What’s Next In camunda – Wrapping Up Community Day

We finished the camunda community day with an update from camunda on features coming in 7.2 next month, and the future roadmap. camunda releases the community edition in advance of the commercial edition; this is the way that open source should work, but some commercial open source vendors switch that around so that the community version lags by as much as a full version.

The highlights of the 7.2 release are as follows:

  • CMMN-based case management engine, which includes the core activities (stages, human tasks, process tasks, case tasks, milestones and sentries), the base case instance and plan item lifecycle, and a CMMN model API and REST API on a common process engine. They demonstrated a basic case manager UI that can manage cases and the related tasks; I assume that this is really just a demo of what can be done rather than intended as production code. They also don’t have case modeling in their modeler yet, so it’s early times.
  • A variety of functions for speeding development: connectors (currently REST and SOAP), dataformats, templating and scripting (calling external scripts, currently Groovy or Javascript but with others to come)
  • New tasklist, updating the tasklist UI that they released just before announcing camunda as an open source project. It allows filters to be defined, including specifying who can see the results of a filter in addition to the search criteria; that filter then appears as a tab on the task list, in the color defined by the filter author. The sort order can’t currently be defined as part of the filter, but can be set on the general tasklist interface. This adds a third (left) column to the tasklist UI, which also shows the list of tasks and the form for the selected task. Still work to be done, but the new filters capability is a big step up, providing a conceptually similar (but much different graphically) functionality to the Brazos portal filters.

There were a list of other smaller enhancements and fixes, from platform support to performance improvements to new functions.

We also saw some work in progress from the labs. First of all, an update on bpmn.io, which I saw at bpmNEXT earlier this year: a BPMN viewer and web modeler.. The viewer allows embedding of a BPMN diagram into a web page, including adding annotations, overlays and markers on the diagram, via a Javascript API. Check out a live demo here, demonstrating a BPMN diff function based on two similar process diagrams. From the viewer, you can export the model to a file. You can also create BPMN diagrams from scratch or import from a file, either directly on their site or embedded in another page. The modeler is still bit basic, and doesn’t handle containers (pools, lanes, subprocesses) very well yet, but that’s all coming; keep up with new functionality on the bpmn.io blog.

Another lab project is the camunda BPM workbench, a debugging tool that allows inspection of the runtime state of processes alongside the process model, allowing breakpoints to be set in the process model (rather than in code). A console interface allows for interrogation and updating of the process variables as the developer steps through the process. The process model is displayed using the bpmn.io viewer.

At the end of all the roadmap sessions, the audience had a chance to say what was most important for them in terms of what will be implemented when; there were questions about case management, centralized model repositories, bulk runtime operations and other features.

A great half-day; this is the first time that I’ve attended an open source code community day, and it’s quite a different environment from a typical vendor conference. We’re about to enter the beer-drinking portion of the day so I will sign off for today; I’m giving the keynote at the main camunda user conference tomorrow morning, and not sure how much blogging that I’ll do during after that.

Disclaimer: camunda paid my travel expenses to be here today and tomorrow, and is providing a speaking fee for tomorrow’s keynote. I was not compensated for blogging, and the opinions here (and in my keynote) are my own.

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