterns. It is built to support its own internal process definition language (JPDL) which is designed to support all the major standards and specifications, most importantly BPEL, but also BPELJ, BPML, BPSS, ebXML, WSCI and XPDL. In the next release it is intended to support BPEL natively.
jBPM is a standard Java application and will run on top of any suitable Java engine including IBM and BEA, as well as the JBoss Application Server. By definition this should be true but it is also good news for enterprises that are interested in jBPM but already have an application server installed and do not, at least in the short term, wish to add further to their complexity. It is also good for JBoss as it gives it a potential foot in the door which it may be able to use to promote other products.
JBoss plan to ship V3 within a year which, besides the native BPEL, will include a comprehensive workflow management system (rather than just an engine), a BPM GUI using Eclipse (following JBoss's recent joining of the Eclipse foundation), and integration with JBoss Nukes (their portal).
To ensure that jBPM continues to progress successfully, Tom Baeyens has joined JBoss as an IT architect and will continue to guide jBPM development.
This announcement shows JBoss's determination to be a major, and growing, player in the Java server space. jBPM V2 makes it attractive for ISV and enterprises to investigate this technology in more depth including some deployments. However, I think that V3 will make it a real contender in this space.
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