Thursday, December 31, 2015

2015 in review - On the road with JBoss Integration & BPM

My last article for 2015... the year in review where I get to look back and review my work, play, cycling, running, writing, and travels for the past year.

This year is my seventh year at Red Hat and fourth year as a JBoss Technology Evangelist, covering the Integration & BPM technology products.

We have had a pretty turbulent and exciting time this year with lots of expansion in our Evangelist team and more coming soon now that plans are finalizing for team expansion in 2016.

In April there was the release of JBoss BRMS 6.1 and JBoss BPM Suite 6.1, which included full support for the new Business Resource Planner component.

I spent a lot of time traveling to talk about these products and to also preach on the topics of PaaS with OpenShift, but I must admit that there too I was mostly focusing on how to get started with JBoss BPM and rules technologies.

Not to be forgotten, the jbpmmigration project continued to evolve and is still an integral part of the process designer component found in JBoss BPM Suite product. Always nice to be able to contribute something to our efforts to help customers.

Finally just in time for the end of this year, there was the release of JBoss BRMS 6.2 and JBoss BPM Suite 6.2, which I kicked off with the first in a series on some of the newest features. I also provided an ultimate collection of JBoss BPM Suite demos to showcase the new release.

Writing

Aside from the articles here (134), content published on DZone and my continuing side hobby of sports journalism for the Red Sox fan site RedSoxLife.com (40), I was able to focus on a couple of very comprehensive product based starter kits.

There is now a JBoss BPM Suite starter kit and a JBoss BRMS starter kit, both highlighted around the world at various meetups, JBug and JUG events. On top of that they were featured in Red Hat webinars. They are the one stop shopping for all things to get you started with our products.

On top of this writing I also published various video tutorials on Vimeo and Youtube. Along with these tutorials you will find all my demo projects on JBoss Demo Central, your one stop shopping for all things related to JBoss Integration & BPM products.

Travel

The places I went and the people I met again this year are what make the efforts we put into JBoss worth the time and jet-lag. I wish I would be able to list everyone and every place but that is just not possible. I enjoyed the chats, the beers, the hanging out, the presentations, the workshops, the dinners, lunches and meetings with each and every one of you.

Here are some of the 21 cities I visited in 6 countries this year, just to give an impression of the spaces we covered while I told stories around JBoss, BPM, Rules, Events, PaaS, xPaaS and OpenShift.
  • London, UK (2x)
  • Scotland (2x)
  • Denmark
  • Sweden
  • Netherlands (2x)
  • Boston (8x)
  • Washington DC
  • Atlanta
  • Las Vegas
  • Got a bit beach bound in 2015!
  • Raleigh (4x)
This was all to facilitate various conferences, Java User Groups (JUG's), partner events, customer workshops and JBoss User Groups (JBug's).

Probably the most special trip of 2015 was late in the summer when I was able to move my family from the Netherlands to the coast of North Carolina.

You will notice that my travel and focus on JBoss BPM has been targeting mostly North America and that was the plan that involved my placement here in the USA.

I have been working since then, producing JBoss BRMS and JBoss BPM Suite content while being able to walk down to the beach that is just five minutes from my front door. Red Hat is a very flexible employer and I am very happy that this was possible.

Online workshops

One of the major items launched last year and updated throughout 2015 was my online rules, events and process (BPM) workshop series. It is a full blown walk through showing you how to build a project from scratch for both JBoss BRMS and then JBoss BPM Suite, now showcasing versions of the product from 6.0.3 through to 6.2.

There has been a massive response to this and after feedback it has evolved into the version you see now that has been presented at various partners, customers and JUG's around the world.



This content is tied into the starter kits I mentioned above and have also been put into canned versions so that you can setup and host your own workshops, meetups or user groups.

Thanks to you all

I certainly hope you enjoyed what we were able to bring to you in 2015.

I want to thank you personally for attending any of the webinars, conference sessions, workshops, JUG's, and JBug's were our paths might have crossed or for just taking the time to read a published article.

2016 is going to start with a bang, so join me on this wonderful ride as we explore the amazing things you can achieve with the Red Hat product portfolio... stay tuned!

Monday, December 28, 2015

Quick tour #6 - Build and run a JBoss BRMS project (video)

With the announcement that we have updated the JBoss BRMS Starter Kit you might have noticed that a few quick tour videos were promised.

On that promise we are starting to deliver with a series of short and simple video stories.

Today another in the series, we show you in just over three and a half minutes how to build and run a project in JBoss BRMS as part of the JBoss BRMS Starter Kit.

We hope you enjoy this story and stay tuned for more...


Did you miss the other quick tour videos?
    1. Quick Tour #1: JBoss BRMS the Basic Install Project 
    2. Quick Tour #2: Where to get JBoss BRMS product
    3. Quick Tour #3: How to install JBoss BRMS
    4. Quick Tour #4: Start your first JBoss BRMS project
    5. Quick Tour #5: How to import a project into JBoss BRMS
    6. Quick Tour #6: Build & run a JBoss BRMS project
    7. Quick Tour #7: What's in Business Central
    Looking to Automate your business?

Thursday, December 24, 2015

Launching Digital Sign for Ultimate Collection of JBoss BPM Suite Demos

Just in case you missed it, we recently showed you the ultimate collection of JBoss BPM Suite demo projects but we don't want to stop there.

The next time you are in a Red Hat office somewhere in the world, keep your eyes peeled for the digital signage that is displaying all manner of news.

These signs are somewhere on the walls at our offices all over the world, from Amsterdam to Singapore, from Raleigh to Tokyo.

Keep your eyes peeled as we have hijacked the sequence and inserted our very own Ultimate Collection of JBoss BPM Suite demos announcement.

Looking to Automate your business?
Feel free to use the slide in your presentations and if you happen to see one of these live, snap a picture, push it out on twitter to @ericschabell.


Wednesday, December 23, 2015

Quick tour #5 - Import a project into JBoss BRMS (video)

With the announcement that we have updated the JBoss BRMS Starter Kit you might have noticed that a few quick tour videos were promised.

On that promise we are starting to deliver with a series of short and simple video stories.

Today another in the series, we show you in just over two minutes how to import a project into JBoss BRMS as part of the JBoss BRMS Starter Kit.

We hope you enjoy this story and stay tuned for more...


Did you miss the other quick tour videos?
    1. Quick Tour #1: JBoss BRMS the Basic Install Project 
    2. Quick Tour #2: Where to get JBoss BRMS product
    3. Quick Tour #3: How to install JBoss BRMS
    4. Quick Tour #4: Start your first JBoss BRMS project
    5. Quick Tour #5: How to import a project into JBoss BRMS
    6. Quick Tour #6: Build & run a JBoss BRMS project
    7. Quick Tour #7: What's in Business Central
    Looking to Automate your business?

Monday, December 21, 2015

The ultimate collection of JBoss BRMS demos

Last week the latest JBoss BRMS 6.2 was released.

Along with the announcements comes the updates to the various JBoss BRMS demo projects to facilitate your exploration, discovery and knowledge around the use cases associated with rules, events and planning.

The following overview will walk you through what is available, describe what each project provides and link through to the content hosted online.


You can obtain a copy of this presentation for your own personal use.

In the future this overview will be maintained as new product versions are released, providing you with a one stop shopping location for the current JBoss BRMS demos.

    Looking to Automate your business?

Thursday, December 17, 2015

The ultimate collection of JBoss BPM Suite demos

Last week the latest JBoss BPM Suite 6.2 was released.

Along with the announcements comes the updates to the various JBoss BPM Suite demo projects to facilitate your exploration, discovery and knowledge around the use cases associated with rules, events, planning and processes.

The following overview will walk you through what is available, describe what each project provides and link through to the content hosted online.



You can obtain a copy of this presentation for your own personal use.

In the future this overview will be maintained as new product versions are released, providing you with a one stop shopping location for the current JBoss BPM Suite demos.

    Looking to Automate your business?

Wednesday, December 16, 2015

Peru Java User Group - slides available for JBoss BPM and JBoss BRMS sessions

The good people of Peru JUG have contacted me about presenting a session around the JBoss BPM Suite starter kit last week and a follow on session covering JBoss BRMS business rules starter kit

The session was recorded, you can use this link to view it, and the slides are available online.



Hope you enjoyed this as much as I did putting it together and presenting it for the Peru JUG.

Tuesday, December 15, 2015

Quick Tour #4: Start your first JBoss BRMS project (video)

With the announcement that we have updated the JBoss BRMS Starter Kit you might have noticed that a few quick tour videos were promised.

On that promise we are starting to deliver with a series of short and simple video stories.

Today another in the series, we show you in just under three minutes how to start your first JBoss BRMS project for working on the JBoss BRMS Starter Kit.

We hope you enjoy this story and stay tuned for more...



Did you miss the other quick tour videos?
    1. Quick Tour #1: JBoss BRMS the Basic Install Project 
    2. Quick Tour #2: Where to get JBoss BRMS product
    3. Quick Tour #3: How to install JBoss BRMS
    4. Quick Tour #4: Start your first JBoss BRMS project
    5. Quick Tour #5: How to import a project into JBoss BRMS
    6. Quick Tour #6: Build & run a JBoss BRMS project
    7. Quick Tour #7: What's in Business Central
    Looking to Automate your business?

Friday, December 11, 2015

Peru Java User Group - Taking 6 steps to your first business rules

The good people of Peru JUG have contacted me about presenting a session around the JBoss BPM Suite starter kit last week

This coming Saturday they will be hosting another day long Java conference and have invited me back to give a talk on the JBoss BRMS starter kit.

The session will give you 6 easy steps down the path to getting started on your first rules project. It will be made available online for the Peru JUG members to pursue at their leisure in the following weeks.

The session is to take place at on Dec 12, 2015. I will try to post contact and login information once I have it or watch for it on my social media accounts (@ericschabell).

Taking 6 steps to your first business rules

Want to design business rules and events, but not sure how to get started? First you’ve heard of Red Hat JBoss Business Rules Management System (BRMS), or anxious to get started with your freshly downloaded JBoss BRMS? 

Then, this session is for you. 

JBoss BRMS starter kit can get you up and ruling your world in 6 easy steps:

  1. Provide you with the details, help, and a path to business rules, planning and events freedom.
  2. Show you a quick and easy entry into the world of business rules design.
  3. Walk you through the contents of—and what you can achieve with—JBoss BRMS.
  4. Provide a quick-tour series of video tutorials getting you started from scratch.
  5. Let you use any of several pre-installed projects and workshops to take you step-by-step through constructing a project from scratch.
  6. See how to make use of several workshops-in-a-can to host your own getting started events at work, with friends, or at a local user group.

Join this session:


The slides will be online hosted for all to enjoy and I will post follow up article with links to recorded video once available.

See you there?

JBoss BPM Suite 6.2 - Data models, white list and imports

Now that the final product has been released in the form of JBoss BPM Suite 6.2, we thought we might share some insights with you.

When you first take this product for a spin and create a new project, you might be caught by a subtle change. It got me to thinking that I could point out a few of these tips and tricks to your as the product approaches delivery to the public.
Figure 1: 


Data models, white lists and imports

When you initially setup a project, you define the group and artifact id that translates for a developer into the package naming to be used for any data types you add for your data model. 

What you don't see happening in the project is that it automatically generates a package-names-white-list file with an entry that omits all package paths except for the complete group and artifact ids. 

For example, in our JBoss Cool Store project, we have defined the project group id as com.redhat and the artifact id as coolstore, see figure 1.  

The auto generated package-names-white-list file appears as shown in figure 2, containing an entry of com.redhat.coolstore.**. 

Figure 2: auto generated white list file.

The product documentation describes its function as:

"The use of this file allows a developer to narrow down the group of facts that are loaded and are therefore, visible. This helps in speeding up the loading of these facts while creating new rules. This file is created automatically on the creation of a new project in the root directory, along with the pom.xml and project.imports project files. For existing projects, you may create this file manually."

Figure 3: the data model and package layout.
This means that only data types from our data model that are given the full package name will be available in the list for use in rules, decision tables and other artifacts we want to create.

To explain what this means you have to look at what you are capable of doing when designing a rule and need to import part or all of your data model. 

We will walk you though this using an example where we are building the Cool Store with just a two object data model and a rule that needs to import the entire model.

Default out of the box we have create the project as described above, the package-names-white-list file contains the filtering entry as described above and the data model is as follows (shown in figure 3):
  • com.redhat.coolstore.Product
  • com.redhat.ShoppingCart
  • Figure 4: entire data model is now available for import.
  • com.TestObject
We then create a guided rule and check what is available for import and see that there is but one element of our data model available, com.redhat.coolstore.Product. 

This is conform expectations, but we have a problem as our business user happened to create part of the model in different packaging areas. 

This could also be due to the data model being uploaded from a different project, putting it outside the filtered com.redhat.coolstore location.

The question is how can we make the rest of our data model available in the import lists?

Looking to Automate your business?
In this case we need access to all of the data model so we remove the filter line in package-names-white-list file and see in figure 4 that all of our data model is now being made available for import.

This article should provide good insight into the default filtering of your data models when importing into your rules, events and process project artifacts during design time.

Wednesday, December 9, 2015

JBoss BPM Suite 6.2 - How to use the Correlation Key

Now that the final product has been released in the form of JBoss BPM Suite 6.2, we thought we might share some insights with you.

When you first take this product for a spin with one of the updated demo projects, you will notice a subtle change. It got me to thinking that I could point out a few of these tips and tricks to your as the product approaches delivery to the public.


Figure 1: Start process task form with Correlation Key split
expanded here to show the form field and normal
start process task form hidden behind link.
When starting a new BPM project instance after you have deployed your project, you are used to seeing a pop-up with the product that is your generated start process task form. This form has either been generated by the process designer or you have spent time deliberating over the data required to start your process instance.

With JBoss BPM Suite 6.2 your form will appear as before, but it now contains a split entry with the top part being a Correlation Key and the bottom part being your normal task form.

What is a Correlation Key you ask?

This is a field that is optional when starting a process and will not be expanded by default. You will need to click on it to expand the field where you can enter any business related id you like to be able to track the process instance you are starting. 
Figure 2: Correlation key is noted in the process
instance details.

See figure 1 for example of what the start process form for our JBoss BPM Travel Agency project looks like.

The key will need to be unique for active process instances and is shown during the life of the process instance in the overview information. It will be blank if not provided or contain the key entered at the start of the process instance life cycle, see figure 2.

Note you will get an error if you try to use an existing Correlation Key with a process instance still active that already has one. Figure 3 shows an active process instance with a Correlation Key that you can not reuse until that process completes.

The Correlation Key's will be maintained in the JBoss BPM Suite persistence data source (a fancy way of saying they keep it in a database table) so that you can define a filter on the new data sets feature to view your keys. 

Data sets will be covered in a future article in the series on what's new in JBoss BPM Suite 6.2.


Figure 3: Overview of process instance in active running
state with a correlation key that is in use.

This article should provide good insight into how the Correlation Key is leveraged as a business aware key for identifying process instances.
Looking to Automate your business?

Monday, December 7, 2015

New in JBoss BPM Suite 6.2 - Mulit-user support in Business Central

Any time there is a new release around the Automate products at Red Hat you will encounter an official announcement, but this does not always satisfy those of you that are closer to the usage and implementations concerning these products.

Just for you we present here the most interesting and important improvements that have been released with JBoss BPM Suite 6.2 and try to summarize what they entail.

Internally we have been testing and exploring the new release while updating all of our various BPM, integration and big data JBoss BPM Suite demo projects. During this process we thought it would be important to point out the following exiting new improvements (presented in no particular order):
  • Improved multi-user support in business-central
  • New data mapper
  • Java Script has been added as a process dialect
  • Decision table validation improvements
  • Dashbuilder (BAM) data sets explorer view
  • Data grid views (queries)
    • process instance & task lists can be configured (urgent tab added)
    • leverages data sets and filters
    • delivered with default set of views / tabs
  • Case Management  
Over the next few weeks we will cover items on this list, starting today with multi-user support improvements in Business Central components.
Figure 1: lock icon showing multi-user activity.

Multi-user support improvements

The first thing you will notice is that JBoss BPM Suite 6.2 now includes a locking mechanism for process project artifacts. This means when a user is online and working on a rule for example, there will appear next to that artifact a lock-icon as shown in figure 1.

For those interested in the deep dark locking secrets going on here, it is called light pessimistic locking and it does let you work on an artifact without someone else working on the same item in business central.
Figure 2: Two users busy with different artifacts, locking shown.

This icon will only appear with two or more users logged in and browsing the same project artifacts. When all but one user logs out, all lock icons will disappear from the last users screen.
Looking to Automate your business?

Stay tuned for more on the new features in JBoss BPM Suite 6.2.

Thursday, December 3, 2015

JBoss BPM Suite 6.2 - Adding custom node tasks to your project

For the astute JBoss BPM fan it will not have escaped you that the community has been hard at work putting together a lot of new features for the upcoming JBoss BPM Suite 6.2 release.

With the early internal Red Hat releases being made available, some of the testing I do around updating the array of demo projects we have has revealed a subtle change. It got me to thinking that I could point out a few of these tips and tricks to your as the product approaches delivery to the public.

It is a common occurrence that you might want to create a custom node type for your process. That would be a task in your process that does something so specific that you want to encapsulate it into a single standard node type for your organization to reuse. 
Figure 1: select deployment descriptor from editor.

Out of the box JBoss BPM Suite provides several examples of this, such as a Log task and an Email task. We showcase the Email task in our JBoss BPM Travel Agency Demo and up to product version 6.1 we would configure this in a CustomWorkItemHandler.conf file. This file was then put into the business central application (see the init.sh in the project for details) for global usage by all projects.

In the latest release this usage was removed, so one needs to have it added in the deployment descriptor file (kie-deployment-descriptor.xml), which can be added globally into the business central application or in each specific project. 

We will show you here how we added the Email task as a WIH to the JBoss BPM Travel Agency project using the provided UI tooling.
Figure 2: default work items.

1. Project editor
Open the project editor in Authoring -> Project Authoring -> Open Project Editor

2. Deployment descriptor
Select the editor from drop down menu, see figure 1.

3. Work item handlers
Scroll down to the section with the work item handlers, you will find a few pre-configured as shown in figure 2, but we need to add an Email handler.


Figure 3: add Email details.
4. Add Email handler
Using the +Add button, we can provide the details as shown in figure 3 to add our Email task. Be sure to add a Name, class to be called, and Resolver Type.

After doing this we can save the file using the top right menu, then build and deploy our project to test a successful booking which will then use the email task at the end of our process.

Once you have configured your deployment descriptor you can safely remove an CustomWorkItemHandler.conf files, if you need a reminder how to access the git repository externally to remove these files from your project, see my previous article on how to do that.
Looking to Automate your business?

This article should provide good insight into the use of a deployment descriptor to control your custom task needs in your process projects.

Tuesday, December 1, 2015

Peru Java User Group - Taking 6 steps to your first process project

The good people of Peru JUG have contacted me about presenting a session around the JBoss BPM Suite starter kit.

The session will give you 6 easy steps down the path to getting started on your first BPM process project. It will be made available online for the Peru JUG members to pursue at their leisure in the following weeks.

The session is to take place at 15:00 EST on Dec 6, 2015. I will try to post contact and login information once I have it or watch for it on my social media accounts (@ericschabell).

Taking 6 steps to your first process project

Want to design business processes, but not sure how to get started? First you’ve heard of Red Hat JBoss BPM Suite, or anxious to get started with your freshly downloaded JBoss BPM Suite? 

Then, this session is for you. 

JBoss BPM Suite starter kit can get you up and processing in 6 easy steps:

  1. Provide you with the details, help, and a path to rules, events, and process freedom.
  2. Show you a quick and easy entry into the world of process design.
  3. Walk you through the contents of—and what you can achieve with—JBoss BPM Suite.
  4. Provide a quick-tour series of video tutorials getting you started from scratch.
  5. Let you use any of several pre-installed projects and workshops to take you step-by-step through constructing a project from scratch.
  6. See how to make use of several workshops-in-a-can to host your own getting started events at work, with friends, or at a local user group.

Join this session:


The slides will be online hosted for all to enjoy and I will post follow up article with links to recorded video once available.

See you there?

UPDATE: This is the google hangout link you can request an invite from to join the session live, later I will post the recorded results should you be unable to attend live.