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Chapter 10. Designer

10.1. Installation
10.2. Source code

The designer is a web-based editor for viewing, creating and editing your business processes. It is very similar to the Eclipse-based designer and allows the creation of BPMN2 processes in a web context. There is a palette on the left and a properties panel on the right (make sure to click the arrows on the side of the canvas to make them visible if you cannot see them).

Figure 10.1. 

The designer targets the following scenarios:

  • View existing BPMN2 processes: The designer allows you to open existing BPMN2 processes (for example created using the BPMN2 Eclipse editor or any other tooling that exports BPMN 2.0 XML) in a web context.
  • Prototyping new BPMN2 processes: A user can create a new BPMN2 process in the Designer and use the editing capabilities (drag and drop and filling in properties in the properties panel) to fill in initial details. This for example allows business users to create a first prototype version of the business process that they want to create. This process could then for example be imported into Eclipse to add all the details to make it fully executable.

At this point, the designer does not yet support full roundtripping of your BPMN2 processes (due to limitations in the parser and the editor). We recommend you use the Eclipse plugin to add all the execution details (you can easily import a process from Guvnor there). The results can then be committed back to Guvnor so that the business user can see the resulting process. We are working hard to add full roundtripping support in the next version.

If you are using the jBPM installer, this should automatically download and install the latest version of the designer for you. To manually install the designer, simply drop the designer war into your application server deploy folder. This version that should deploy without any changes on JBoss AS 5.1.0. Note: If you want to deploy on other (versions of an) application server, you might have to adjust the dependencies inside the war based on the default libraries provided by your application server. The latest version of the designer can be found here.

To open up the designer, open up Guvnor (e.g. http://localhost:8080/drools-guvnor) and either open up an existing BPMN2 process or create a new one (under the "Knowledge Bases category on the left, select create new BPMN2 process"). This will open up the designer for the selected process in the center panel. You can use the palette on the left to drag and drop node types and the properties tab on the right to fill in the details (if either of these panels is not visible, click the arrow on the side of the editor to make them move forward).

The designer can also be opened stand-alone by using the following link: http://localhost:8080/designer/editor?profile=jbpm&uuid=123456 (where 123456 should be replaced by the id of the process on guvnor). Note that running designer in this way allows you to only view existing processes, and not save any edits nor create new ones. Information on how to integrate designer into your own applications can be found here: http://blog.athico.com/2011/04/using-oryx-designer-and-guvnor-in-your.html.

The designer is based on the Oryx codebase. Oryx is a web-based editor for modeling different types of business processes hosted at Google Code. Oryx is also backed by Signavio, who provides a professionally maintained version.

jBPM integrates with the BPMN2 process designer based on an Oryx branch maintained by Intalio and JBoss. The goal of this branch is to apply upstream patches to the Oryx project where possible and it's latest version can be downloaded from github.