Whilst I guess that we were awaiting announcements from IMPACT 2011 of changes in the WLE/WPS/ILOG stable this announcement – at least in this form – did come as a bit of a surprise.
On the whole it all seems very reasonable and it may even be exciting though we probably need to see a little more of the detail before we can be absolutely sure about that. Certainly it does seem that this release will do a lot to bring WLE and WPS much closer together which I think most people were expecting as completely necessary.
The overview/highlights talk about many things and it isn’t at all clear which are completely new features and which are existing features that IBM are putting a new spin on and/or may be WLE features available to WPS users for the first time or vice versa. On balance it seems to me that WPS users will probably benefit more from access to features of WLE that have been standard for some time rather than the other way around. However, WLE users getting access to an ESB is certainly a significant development.
Although the description talks about a unified authoring environment my interpretation is that the Integration Designer is still a separate component for the time being. Also the integration with Ilog doesn’t seem to be as tight as many had hoped for with only “the same rule authoring experience”. The description of the rich UI experience has much to say but to my eye it seems that most of this is a new spin on WLE features that have been around some time. However, a couple do catch the eye if they genuinely do offer new functionality including
· Ad-hoc actions
· Collaboration activities
· Business space UI framework + widgets
and the ability to integrate tightly with Office and Sharepoint will be attractive to many.
Possibly most intriguing for me in the whole announcement is the prospect that it will be possible to migrate in-flight process instances – suggesting an in-place upgrade, which is not something that Lombardi have offered for a very long-time indeed!
On the face of it there seems to be many parallels here with the merger of BlueworksLive and Blueprint. BlueworksLive customers got to keep the name but the functional enhancements that they got essentially all came from Blueprint. In this case I don’t think it is quite so one-sided but it does seem like the bigger gainers will be WPS users who will now have access to many of the features that WLE users have taken for granted for some time.
Discontinuance of Support
Along with launching v7.2 IBM have also announced the dates for discontinuing support for older versions
· 7.1 – 30 September 2013
· 7.2 – 30 April 2016