IBM Sterling B2B Integrator and BPML

Having a foundational grasp of BPML fundamentals is crucial for enhancing comprehension of Sterling B2B Integrator. It aids in streamlining monitoring, troubleshooting, business process modeling, and process analysis tasks.

BPML, an XML-based language, serves to depict and execute business processes. Each business process is outlined in a distinct BPML document termed as a business process model (.bpml or .bp file). These models represent the blueprint of how processes operate within Sterling B2B Integrator.

This discussion elucidates the fundamental constituents of BPML, empowering you to recognize these elements during routine interactions with Sterling B2B Integrator operations.

What Is Process Data?

Understanding process data and its associated concepts is essential for configuring business process models effectively.

Process data refers to the information related to a business process that accumulates in an XML document, as instructed in the BPML, throughout the process’s lifecycle. Business process creators utilize process data to manipulate crucial pieces of information necessary for completing process activities.

Here’s how to process data functions:

  • The BPML structure of business process models always includes a placeholder (root node) for process data.
  • Business process model creators configure services and activities to populate information in-process data and to access and utilize that data to fulfill process activities.
  • The specific configuration details dictate how these activities unfold.
  • The data processed through a service in a step comprises both process data and the primary document.
  • The type of information placed in process data varies depending on the service configuration and the task being performed.

Process data typically encompasses:

1. Information extracted from a document to determine the subsequent step in a process.
2. Configuration-assigned information, such as map names or extraction directories, aiding service performance but not part of the primary document.
3. Document-related or processing-related details, like content type indicators or sender information, assisting service execution and specific to the document.

XPath can be utilized in process models to access information within process data, including primary document content, even when the primary document is not in XML format. Additionally, complex hierarchical data can be directly represented within process data.

While services ideally access the primary document, bypassing the need for process data in a step, complex processes often necessitate the efficient utilization of process data.

BPML

Basic BPML activities support communication between a business process and its participants. These activities fall into three main categories:

  1. Produce: Initiates the sending of messages to participants asynchronously.
  2. Consume: Handles the reception of messages from participants asynchronously.
  3. Operation: Facilitates the synchronous exchange of messages with participants.

Complex BPML Activities

A complex activity is formed by combining simple activities, which function as child activities within the overarching complex activity. These child activities may themselves be simple or complex.

Each process element is limited to containing only one parent complex activity, which encompasses all the necessary simple and complex activities for completing the business process.

There exist three types of complex activities:

  1. Sequence (Serial)
  2. Choice (Conditional)
  3. All (Parallel)

Sequence Activity: In a sequence activity, a series of child activities are executed in the order they are listed. All child activities run during the process, and the sequence activity concludes only after the final child activity is completed.

Choice Activity: The choice activity makes decisions within the business process model and executes only one of its contained child activities based on predefined conditions.

All Activity: Containing two or more complex child activities, the all activity executes all of them simultaneously. It completes only after all child activities have finished.

Additionally:

Rule Element: This element defines a rule, including the conditions under which the rule is met and its dependency on other rules.

Condition Element: The contents of the condition element must align with an XPath expression.

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