The specification of distributed service-oriented applications spans several levels of abstraction, e.g., the protocol for exchanging messages, the set of interface func- tionalities, the types of the manipulated data, the workflow, the access policy, etc. Many (even executable) specification languages are available to describe each level in separation. However, these levels may interact in subtle ways (for example, the control flow may depend on the values of some data variables) so that a precise abstraction of the application amounts to more than the sum of its per level components. This problem is even more acute in the design phase when automated analysis techniques may greatly help the difficult task of building “correct” applications faced by designers. To alleviate this kind of problems, this paper introduces a framework for the formal specification and automated analysis of distributed service-oriented applications in two levels: one for the workflow and one for the authorization policies. The former allows one to precisely describe the control and data parts of an application with their mutual dependencies. The latter focuses on the specification of the criteria for granting or denying third-party applications the possibility to access shared resources or to execute certain interface functionalities. These levels can be seen as abstractions of one or of several levels of specification mentioned above. The novelty of our proposal is the possibility to unambiguously specify the—often subtle—interplay between the workflow and policy levels uniformly in the same framework. Addi- tionally, our framework allows us to define and investigate verification problems for service-oriented applications (such as executability and invariant checking) and give sufficient conditions for their decidability. These results are non-trivial because their scope of applicability goes well beyond the case of finite state spaces allowing for applications manipulating variables ranging over infinite domains. As proof of concept, we show the suitability and flexibility of our approach on two quite different examples inspired by industrial case studies.
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