In today’s world, business requirements and technologies will continuously be changing. Successful adaption is a consequence of experience, insight and good process.
I have finally decided to write down my experience of working with WLI (one of my favourite orchestration and integration solutions). When I look back now, it is amazing how we were able to solve some of the very complex business problems by using WLI as part of the IT solution.
The growing pains:
It was called WebLogic Process Integrator (WLPI) back in 1999-2000. It was BEA’s first step into the BPM world… BEA’s new acquisition called JFlow and rewritten in J2EE and renamed as WLPI. One of our clients at that time decided to use it for integration and orchestration (workflows)…a bold move considering it was still a beta version!!
I was a part of the BEA professional services team assigned this daunting task (it was something I could really sink my teeth into). The project (thankfully !) was successfully implemented in production with WLPI 1.2.1.
This version of WLI had a very basic design studio, (flowchart like widgets.. not exactly what you want). It had the capability to design and monitor long running processes with very basic worklist capabilities. I still remember the pain involved in just setting up the development environment.
The workflow templates were stored in database tables and once a workflow was in the production environment, promoting any changes to the workflows was a challenging task. Some developers in the team actually created a script to promote the old tables to new tables.
In other words there were a lot of workarounds and customization required to implement even a simple workflow. Did the client make a right decision about choosing WLI..? I definitely think so… this solution was successfully running and was operational on the same version for many years. Recently we have implemented the processes in ALSB/ALDSP/WLI 9… that was even more fun because we were able to see the maturity of the technology and standards.