Thanks to the folks who commented on yesterday’s post I have managed to overcome the assign problem and of course the answer was very simple: I had an inconsistent set of components installed in NetBeans and GlassFish. I was using NB 6.5 together with components downloaded from the OpenESB site.
The best solution is simply to download the complete NetBeans/GlassFish/OpenESB combination from the OpenESB downloads page and work with that. On the download page the top section contains the GA (stable) GlassFish ESB / NetBeans combination, and the nightly build of the latest (unstable) additional components (i.e. binding components, service engines etc.) which match this GA release.
The next major section on the page contains the GlassFish ESB v2.1 downloads (milestone 1 at the time of writing), which are not yet considered stable. I grabbed the 2.1 release, plus the HL7 BC (and NB design-time modules) from here. Installation was completely pain-free. I particularly liked the way the additional components are packaged as a jar-based installer – very nicely done.
Because the main package is a GlassFish ESB bundle, it installs by default to a non-standard path: C:\GlassFishESB. Everything is installed under this directory, including the configuration files for NetBeans, which would normally be placed in your home directory (under .netbeans). Presumably this is done to allow parallel installation with a stable NetBeans/GF without either interfering with the other. What this means, of course, is that all your preferences (editor settings etc.) are not transferred. This is easily fixed, manually, by copying over the stuff from: C:\Documents and Settings\<user>\.netbeans\6.5\config\Editors to C:\GlassFishESB\.netbeans\glassfishesb\config\Editors
Anyway, back to the BPEL issue. A clean rebuild of everything was sufficient: the CA deployed to GF, and it ran fine. I used Hermes JMS and watched the test messages arrive on the queue. Now I can push ahead and explore more of OpenESB and BPEL.