BPEL Process Invocation from different UI’s – Best Practices

In my previous thread I’ve talked about different tips & tricks when working with ESB, BPEL, ODI, Flex, etc.

One of these tips was tips & tricks on invocation of BPEL Processes when using different UI approaches.

A very understable explanation given by ‘Hajo Normann’ about this:


It is best practice to use the default ways to invoke a BPEL process –
create a WSDL that maps to WSIF binding in a controlled environment and to a
SOAP/HTTP binding in a more B2B type of scenario. A call to the BPEL API would
be a “custom” solution that needs way more governance to communicate with fellow
developers and to maintain properly, when compared to the straightforward
standard way.

So, I suggest to use the API only if you desperately need
to optimize and found the default implementations violating your SLAs.

Let’s have a look at the technical implications:

If you run your presentation logic in the same Java VM as your BPEL process, you would use the default mechanism of invoking the process with the default WSDL. Under the hood, the middleware creates WSIF bindings that
- are extremely memory friendly, because no redundant memory is allocated (the middleware passes a reference to the Java object)
- share transactions

In this scenario I see no advantage of calling the API.

If you run your presentation logic in an other Java VM as your BPEL process in a controlled environment, you would still benefit from using the default mechanism of invoking the process with his default WSDL. Under the hood, the middleware creates WSIF bindings that

- serialize the passed Java objects and, on the BPEL side, create the BPEL DOM
implementations that make up the BPEL instance variables. This causes a performance and memory penalty you have to pay
- share transactions

I haven’t seen any benchmarks regarding this or haven’t received more information of the Oracle Development Team so hopefully this will start up a big discussion ;o)

Invoke an ESB Service in your User Interface and display the response of this service

How can you bind an ESB Service in your User Interface and more specifically how can I call an ESB Routing Service and get the Result back in my UI?

Let’s say I’m developing a JSF Application and I want to use my existing ESB Services for my binding layer. The way you bind a webservice inside a JSF Application can be resolved in 2 different ways:

  • Create a Webservice Data Control
  • Create a Web Service Proxy and call the endpoint of the webservice with a valid parameter using for example a backing bean

OK, now I’m able to call an ESB Service but how can I get the response of this service back into my User Interface …

You need to create a two-way ESB Routing Service, meaning you need to define a request- and response-operation in your routing service.
E.g. You’re invoking a select on a table and the resultset needs to be displayed in your UI. In other words you want to show a list of employees in your user interface, and this list is bound to an esb service.

The steps you need to perform to get this working:

  • Create a new ESB Project
  • Define a system/group for you Esb Services (in this way it isn’t published to the default system)
  • Create a Database Adapter where you define a select statement on a given table
  • Define a new Routing Service where you define the request parameter, being the selectInputParameters-tag which is provided in the xsd that was generated for your DB Adapter and the reply parameter of the Routing Service is the collection returned by this same xsd.
  • Publish the ESB Service to your ESB Server

Now you can test this ESB Service to see that the resultset of the database adapter is returned by your routing service.

The next step is to define a UI where we can call this ESB Service, the steps you need to perform:

  • Create a new project and define a new JSF-page in this project
  • Create a Web Service Data Control ‘which can be found in the ‘Business Tier’ categorie of the ‘new gallery’
  • In step 1 you need to define a meaningfull name for the web service and in the URL you need to copy/paste the ‘Concrete WSDL URL’ of your routing service which is available through the ESB Control’. Then click browse to get the methods/operations available in the ESB Service and click next
  • In step 2 you need to choose the operation ‘execute’ and add it to the ‘selected’ area, click next
  • Click finish

Now you’re almost there, you’ve defined the web service data control which let’s you bind your UI to your ESB Service. The last thing you need to do now is to create a jsf-page and drag and drop your object inside the jsf-page:

  • Create a JSF-page
  • Drag-and-drop a PanelPage component inside the JSF page to have a nice lay-out
  • Go to the Control Palette and choose the ‘employees’-collection, your resulting objects of the db adapter, and drag-and-drop it into your jsf page.
  • Choose a table-component to have a nice view of your data

And now it’s show time … run the page in your embedded container and have a look at how esb services can be seamlessly integrated into your UI.