News's 'BlackPearl' Targets Developers and Business Users

A human-centric BPM tool that integrates with core Microsoft technologies, such as BizTalk Server.

The next generation business process management platform from SourceCode Technology Holdings Inc. of Redmond, Wash., is available in Beta 1 to select customers and partners. is a human-centric BPM tool that integrates with core Microsoft technologies, such as BizTalk Server. The new version, codenamed "BlackPearl," is built on the .NET 3.0 Framework, and integrates with SQL Server 2005 and the 2007 Office System.

BlackPearl is a major upgrade of the 2003 Enterprise Workflow Platform, which includes a Studio design environment, Server, Workspace and Service Manager. While all of these components will be revamped, the tools and functionality in the design environment are central to the new platform. BlackPearl is designed to offer tools that help developers empower business users to participate in composite application design and management.

"In most BPM-type solutions, it requires a significant involvement from IT to make anything happen," says Hennie Laubscher, chief operating officer for SourceCode. "We now have tooling that will empower IT to do much more, sooner. It will also allow business users to reuse what IT has provided in a specific way, so that the people who understand the business problem can really get involved in solving it."

The new platform allows users to design and edit processes in Microsoft Visio, a Web browser and Visual Studio 2005. SmartObjects (for example, a customer and their attributes) and SmartFunctions (business logic, such as calculate total invoices) allow developers to expose enterprise data as objects or 'functions' to business users, who can then access the information without worrying about where it resides on back-end systems.

Significantly for developers, SourceCode is now a Visual Studio Industry Partner. General availability of the commercial version of BlackPearl is expected by the end of the first quarter.

About the Author

Kathleen Richards is the editor of and executive editor of Visual Studio Magazine.

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