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A Practical “Acid” Test for Business Semantics: Converting Workflows into Guided Procedures

OK – I’ve already learned enough in BIT600 to ask dangerous questions, or at least ask dumb questions that may not be so dumb after all. (Just wait till I finish 601 next week – watch out! ) IF BPEL is “ready-for-prime-time” as a universal language, shouldn’t it be possible to take any pre-NW workflow, translate it into BPEL, and then forward generate the results into an NW guided procedure? If so, how come SAP hasn’t come out with the migration tool yet? It seems to me that this would be the single most important development effort that SAP could possibly engage in at this stage in the company’s history. If not, then what is/are the problem(s)? Could it be that too much business semantics is still expressed in business syntax, both on the workflow side and the guided procedure side, and that there are inconsistencies at the syntactic level, even if there are none at the semantic level? Or are there also inconsistencies at the semantic level that can’t be negotiated by an intermediate BPEL translator? (Actually, I should say “transducer”, in deference to the early theoreticians of context-free languages and compilers.)

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