Problem: creating and maintaining robust business systems
Creating a proof-of-concept business system is relatively easy. Happy execution path, no catastrophic failures, not much thought given to reliability. Data is easily kept in a few tables. Scale is not important.
This all starts changing, however, when this starts maturing. The logic needs to be maintained and kept in sync with business needs. Corner cases nobody thought of or tested for keep appearing. Failures do occur. Incosistent state happens. Suddenly (but arguably, expectably), developers are burdended with a lot more work. Onboarding becomes more difficult as understanding the intricacies of the system takes longer.
Ultimately, the cost of development and shipping keeps rising, while velocity is coming down. And that’s a problem.
BPXE: Business Process eXecution Engine
BPXE is a BPMN 2.0-based business process execution engine and is a proposed solution to the problem statement above.
BPMN stands for Business Process Model and Notation. It is a specification that defines visual notation and execution semantics.
BPXE focuses on the execution aspect of such notation, effectively allowing the processes described in BPMN to function as if they were programs. BPXE is not the only such engine, as there are many commercially or community supported ones.
Having visualized processes that are also determinisitcally executable is key to maintaining a coherent understanding of what the process is supposed to do across teams and specialties.
Processes as Source of Truth
Equally important aspect of BPXE is that it makes processes and their executions a durable source of truth. This means that process instances can query previous executions of any processes to make further decisions.
As an example, consider a Purchasing process, which chooses a special path if it queries previous execution and finds out that when given the same or similar shopping cart, majority of those process executions were abandoned (i.e. customer did not complete a purchase). This kind of logic can be easily integrated into a process and updated as needed, giving a much better level of insight and control at a much lower modification cost.
- Reasonably good performance
- Small footprint
- Multiplatform (servers, browsers, microcontrollers)
- Multitenancy capabilities
- Distributed process execution
- Semantic correctness
- Failure resistance
At this time, BPXE does not have an executable server of its own and can be only used as a Go library.
Licensing & Contributions
BPXE is Open Source software in the making. Its source code is currently available under the terms of Business Source License 1.1 with an Additional Use Grant for non-commercial purposes. Moreover, according to the terms of this license, every release of BPXE will eventually be re-licensed under the terms of Apache 2.0 license, on its fourth anniversary.