Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Active Endpoints aims at greater process design and implementation productivity with ActiveVOS enhancements

Active Endpoints, maker of the ActiveVOS visual orchestration system, has kicked things up a notch with the recent release of ActiveVos 6.1, which incorporates new features and functions designed to make developers more productive.

The latest offering from the Waltham, Mass. company provides what amounts to shrink-wrapped service-oriented architecture (SOA) and provides business process management (BPM) automation, while adhering to business process execution language (BPEL) standards. [Disclosure: Active Endpoints is a sponsor of BriefingsDirect podcasts.]

There's an Active Endpoints podcast on the solution, and a new white paper on SOA implications of the process efficiencies from Dave Linthicum. We also recently did an Analyst Insights podcast on recent BPEL4People work.

Following close on the heels of version 6.0, which debuted in September, and 6.0.2, which made its appearance in December, the newest ActiveVOS offering brings features aimed at smoothing the way for developers. For example, a new tool, the "participant's view," eliminates the need for developers to manually code complex programming constructs like BPEL partner links and BPEL partner link types that are needed to define how services are to be used in a BPM application.

Another major enhancement is "process rewind." At design time, no BPM application can anticipate all of the operational issues and error handling that will be required. Process rewind gives developers the ability to rewind a process to a specific activity and redo the work without having to invoke any of the built-in compensation logic. This allows certain steps of the process need to be “redone” without impacting work already performed.

Among the other improvements:
  • Any-order development, which presents services details as graphical tables into which details can be entered at any time. This is in contrast to earlier systems in which developers needed to know the details in advance.

  • Automatic development, which eases the tasks for developers new to SOA-based BPM. Version 6.1 automatically understands “private” versus “public” web services description language (WSDL) files and creates the required WSDLs in both a standards-compliant mode and a human-understandable format.

  • Improved data handling, which allows developers to visually specify what data is needed in each activity and guides the developer through XPath and XQuery statement generation. The BPEL standard separates assignment of data to activities from the invocation of those activities. While the technical reasons for this are clear to experienced developers, for new developers this can be an impediment.
More information on new features and functions is available on the Active Endpoints "What's New" page on their Web site.

ActiveVOS is available as a perpetual license. In an internal development environment, the price is $5,000 per CPU socket. In a deployment environment, the price is $12,000 per CPU socket when the deployment environment licenses are ordered with a first-time purchase of internal development environment licenses. Annual support and maintenance is 20 percent of total license fees.