Friday, December 24, 2010

jBPM Migration Tool project - update on the research phase

We have been seeing activity on the forums and we have been approached collectively by community practitioners of JBoss jBPM. Time for us to put out an update of what is going on in this project.

We have kicked off the project in the beginning of November 2010 by setting up the development environment, meeting several times over coffee / beer and getting the preliminary roadmap sorted out.

It was ambitiously setup to try and push out simple use cases as fast as possible and we arbitrarily chose to use XSLT for the tooling to convert jPDL 3.2 to BPMN2. As we dug deeper into the technology we started to find other ways of doing this and wanted to be sure that we chose the best migration strategy as possible. Maurice de Chateau puts it nicely,

"Well, to tell you the truth we're still in the process of looking for the simplest possible approach. So by no means have we completely ditched the XSLT approach - but we're certainly exploring alternative paths. Automatic generation of (intermediate) deliverables has our absolute preference (just call us lazy), so mechanisms like JAXB and frameworks like Smooks are well worth trying out - as far as we are concerned.

Downside to this search for an approach is that our original planning (delivering the first use cases this year) is most likely going to be abandoned, yet I strongly feel that's in the best interest of the solution we're ultimately going to deliver. Nevertheless we're still very much committed to delivering a sound and practically usable product as soon as possible."

So the first target will be to get conversion tooling working for jPDL 3.2 to BPMN2, followed by the rest of the targeted versions as stated in the project wiki.

With this in mind, you will see that we have misses the current milestones and will be 'refactoring' this part of the project real soon. Keep in mind also that we are both doing this in our own time outside of the normal working day, so watch the project timeline and here for more news as we move along.

Feel free to jump in an contact us if you wish to contribute or have use cases (process definitions) you would like to contribute to the set we have already acquired. Thanks for the interest and stay tuned for jBPM Migration Tool action coming in 2011.