Berlin, Business Process – and a Fish Tank,

This Wednesday I had the pleasure of visiting Berlin on a gorgeous summer’s day to join the other members of the OMG’s BPMN Model Interchange Working Group. As you might surmise from the name, the main objective for the group is to make a reality of BPMN model interchange. And if you’ve had cause to exchange models between tools you will know this is quite a quest though hopefully a noble one.

It should be said up front that this work is still in its early stages: assembling a set of test cases that exhibit visual features, the conformance classes and ultimately the exchange of executable models. Another piece of work under way is to create tools that automate comparison of different vendors’ models. In time it should be possible for everyone to use these tools to evaluate and self-certify their own products.

The morning was filled with the glamorous business of poring over specifications, spreadsheets and so on, son in the afternoon we decided we were in need of some light relief! No it was not an early exit to the bar but rather a practical test of the current state of the art. We were able to assemble a chain of 5 modelling tools that each elaborated on a single process model and then with further elaboration executed it.

It should be said that this was not the most complex process known to man but neither was it a ‘tame’ one defined for the purpose. It is, in fact, a pre-existing process used by one of the participants. Well judge for yourself…

This executable model was returned to the first modelling tool where we could see the proprietary executions extensions were preserved though the first tool had no knowledge of them.

We recorded the session and hope to provide a short video summary shortly.

Also on Wednesday as it happened, the Activiti team made a new release and as you can see on Tijs’ blog a key highlight of this release is a dramatically reworked REST interface. So curiosity forced me to see if I could import the executable model using that new API – and indeed I was able to but I think I’ll save the details for a separate post as this is quite long enough.

So what was that about the fish tank? Ah yes, quite the most remarkable lift I’ve seen in the conference hotel. And yes, that is a scuba diver about half way down.

Now THAT'S a fish tank

Now THAT’S a fish tank