bpmNEXT 2018: Application Development with ProcessMaker, Capital BPM, Camunda

Next-Generation Backendless Workflow Orchestration API for ISVs, ProcessMaker

Brian Reale and Taylor Dondich from ProcessMaker presented their new ProcessMaker.io product for a BPMN 2.0 workflow microservice API in the cloud, targeted at ISVs to add process management capabilities into their vertical products. This is intended to solve the problem of software vendors who want customized workflow features without having to embed a full BPMS platform. They provide a simplified Javascript process designer that ISVs can use to present to their end users, although a full BPMN designer could be used and the results imported into the environment, and there’s a simple task invocation interface that can be called from pretty much any language or environment via language-specific SDKs and generalized REST APIs. The demo showed creating a new environment, and walked through a Slack integration application where Slack becomes the task list user interface, and simple HTML forms are used as the task processing UI (which could be any UI environment). This is a developer tool, not an end-user or low-code tool; check out their github for SDK and connector code as well as samples, and their own site for videos and descriptions of use cases. There was some pushback on the use of the term “microservice”; it’s really a lean cloud-based BPPM engine in the cloud that provides fast, scalable, enterprise-grade workflow capabilities. Although I haven’t done any direct comparison, there’s at least some overlap with Camunda’s Zeebe.io offering.

CapBPM’s IQ no-code BPM development – Turning Ideas into Value, Capital BPM

Max Young from Capital BPM talked about their no-code code generator: a graphical environment that can import industry-standard models (including BPMN, but also from IBM BPM’s application format), augment with functions such as service calls and user interfaces, and export as a BPM application in a number of different formats including those that can be imported into BPMS vendors’ products, or open source code. The demo showed how they can start with an application template that includes process and data models, then have the tool use AI to suggest UI layouts and other application parameters. There are a number of analysis tools for simulating processes, visualizing interactions between components (such as between a process model and a decision model). He created a process application from scratch, defining data fields, allowing auto-layout to suggest a visual form which he then modified to add logic to fields, and defining a BPMN process model to create an application shell. He then exported to both IBM BPM and Camunda BPM, which deployed the application to each of those environments and created application dashboards. The goal of this product appears to be to allow a broader range of people to rapidly develop BPM apps without being trained in the specific target BPM tool, with the resulting application passed off to a development team that will maintain it in the long term. For low-code tools such as IBM BPM, that may not be a perfect use case, but for products that are targeted at developers, such as Camunda, it might be a better fit as a UI and application code generator.

Monitoring Transparency for High-Volume, Next-Generation Workflows, Camunda

Ryan Johnston of Camunda presented on their Zeebe.io product, which (like the new ProcessMaker.io offering discussed above), is a microservice orchestration engine, but more specifically monitoring the performance of Zeebe by pairing it with Camunda Optimize to create heatmaps and other reports. The demo is based on a stock market pairs trading arbitrage use case, where a third-party process detects arbitrage opportunities and sends a signal that instantiates a Zeebe process; this process calls services to calculate the risk, calculate the long/short positions, and execute the trade. Speed and volume are key since rapidly changing market conditions could impact the effectiveness of the trade, hence the requirement for a high-performance engine like Zeebe, but also the need to monitor performance. The Zeebe Simple Monitor is the first of the administration tools being ported to this environment from the main Camunda product, providing a lighter-weight version of Cockpit. Camunda Optimize is used directly to view Zeebe performance, with the ability to create reports and assemble them into dashboards that show metrics such as flow node distribution (in pie chart, heatmap and tabular format), process instance count, and raw process instance data. He also demonstrated alerts, which can notify (by email) when specific values hit certain milestones, such as process instance count exceeding a value. He finished with one of Camunda’s fun add-ons, which is a video game view of a process model that allows you to walk through a 3D representation and shoot to kill process instances. Interesting audience question on using Zeebe as a smart event bus in addition to standard process applications at high volume.

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