Bridging the Gap Between Business Analysts and Developers

What’s New in jBPM 5.0?

Jessica Thornsby

“jBPM5 makes sure that the (executable) business process itself can be understood by business analysts.”

Version 5.0
of the jBPM Business Process Management suite has just been
released. JAXenter speaks to Kris Verlaenen, jBPM project lead, on
what’s new in this release, and how the BPMN 2.0 specification
affected jBPM 5.0……

JAXenter: How does jBPM attempt to bridge the
gap between business analysts and developers?

Kris Verlaenen: To bridge the gap between
business analysts and developers, one must make sure they use the
same language to communicate. jBPM5 makes sure that the
(executable) business process itself can be understood by business
analysts, by making sure the business process uses higher-level
representations, removes (or hides) implementation details, uses
domain-specific representations that are easily understood by the
business analyst, etc.

There is no mapping between a representation understood by
business analysts and an underlying implementation generated from
that representation by developers, as this can lead to
inconsistencies between both models, outdated representations that
do no longer match with the actual implementation, etc. Business
analysts and developers can communicate using the same business
process representation.

JAXenter: What’s new in the recent 5.0

Kris Verlaenen: jBPM 5.0 uses the latest BPMN
2.0 format for modeling business processes. This includes both
Eclipse-based and web-based tooling, for developers and business
users. It also introduces a new process repository, improved
support for domain-specific processes (by plugging in your own node
types in the palette) and mayor changes to the core engine to make
it more flexible, adaptive and dynamic. Finally, it is also part of
a much larger solution for modeling business knowledge where
business processes can easily be combined with business rules and
complex event processing to offer the kind of flexibility and
interoperability that is needed nowadays in more complex real-life
business use cases.

JAXenter: How does the 5.0 release adhere to
the latest BPMN 2.0 specification?

Kris Verlaenen: The jBPM 5.0 core engine
supports native execution of business processes using the BPMN 2.0
XML format. It already supports a large set of elements and
attributes as defined in the BPMN 2.0 specification for modeling
so-called “executable” business processes. It offers both
Eclipse-based and web-based business process modeling using the
BPMN 2.0 XML. We try to stay as close as possible to the BPMN 2.0
specification, only introducing a few custom extensions whenever we
believe them to be valuable. This means that processes created
using other tooling that can export BPMN 2.0 XML can also be
imported and executed in jBPM5.

JAXenter: The 5.1 edition is currently
scheduled for release in May. What can we expect from this

Kris Verlaenen: While jBPM 5.0 focuses mostly
on business process execution in a Java environment (J2SE / J2EE),
the next release will first of all extend the various language
constructs to better support web service orchestration. On top of
that, it will also include a new fully compliant BPMN 2.0 Eclipse
editor and improved support for plugging in domain-specific nodes
using a repository where predefined node types can be selected and
imported. Finally, we will extend our Business Activity Monitoring
(BAM) support, adding improved support for listening to the process
engine in real time and generating reports or triggering direct
intervention based on the collected data.

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