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OASIS Charter Proposal: BPEL4People Technical Committee

OASIS Charter Proposal: BPEL4People Technical Committee

Date:          Mon, 14 Jan 2008 21:31:51 -0500
From:          Mary McRae <>
To:  ,
Subject:       Proposed Charter for OASIS BPEL4People TC

To OASIS Members:

A draft TC charter has been submitted to establish the WS-BPEL Extension for People (BPEL4People) Technical Committee. In accordance with the OASIS TC Process Policy section 2.2 (, the proposed charter is hereby submitted for comment. The comment period shall remain open until 11:45 pm ET on 28-January-2008.

OASIS maintains a mailing list for the purpose of submitting comments on proposed charters. Any OASIS member may post to this list by sending email to: All messages will be publicly archived at: Members who wish to receive emails must join the group by selecting "join group" on the group home page [at] Employees of organizational members do not require primary representative approval to subscribe to the oasis-charter-discuss mailing list.

A telephone conference will be held among the Convener, the OASIS TC Administrator, and those proposers who wish to attend within four days of the close of the comment period. The announcement and call-in information will be noted on the OASIS Charter Discuss Group Calendar.

We encourage member comment and ask that you note the name of the proposed TC (BPEL4People) in the subject line of your email message.



Mary P McRae
Manager of TC Administration, OASIS
phone: 603.232.9090

Proposed Charter for Review and Comment

1a. Name (and abbreviation) of the Technical Committee

OASIS WS-BPEL Extension for People (BPEL4People) Technical Committee

1b. Statement of Purpose

The purpose of the WS-BPEL Extension for People (BPEL4People) Technical Committee (TC) is to define:

  1. extensions to the OASIS WS-BPEL 2.0 Standard to enable human interactions
  2. a model of human interactions that are service-enabled

This work will be carried out through continued refinement of the BPEL4People and WS-HumanTask specifications (see the References section) to be submitted to the TC as referenced later in this charter.

1c. Scope of Work

The TC will accept as input Version 1.0 of the BPEL4People specification, and Version 1.0 of the WS-HumanTask specification as published by Adobe, Active Endpoints, BEA, IBM, Oracle and SAP AG (see the References section).

Other contributions and changes to the input documents will be accepted for consideration without any prejudice or restrictions and evaluated based on technical merit in so far as they conform to this charter. OASIS members with extensive experience and knowledge in related areas are particularly invited to participate.

This work will focus on:

  • Defining the specification of a WS-BPEL extension enabling the definition of human interactions ("human tasks") as part of a WS-BPEL process
  • Defining the specification of a model enabling the definition of human tasks that are exposed as Web services
  • Defining a programming interface enabling human task client applications to work with human tasks

WS-BPEL Extension (BPEL4People Specification)

The WS-BPEL Extension Specification will define the following:

  • Concept of people activity
  • Composition model for human tasks and processes supporting at least the following:
    • Inline human tasks in one people activity of a WS-BPEL process, without re-use
    • Inline human tasks in a WS-BPEL process for re-use in multiple people activities
    • Standalone human tasks for re-use in multiple WS-BPEL processes. The life-cycle of processes and human tasks is tightly coupled using the coordination protocol implemented in a vendor specific manner
    • Standalone human tasks for re-use in multiple WS-BPEL processes. The life-cycle of processes and human tasks is tightly coupled using the coordination protocol and protocol service standardized by WS-HumanTask.
    • Standalone human tasks, without using a particular coordination protocol, callable using plain Web services means, for re-use between WS-BPEL processes (invokes) and other Web services clients
  • Concept of inline human tasks within a people activity and within a WS-BPEL process. Inline human tasks within a WS-BPEL process can be reused by different people activities within that process
  • Allow people activity to reference a standalone human task (introduced in WS-HumanTask)
  • Concept of people activity context and mechanism to access the context from the people activity definition and from elsewhere in the enclosing scope
  • Semantics of people activity states and lifecycle:
    • States and basic operations for people activities aligned with the corresponding states and operations of standalone human tasks
  • Concept of generic human roles for processes
  • Definition of process specific people assignments
  • Mechanism to use logical people groups in WS-BPEL assignments
  • Support for time-based conditions on people activities, e.g., deferred activation of a human task
  • Support of specific interaction patterns:
    • Four-eyes principle (a.k.a. separation of duties)
  • Enablement of human tasks to access context information from the surrounding process including previous people activities and the corresponding human tasks.
  • Extension mechanism
  • Ad-hoc Attachments

Human Task Enablement (WS-HumanTask Specification)

The WS-Human Task Specification will define the following:

  • Concept of human tasks (i.e., tasks and notifications) as an explicit entity independent from any process definition
  • Concept of human task context and mechanism to access the context from the task definition
  • Concept of generic human roles for human tasks
  • Concept of logical people groups as an abstraction for assigned people used to hide access to organizational directories
  • Definition of people assignments
  • Data types representing individuals associated with human tasks
  • Semantics of task states and task lifecycle
  • Basic operations (API) for client application interactions with human tasks
  • Coordination protocol for processes (or other applications) interacting with human tasks
  • Handling of deadlines including escalation
  • Support of specific interaction patterns:
    • Nomination
    • Delegation
    • Escalation
  • Extension mechanism

Potential Additional Features

In addition to the specification features described above, the TC may explore the inclusion of the following features and topics, providing that the technical approach chosen does not contradict the scope described above:

  • Single user screen flow (chained execution)
  • Workflow patterns commonly encountered in document-centric and people-centric workflows including:
    • Sequential approval through a management chain
    • Parallel approval and voting
    • Approval management, group vote
    • Pushback
    • RequestInfo
  • Basic operations (API) for client application interactions with WS-BPEL processes (e.g., adding or deleting attachments)

Out of Scope

The following is a non-exhaustive list. It is provided only for the sake of clarity. If some function, mechanism or feature is not mentioned here, and is not mentioned in the Scope of Work section either, then it will be deemed to be out of scope.

The following items are specifically out of scope of the work of the TC:

  • Authorization definitions
  • Deployment
  • Monitoring
  • Organizational directories (e.g., Human Resources)
    • Definition of such directories
    • Specific mechanisms (including protocols) to query such directories
  • Task execution rendering and definition of user interface elements

1d. Deliverables

The TC has the following set of deliverables:

  • A revised BPEL4People specification and associated schema. A Committee Specification is targeted for completion within 18 months of the first TC meeting.
  • A revised WS-HumanTask specification with associated schema. A Committee Specification is targeted for completion within 18 months of the first TC meeting.

These specifications will reflect refinements, corrections or material technological improvements with respect to the input documents and in accordance with this charter.


Once the TC has completed work on a deliverable and it has become an OASIS Standard, the TC will enter "maintenance mode" for the deliverable.

The purpose of maintenance mode is to provide minor revisions to previously adopted deliverables to clarify ambiguities, inconsistencies and obvious errors. Maintenance mode is not intended to enhance a deliverable or to extend its functionality.

The TC will collect issues raised against the deliverables and periodically process those issues. Issues that request or require new or enhanced functionality shall be marked as enhancement requests and set aside. Issues that result in the clarification or correction of the deliverables shall be processed. The TC shall maintain a list of these adopted clarifications and shall periodically create a new minor revision of the deliverables including these updates. Periodically, but at least once a year, the TC shall produce and vote upon a new minor revision of the deliverables.

1e. IPR Mode

This TC will operate under the "RF (Royalty Free) on Limited Terms" IPR mode as defined in the OASIS Intellectual Property Rights (IPR) Policy.

1f. Anticipated Audience

The anticipated audience for the documents produced by this TC includes:

  • Software vendors supporting WS-BPEL 2.0
  • Software vendors offering products to support human-centric processes
  • Software developers, architects and other roles involved with design, development, deployment and maintenance of WS-BPEL applications and human-centric processes

1g. TC Language

TC business will be conducted in English.

2. Required Non-Normative Information

2a. Similar or Related Work

The BPEL4People specification and the WS-HumanTask specification may have dependencies on different technologies, such as:

  • BPEL4People: WS-HumanTask, WS-BPEL, WSDL, XPath, and XML Schema
  • WS-HumanTask: WSDL, XML Schema, XPath, WS-Addressing, WS-Coordination, WS-Policy

The TC will decide which version of these specifications will be used in their final work.

Liaisons will be established with other OASIS Technical Committees as determined appropriate by the members of the Technical Committee as work proceeds.

2b. Date, Time, and Location of First Meeting

Date: March 4, 2008
Time: 11:00 EDT
Duration: 2 hours
Mode: Teleconference
Telephone: Dial-in TBD
Sponsor: Oracle

2c. Projected Meeting Schedule

It is anticipated that the BPEL4People TC will regularly meet via teleconference (e.g., weekly or bi-weekly) at a time determined by the TC members during the TC's first meeting. It is anticipated that the BPEL4People TC will regularly meet face to face, every quarter if needed, at a time and location to be determined by the TC members.

2d. TC Supporters

The following eligible individuals are in support of this proposal:

2e. TC Convenor

The TC Convener is Jeff Mischkinsky, Oracle

2f. Member Section Affiliation

The TC does not intend to affiliate with an OASIS Member Section.

2g. Anticipated Contributions

It is expected that Active Endpoints, Adobe, BEA, IBM, Oracle, and SAP AG will contribute the BPEL4People v1 and WS-HumanTask v1 specifications [1-6] and any other related documents such as errata, and that such documents will be the starting point contribution for initiating the work of this TC.



Prepared by Robin Cover for The XML Cover Pages archive. See the source, and the main reference document for the BPEL4People specification.

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