Our impressions of the Global Activiti User Day

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Global Activiti User Day, an event directed at software developers, was held in Paris on 10th June 2015 and included the presentation of the most significant novelties in the imminent new version 6 of the Community version of the product.

 

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The event, the first dedicated to Activiti 6, brought together about a hundred attendees from 25 different countries. From Spain, apart from keensoft, we were pleased to see Juan Vicente, Java developer at VSN, who integrate Activiti in their multimedia distribution and management software. As you can see, those present represent a wide span of people, both in their places of origin and in their individual interests, as Activiti is a product that provides solutions for a broad spectrum of services. In fact, in the previews before the actual presentation of Activiti 6, we were able to see various uses that can be made of the product.

 

The presentation is available at http://activiti.org/activiti-day-20150610.html

CERN: automatized flow signatures

Firstly, Joao Silva showed us how CERN uses Activiti Engine for managing signature processes in procurement flows. Having tried various BPM products (home development, Oracle Workflow, Active VOS…), they decided to go with Activiti in 2013 to solve their signatory allocation needs: groups, substitutes, delegations …

The presentation is available at Business Process Automation at CERN.

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EDORASWARE: process testing, screening and prediction

After that, Martin Grofcik showed us how Edoras Gear have added Activiti Engine to their Activiti Crystalball product to provide users with a graphic process testing environment. Activiti enables tests based on JUnit to be run in a natural manner but these types of tools are often not suitable for most process designers, so this alternative improves the user’s experience with the product enormously.

You can find the source code and documents for Activiti Crystalball on the Github de Martin website.

 

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ICOLABORA:  Activiti indexing with Elasticsearch

One of the most typical problems for users of Activiti is to exploit the variable values associated with each step, as they are stored on a field-value ratio table that becomes more and more cumbersome the bigger it gets. To overcome the problem, Mike Dias of iColabora presented his TURBINA solution, that allows you to index search those variables via Elasticsearch, which means the search becomes practically instantaneous and exploitation is simplified through related products such as Kibana.

Mike told us that they will release an open source version of the component in the future and underlined the fact that, although it is compatible with the one used in Activiti Enterprise all based on Elasticsearch, it has no connection to this commercial version.

Mike has left us his presentation on SlideShare.

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UNIVERSITY of GHENT: Service design

Yannick Spillemaeckers, from the University of Ghent explained to us how they had usedActiviti to carry out systematic cataloguing and indexing of all the books in the University Library. Joran Barrez, main developer of Activiti together with Tijs Rademakers, was clearly very pleased to see the institution where he studied using his own software to improve the services offered by the University.

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CUPENYA: operating process analysis

Elmar Weber from Cupenya demonstrated to us a graphic operating process analysis tool for Activiti that allows the user to predict trends and obtain replies to business questions. The software is based on a cloud service (provided by Cupenya) that can be integrated by means of Maven into any organization’s Activiti Engine.

The integration software is available at cumpenya-activiti-agent.

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ACTIVITI 6

Finally, it was time for the keenly awaited presentation of Activiti 6Joran Barrez  underlined the importance of the moment by referring to John Newton’s words at the 2014 Alfresco Summit meeting in London.

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Here below are some of the points highlighted by the Activiti team with their peculiar sense of relaxed humor:

  • Activiti 6 is a development of the BPM engine that aims to cover user requirements up to at least 2020 in the simplest and easiest way possible
  • Activiti 6 is the first version based 100% natively on BPMN, so implementing new models is more natural
  • It still includes a simple Activiti 5 engine to support developments made in previous versions of the product, although no tool is provided (nor recommended) for migrating developments in version 5 to version 6
  • However, BPMN processes can be deployed in both version 5 and version 6 without modifications.
  • Activiti 6 now offers a new component – Agenda – that allows for tidier and more efficient management of operations.

Activiti 6 comes with a new user interface AngularJS based on the same source code as in the Activiti Enterprise version but with restricted functionalities; the old application (based on Vaadin) has been de-listed

 

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  • The access layer to the data model has been completely redesigned and support provided for Liquidase and Hibernate, which enables more efficient abstraction from the access layer and the possibility of including other data repositories (such as a content indexer) more easily
  • However, despite these improvements, the data model is fully compatible with version 5 or also with the Enterprise version
  • So far, a beta version 6 has been released, which will be refined over the coming months, so that the official launch of version 6 is not expected until after the summer
    • However, quality testing of version 6 exceeds 100% of envisaged usage, so that ActivitiEngine 6 is thought to be at an advanced stage of maturity

ACTIVITI ENTERPRISE

As far as Activiti Enterprise is concerned, Paul H Higgins said that the roadmap included the creation of templates for forms and fields, integration with most document management platforms and enhancements to customize the user interface. , Also, in the same way as with Alfresco, they maintain a commitment to a single source code for both the Community and Enterprise products and base the differences between the two editions on the additional services and integration facilities offered by each.

As you can see, there are a lot of changes to come in Activiti in the months ahead. And apparently, those improvements will be able to provide far more power and flexibility to process designing and implementation using this product.

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