Wednesday, 18 March 2009

BPM-suite tutorial

Today i finished the BPM Suite tutorial on OTN.
I must say that I was impressed by the tool. The tutorial is quite clear and you can create a nice process-flow with the turn of your hand. Well, a little more. I spend over a day to finish it, but that was also due to system halts and the fact that you need time to install the tool.

To do the tutorial you need to install the BPM Suite Studio 10.3. You can download it here. Mark that there is also an enterprise version, either standalone or for a J2EE webserver (Oracle BEA Weblogic, IBM Websphere). For development it is suggested to use the BPM Suite Studio.

At startup of the studion in the welcomepage you can choose from the profiles:
  • Business Analyst
  • Business Architect
  • Developer

You can make the welcome screen visible again via help->welcome. Then it is possible to choose another profile.

The tutorial is based on the Developer profile. For a tech-guy as me usually the better choice.

At adding an activity on a transition (eg. from the begin to the end-activity) Studio might ask for an auto-layout. Check the “do not show this message again” option and click no. IF you do click on yes, then the auto-layouter will put all the activities behind eachother and more inconveniently hide empty swimming lanes.

Most of the tutorial is straight forward. However I encountered a few little problems and other experiences.

BPM Objects
When to add new attributes to a BPM-Object, the tutorial everytime asks you to right-click on the bpm-object and choose new->attribute. It can be done quicker and (I find) more convenient by opening the object te openen and choose the structure tab (the tabs are below the screens). That screen gives a tabel with all the attributes. The main-properties of each attribute you can edit by clicking on it. Right of the table there's also a 'plus' and 'minus'-icon, for adding and deleting attributes. But also a file-open icon. With that you can open the attribute on a new tab and edit all the properties. Leaving the opened tabs allows you to get to the attributes quickly. At adding the attribute via the plus-icon, you'll get after the naming of the attribute and the choise of the datatype als a check-box with the cryptical name ‘open’. When you check it, the property tab of the attribute is opened after confirmation.

The tutorial states that when creating the (first) screenflow, you'll have to add the variable reportSf as an instance variable to the Expense Report process. (Activity 3, Part ‘Creating a Screenflow’, step 12). I struggled with that step for some time, allthough it seemd illogical to me. It turns out as a document-flaw, because to mee it seems that you have to add the variable to the Submit Report (screenflow) process.

At the attribute mapping in the Create Expense Report activity of the Expense Report process it is said to choose 'Submit Report' in the left column. (Activity 3, Part 'Designing a Screenflow', Step 17). I think it is meant to select 'Submit Report in'. Then it is said to enter the constructor 'ExpenseReport()' as a value, but it is forgotten to name the input arguments. I presume that it has to be the only in the list: reportSFArg.

A very nice tool and a good tutorial that shows the basic use and the easy development of the tool. To call automated tasks, call services, more is needed though (it is not explained).


mcdonald gabriel said...

Activity 3 in the BPM Tutrial seems to be a big headache cause it looks like a document flaw.Please can any one help in resolving this issue?

Martien van den Akker said...

See my comments under de heading "Screenflow". Probably you run into the same document-flaw as I did?
For me it was some time ago, so I can't say by heart what it was.