BPML, proposed by the Business Process Management Initiative (BPMI), which features Popkin as an author and member, provides a standard for the modelling of executable end-to-end business processes. It supports XML schema-based definitions for streamlining communications among systems and modelling tools used in Web services.
However BPML overlaps with a newly introduced specification, Business Process Execution Language for Web Services (BPEL4WS), proposed by industry heavyweights IBM, Microsoft, and BEA Systems in August. IBM and BEA are both members of BPMI.
BPEL4WS "competes directly with BPML," said Martin Owen, head of consulting at Popkin in the UK and the company's BPMI representative. "Both serve the same purpose. There's a lot of overlap between the two," Owen said.
BPML has a two-year to three-year lead in development over BPEL4WS, but neither specification can be considered superior to the other at the moment, he said. Popkin has been examining both standards and talks about cooperation between the two camps have been ongoing, Owen said. Popkin is examining both standards and intends to comply with all modelling techniques in its tool, Owen said.
Proponents of BPML have been supportive of BPEL4WS, saying the two specifications are so similar technically that they are likely to converge.
BPML, which is still in draft form, is intended to provide a generic language based on XML that is machine-readable, so business processes can be executed on systems such as business process management servers, Owen said. BPML handles messages between processes.
A version of System Architect featuring support for BPML 1.0 is expected to ship by the end of the year. The tool integrates business processes, objects, and data models into a single blueprint of an organisation's information infrastructure, according to Popkin. Businesses can use the tool to measure the progress of IT investments.