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Oracle® Fusion Middleware Business Process Composer User's Guide for Oracle Business Process Management
11g Release 1 (11.1.1.6.3)

Part Number E15177-10
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5
Working with Processes and the Process Editor

This chapter provides information about creating and using business processes in Oracle BPM. It provides a general introduction to business processes and describes the process editor window. It also provides procedural information for creating and using processes.

See Chapter 6, "Modeling Business Processes with Oracle BPM" for information on using Business Process Management Notation (BPMN) to design a business process.

This chapter includes the following sections:

5.1 Introduction to Business Processes

A business process can be defined as a sequence of tasks that result in a well-defined outcome. Business processes are the core components of process-based business applications created with the Oracle BPM Suite.

Although projects are higher level wrappers that contain all the resources of a business application, the processes within the project determine how the application works. This flow is defined by various BPMN flow objects.

Business processes are generally created by process analysts who determine the business requirements that must be addressed and define the corresponding process flow.

There are different types of business processes that determine how a process behaves in relation to other processes. These are described in Table 5-1.

Note:

By default, new business processes are synchronous. After creating a new process you can change the type by editing the process.

Table 5-1 Types of Business Processes

Process Type Description

Synchronous Service

Synchronous services are processes that can be invoked from other processes or services synchronously. In a synchronous service, the calling process waits until the process completes before continuing.

Asynchronous Service

Asynchronous services are processes that can be invoked from other processes or services asynchronously. In an asynchronous service, the calling process does not wait until the process completes before continuing.

Manual Process

Manual processes are processes that require user interaction. Manual processes begin and end with none start and end events.

Reusable Process

Reusable processes are processes that can called by a BPMN process using the call activity.


5.2 Introduction to the Process Editor

The process editor is a graphical editor that enables you to create business processes by adding BPMN flow objects. You can drag BPMN flow objects from the component palette to the process editor.

Figure 5-1 shows an example of the process editor tab.

Figure 5-1 The Process Editor Window

Description of Figure 5-1 follows
Description of "Figure 5-1 The Process Editor Window"

You can open multiple processes within the same project simultaneously in Business Process Composer. Each process opens in its own tab within the editor window.

The different areas of the process editor are described in the following sections.

5.2.1 Introduction to the Process Editor Toolbar

The process editor window contains a toolbar enabling access to the Business Process Composer features described in Table 5-2.

Table 5-2 Process Editor Menu

Menu Item Description

Undo

Reverts the last change made to your process.

Redo

Reverses the last undo action you performed.

Cut

Cuts the selected items and copies them the clipboard.

Copy

Copies the selected items to the clipboard.

Paste

Pastes the items currently in the clipboard.

Delete

Deletes the selected elements from the process.

Autolayout

Automatically adjusts the layout of your process.

Toggle grid visibility

Shows or hides a grid in the process editor window.

Snap to grid

Causes flow objects to be centered on the nearest grid axis. Any existing flow objects will automatically be centered. When adding new flow objects, they will automatically be centered when they are added.

This button is active only when toggle grid is enabled.

Print

Prints the process using your browser's printer setup.

Edit conversations

Opens the conversations editor. This editor enables process developers to define the interface used to determine the input and output data objects.

Find process usage

Determines what other processes within the current project call the current process.

View collaboration

Switches the process editor to collaboration view.

Zoom slider

Zooms in and out of your process.


5.2.2 Introduction to the Process Editor Canvas

The process editor canvas is the central area of the process editor window. It enables you to create the graphical representation of your process using BPMN flow objects. In addition to a process flow, the process editor canvas also displays swimlanes.

5.2.3 Introduction to the BPMN Component Palette

The component palette appears within the editor window and enables you to add BPMN sequence flows and business catalog elements to your process. Figure 5-2 shows the component palette.

Figure 5-2 The Component Palette

Description of Figure 5-2 follows
Description of "Figure 5-2 The Component Palette"

The component palette enables you to drag and drop artifacts to the process editor window.

Note:

The component palette is greyed-out until you enter edit mode for the project.

The component palette separates BPMN elements into the following groups:

  • Activity

  • Interactive

  • Gateway

  • Catch Event

  • Throw Event

  • Note

  • Measurement

Business Process Composer provides two separate modes for adding flow objects to a process:

  • Single object mode: enables you to add individual flow objects one at a time. This mode is indicated by a 1 within a blue circle as shown in Figure 5-3.

    Figure 5-3 Single Object Entry Mode

    Description of Figure 5-3 follows
    Description of "Figure 5-3 Single Object Entry Mode"

  • Multiple object mode: enables you to quickly add multiple flow objects of the same type. This mode is indicated by an "N" within a blue circle.

You can toggle between the two modes by clicking the blue circle.

5.2.4 Introduction to the Business Catalog

This panel enables you to select reusable services from the business catalog. Figure 5-4 shows the business catalog.

Figure 5-4 The Business Catalog

Description of Figure 5-4 follows
Description of "Figure 5-4 The Business Catalog"

These services are grouped according to the following categories:

  • Services

  • External references

  • Human tasks

  • Business rules

Note:

External references and business rules cannot be created in Business Process Composer. They are created in Oracle BPM Studio and included as part of a project template or any project shared with Oracle BPM Studio.

You can use Business Process Composer to create services based on Web Services. However, other services based on adapters and other SOA components must be created in Oracle BPM Studio and included within a project template or shared project.

You can use Business Process Composer to assign reusable services from the business catalog to the corresponding flow objects.

See Section 4.1.1.2, "The Business Catalog" for more information.

5.3 Working with Business Processes

The following sections describe how to create, open, and delete business processes.

5.3.1 How to Create a New Business Process

Business processes are created within an Oracle BPM project. You can add one or more processes to your project.

To create a new business process

  1. Access the project welcome page.

  2. If you are editing a shared project, ensure that you are currently editing the project.

  3. Click Processes, then click New Process.

  4. Enter a name for the process, then click Create.

The new process appears in the list of processes.

New business processes are created with a start and end event connected by a default sequence flow. By default, both the start and end event have the message trigger type.

See Section 6.2, "Defining the Start and End Point of a Process" for more information.

5.3.2 How to Open a Business Process

After opening an Oracle BPM project, you can open any of the processes it contains. Processes are opened in the process editor window.

To open a business process

  1. Access the project welcome page.

  2. Click Processes.

  3. Click the name of the process you want to open.

The process opens in the process editor window. Before you can begin editing the process, you must ensure that you are in edit mode.

5.3.3 How to Delete a Business Process

You can delete processes from your project.

To delete a business process for a project:

  1. Open your project.

  2. Access the project welcome page.

  3. Click Processes.

  4. Move the cursor over the name of the process you want to delete.

  5. Click the delete icon, the click OK.

5.3.3.1 What You Need to Know About Deleting a Business Process

When deleting a process you should ensure that there are no remaining references to the deleted process elsewhere in your project. For example, if the deleted process was invoked from another process through a message throw event, you must ensure that you have reconfigured the invoking process so it is no longer referring to the deleted process. An error should be displayed during validation if any remain references to the deleted process still exist.

5.4 Working with Flow Elements

This section describes the basic mechanics of using the process editor to add flow elements to a process. See Chapter 6, "Modeling Business Processes with Oracle BPM" for information on designing your business process using BPMN 2.0.

5.4.1 How to Add a Flow Object from the Component Palette

You can add flow objects to your process by dragging them from the component palette onto the process editor canvas.

To add a flow element from the component palette:

  1. Open the process where you want to add flow elements.

  2. Ensure you are in edit mode.

  3. In the component palette, double-click the type of flow object you want to add.

  4. Select the object entry mode you wish to use.

    You can choose to enter a single flow object or multiple flow objects of the same type. See Section 5.2.3, "Introduction to the BPMN Component Palette" for more information.

  5. Click and drag the flow object you want to add to the area in process editor canvas where you want to place it.

    The cursor displays the icon associated with the type of flow object.

  6. Position the cursor to the point in your process where you want to add the flow object, then click the mouse.

    If you are in multiple object mode, you can continue clicking within the process editor canvas to add additional flow objects of the same type.

    Note:

    If you position the cursor over a sequence flow, Business Process Composer will automatically create incoming and outgoing sequence flows for the new flow object.

5.4.2 How to Cut, Copy or Delete a Flow Object

Within the process editor window, you can cut copy or delete flow objects.

To cut, copy, or delete a flow object:

  1. Select the flow object or sequence flow that you want to cut, copy, or delete.

  2. Select Cut, Copy, or Delete from the process editor toolbar.

    Note:

    When you cut or delete a flow object that contains incoming and outgoing sequence flow, Business Process Composer automatically connects it to the outgoing sequence flow. However, you may need to manually reconfigure the surrounding flow objects.

5.4.3 How to Paste a Flow Object in a Process

You can paste that you previously cut or copied.

To paste a flow object in a process:

  1. Right-click in the area of the process editor canvas where you want to paste a flow object.

  2. Select Paste.

5.4.4 How to Add a Sequence Flow to a Process

Sequence flows define the order or sequence that the work is performed within a process. For more information see Section 6.6, "Controlling Process Flow Using Sequence Flows"

To add sequence flows to your process:

  1. Open your process.

  2. Move the cursor over the flow object where you want to create the outgoing sequence flow.

  3. Click the Add Sequence flow button.

    This button only appears for flow objects that do not have outgoing sequence flows.

  4. Move the cursor to the flow object you want to connect to, then left-click.

5.4.5 How to Delete a Sequence Flow

You can delete a sequence flow from a BPMN process.

To delete a sequence flow from a process:

  1. In the process editor canvas, right-click the sequence flow you want to delete.

  2. Select Delete.

5.4.5.1 What You Need to Know About Deleting a Sequence Flow

When you delete a sequence flow from a process, any implementation details you may have configured for the sequence flow are lost.

5.4.6 How to Edit the Properties of a Flow Object

You can edit the basic properties of a sequence flow.

To edit the properties of a flow object:

  1. Right-click on the flow object whose properties you want to edit.

  2. Select Properties.

  3. Edit the properties of the flow object.

  4. When you are finished editing the properties, click outside the properties dialog window.

    Your changes are automatically saved and the dialog window closes.

5.4.7 How to Assign a Custom Icon to a Flow Object

Business Process Composer enables you to select a custom icon to replace the default BPMN icon of a flow object. You can select from a list of custom icons provided by Oracle BPM.

To assign a custom icon to a flow object:

  1. Right-click the flow object, the select Properties.

  2. Click Change, then select the icon you want to use.

  3. Click outside the properties window to apply your changes.

5.5 Working with Business Catalog Components

The following sections provide information on working with the business catalog in Business Process Composer. See Section 4.1.1.2, "The Business Catalog" for more information on the business catalog.

5.5.1 How to Assign a Business Catalog Component to a Flow Object

Business Process Composer enables you configure implementation details for a flow object by assigning business catalog components to it.

The flow objects that you can assign business catalog components to are:

  • Business rule task

  • Service task

  • User task

  • Message events and the receive task

To assign a business catalog component to a flow object:

  1. Open your process.

  2. Right-click on the flow object where you want to add the business catalog component.

  3. Select Implementation.

  4. Select Browse, then select the business catalog component from the list.

  5. Click OK.

  6. Click Apply Changes.

    Note:

    You must click Apply Changes to save the any changes you make to the implementation of a flow object. Even if you save the project, implementation changes are not saved until you click Apply Changes.

5.5.2 How to Create New Human Tasks in the Business Catalog

You can create new human tasks within the business catalog. See Chapter 11, "Working with Human Tasks" for more information.

After creating a human task, you can then assign them to the user tasks within your process. See Section 6.3, "Adding User Interaction to Your Process" for information on using human tasks within a BPMN process.

5.6 Working with Draft Processes

Oracle BPM enables you to create and deploy draft processes.

5.6.1 Introduction to Draft Processes

A draft process is a process that has one or more flow objects which do not have their implementation defined. Deploying a draft process enables you to test the parts of your process that have been completed without having to wait until all flow objects have been implemented. Draft processes are created by marking one or more flow objects within the process as draft.

When you configure a flow object to be a draft, you cannot configure data associations for the flow object. If mark a flow object as draft that you have previously assigned data associations for, the data associations will be lost.

You can define the implementation details of a draft flow object. However, it is not required. Draft flow object with no implementation defined will not generate errors when the project is validated.

When a project containing a draft flow object is deployed, any implementation details that are defined are ignored. For example if your process contains a user task marked as draft, it will not create instances of the associated human task at runtime.

5.6.2 How to Mark a Flow Object as Draft

You can mark a flow objects as draft by editing the flow objects implementation properties.

To mark a flow object as draft:

  1. Open your process.

  2. Right-click on the flow object, then select Implementation.

  3. Select the checkbox next to Is Draft.

  4. Click Apply Changes.

5.7 Documenting Your Process

Oracle BPM enables you to create documentation for your process using the documentation editor. You can add documentation for an entire process or for individual flow objects within a process.

Oracle BPM enables you to create two separate types of documentation:

5.7.1 Introduction to the Documentation Editor

The documentation editor contains a toolbar and editor pane that enables you to enter the documentation for your process.

Figure 5-5 The Documentation Editor

Description of Figure 5-5 follows
Description of "Figure 5-5 The Documentation Editor"

5.7.1.1 Inserting Links in Your Documentation

When adding links in your documentation, you should include a full URL as part of the link. For example, you should refer to external links as http://www.oracle.com, instead of just www.oracle.com.

5.7.2 How to Add Documentation to Your Process

Business Process Composer enables you to add documentation to your processes and the flow objects within your processes.

To add documentation to a process:

  1. Open your process.

  2. Click Restore Pane to display the documentation editor. The Restore Pane icon is located in the lower right corner of the Business Process Composer application.

  3. Click the Documentation tab, then select the tab for the process.

  4. Select the type of documentation you want to create from the Documentation Type drop-down menu.

  5. Enter your documentation in the editor window.

  6. Click Apply to save your changes.

    Note:

    You should apply your changes before selecting another process or process element. If you navigate away from the documentation editor before applying your changes, they are not saved.

To add documentation to a specific flow object within a process:

  1. Open the process where you want to add documentation.

  2. Right-click the flow object where you want to add documentation, then select Properties.

  3. In the Properties dialog box, click Documentation.

  4. Select the type of documentation you want to create from the Documentation Type drop-down menu.

  5. Enter your documentation in the editor window.

  6. Click Apply to save your changes.

    Note:

    You should apply your changes before selecting another process or process element. If you navigate away from the documentation editor before applying your changes, they are not saved.

5.7.3 How to Add Notes to a Process

You can add notes to your process to make them easier to understand.

To add a note to a process:

  1. Open your process.

  2. Ensure that you are in edit mode.

  3. In the BPMN component palette, click and drag the Note icon to the point in your process where you want to add the note.

  4. Double-click on the note to edit the text.

  5. Enter the text of the note, then click outside of the note to finish.

5.8 Importing and Exporting Process Models

Using Business Process Composer you can import and export process models created in other programs.

5.8.1 Importing Process Models into Oracle BPM

Business Process Composer enables you to import process models and convert them to BPMN notation. You can import process models in the following formats:

  • Visio

  • Workflow

  • XPDL

  • Oracle Tutor (files are saved using the .docx extension)

When converting Visio or XPDL processes, you may need to modify the processes before conversion to ensure that they are converted accurately. See Appendix B, "Preparing Processes for Import into BPMN" for more information.

Note:

If the original file contains properties and artifacts that are not supported by BPMN, the unsupported elements are not converted and are omitted from the final BPMN process.

For example, if the origin file contains loop characteristics on a regular activity, which is not supported in BPMN, the BPMN process will not contain the loop characteristics after conversion.

To import a process model:

  1. From the main menu, select Import, then Import Model.

  2. On your local file system, browse to the file you want to import, then click OK.

  3. If you are importing a Visio or XPDL file, select one of the following:

    • Create a separate model from each pool

    • Merge pools into a single model

    This dialog appears even if the original file does not contain multiple pools.

  4. Click OK.

You can view the newly created BPMN processes from the project welcome page.

5.8.2 Exporting BPMN Processes to Oracle Tutor

Using Business Process Composer you can export BPMN processes to Oracle Tutor. These files are exported as Microsoft Word (.docx) files and contain Oracle Tutor formatting.

To export a BPMN process to Oracle Tutor:

  1. From the main menu, select Export, then Export to Word.

  2. Select one of the following:

    • Active process:

    • All open processes:

    • All processes of project:

    The converted processes are downloaded as a .zip file to your local filesystem.

  3. Click Save.

To view the exported processes, you must extract the .zip file. Each individual process file contains conversion notes for any objects that were altered during conversion.