Business processes with JBoss

The Business Process Modell and Notation (BPMN) has established itself in recent years as a standard for modelling, development, and automation of business processes. The current Enterprise version of the Business Rules Management Systems (BRMS) now supports Version 2.0 of the modelling standard.

As well at the orchestration of web services, the priority of the specification language previously supported by JBoss, the Business Process Execution Language (WS-BPEL), is above all the technical perspective. BPMN, on the other hand, emphasises visual representation and intelligibility for users as a priority. BPMN thus builds a bridge between the technical perspective and IT.

Business Process Model and Notation

Several specification languages exist to model business processes, each with a different focus. Business Process Modelling Notation was developed in 2001 to create an intelligible specification language especially for specialist users. Originally developed by an IBM employee, BPMN has been one of the standards defined by the Object Management Group (OMG) since 2006.

BPMN has been available in Version 2.0 since March 2011. As an important innovation, the standard also established an XML-based format, in which diagrams can be saved and interchanged. The acronym has therefore officially stood for Business Process Model and Notation since then.

The defined XML format enables diagrams that have been created to be interchanged between different systems, as long as these systems conform to the standard. Even before the final specification of Version 2.0, the first manufacturers had begun working with the conversion, so that in the meantime a diverse landscape of modelling tools is available.

Different levels of detail for different requirements

The illustration in Figure 2 contains enough details for a rough documentation of the process, however, some processes, e.g. an escalation if the front office for not agree with a rejection on the part of the back office, have not been taken into account thus far. Furthermore, there are additional error handling procedures one would want to introduce.

In order to support the process automatically with the aid of a process engine, the individual work stages are supplemented with even more details. Thus, for example, it is established which web service is called up with which parameters in the customer data stage. Correspondingly, it also needs to be established what the set of rules for classifying risk levels should consist of. The underlying data need to be described. The framework from jBPM provides support for this.

jBPM - Business Process Management in JBoss

JBoss offers support for process management within the Business Rule Management System (BRMS).

The support for business process management encompasses: 

  • modelling, 
  • supplementation  
  • and carrying out the processes.

JBoss Enterprise BRMS 3.0 offers two options for modelling business processes. On the one hand, the modelling can take place on the web interface:

Modelling via the web interface

Using the interface, the process can not only be modelled, but also supplemented with other descriptions necessary for it to be carried out. Thus, for example, the necessary parameters and call command for the web service can be added. For user tasks, it is possible to define here which users or user groups are responsible for carrying out the process. Forms can also be generated for conversion, and associated with the process data.

Simple processes can thus be fully implemented and automated, because the interface also enables the deployment of the process for the process engine. The process can subsequently be initiated and monitored via the console. If processes are managed on a larger scale, the console and designer can also be integrated company portals.

Modelling in Eclipse

For demanding processes within more complex subtasks, there is the option of using JBoss Developer Studio. The Eclipse-based interface enables graphic modelling of processes. The focus is on integration with modules programmed in Java. In addition, Developer Studio also offers support for debugging and testing.

Contact: Dr. Klaus Schröder; Turn on Javascript!