OASIS has postponed giving the formal thumbs-up to BPEL 2.0 while it investigates some negative votes, according to a spokesperson.

Although the WS-BPEL (Web Services Business Process Execution Language) 2.0 specification was approved in an organisational vote, OASIS has held off a formal announcement.

Theoretically, the matter could prompt OASIS to restart the whole review process. Voting on the measure closed this past weekend.

Often referred to simply as BPEL, the specification uses XML that to describe web services interactions.

The OASIS BPEL technical committee is scheduled to resolve the issue on 11 April, and will announce results then, said OASIS spokeswoman Carol Geyer.

"It could be a very minor thing," she said. "Sometimes a negative vote is cast in error because someone didn't understand something about the spec. Nevertheless, when a negative vote is cast, even if there are an overwhelming number of affirmative votes for the spec to pass, the [technical committee] still must formally convene, discuss, and decide what they want to do."

Depending on why negative votes were cast, the committee could proceed without change, re-evaluate the specification, make edits, or restart the process.

"It's up to the [committee] members. If the [committee] votes to proceed, the affirmative votes will carry, WS-BPEL will be declared an OASIS standard, and I'll issue the press release," Geyer said.

This process is "not unusual," she said.

OASIS said last week BPEL 2.0 was expected to be approved by organisation members. Proposed in 2002 by a group of vendors led by Microsoft and IBM, the specification was submitted to OASIS in May 2003. BPEL is considered important for deploying SOA.

Ratification of a formal standard is expected to provide reassurances to anyone interested in implementing the specification. Version 1.1 of BPEL has been in use but was never formally ratified as an OASIS standard.

OASIS has not provided information yet on which members voted against BPEL 2.0.