The BPM Round-trip with Activiti Cycle
Please note that this blog post is outdated, since we forked Activiti in March 2013 and started a new Open Source BPM project called camunda BPM (www.camunda.org). You will find this topic and loads of more best practices, blueprints etc. there, so you should just have a look
Lately and just in time for the Cebit – one of the biggest IT fares worldwide – we did a huge step in the Activiti Cycle development and can now proudly present the first working version of our BPM round-trip. At this point I want to stress again, that the vision behind Activiti Cycle is not about being a Zero Coding tool (see Making the BPMN Round-trip real for some more thoughts why Zero Coding doesn’t work in a lot of situations), but a tool which really facilitates collaboration between different roles being part of any BPM project. We accept that there are different tools out there, serving different roles with different needs and capabilities. The feedback at the Cebit and different User Group presentations was very good and seems we are heading in the right direction, but judge yourself
So enough text, let’s get concrete with a short screencast I created using the latest Activiti Cycle version, which will be officially released with Activiti 5.4 on the first of April. The round-trip we show realizes one possible development approach, which is described in detail in our Wiki. Please note, that this is just one possible approach, if you work differently you can customize Activiti Cycle or add own Plug-Ins to extend that behavior. As an example we currently use Cycle in a Pilot project at 1&1, a big telecommunication company in Germany, which uses Cycle to do a mapping from BPMN to jBPM 3. For us this is the proof of concept, that Cycle is really extensible
In order to keep the cast short, I skipped some cool features of Cycle, so there is more, I can just motivate to try it yourself (or wait for the next screencast here in the blog ;-)). And as you see in the Screencast the full round-trip is currently only available with the commercial Signavio Process Modeler, since the BPMN-Import is missing. But there are really cool features in that modeler (like graphical DIFF, commenting via Web on process models, creating different views for a process model, …), so it is worth to have a look at it anyway (sign here for a 30 days free trial). Together with Signavio, we provide a stripped down commercial variant, which is able to execute the full round-trip, but cheaper than the full blown Enterprise Signavio Software. It is of course limited as well, but everything you need for pure development projects should work there, let us know if you are interested.
Last remark: Some of the Plug-Ins I use (e.g. the SVN Plug-In) are released Open-Source within the camunda fox project, you find all them on the camunda fox Cycle Plug-In page. We are currently working on a CMIS Connector to connect to Sharepoint or Alfresco ECM too, thanks CIMT AG for contributing it!
P.S: It seems to become my trademark: This Screencast is only authentic with the the typos from Bernd… Sorry