Easy Workflows - Activiti Kickstart

With its lastest release of the Activiti Designer, Activiti has moved more than a step forward in workflow definition and development. This tool was first announced a while ago (in the Alfresco DevCon 2013 celebrated in Berlin) and has been a very demanded one from developers and business people.

This tool allows the easy creation of Activiti workflows including deployment to an existing Alfresco repository. Apart from the process definitions, this tool can create the corresponding workflow model and form definitions and deploy them.

Installation

This is an Eclipse IDE based plugin. You will need to install the Activiti designer plugin using the following URL: http://activiti.org/designer/update/ making sure all items are ticked for installation.

Activiti Kickstart installation

Once installed, you'll need to restart Eclipse to enable the plugin.

Process creation

Developers can still use the original BPMN Designer that have been using. But a new designer that integrates content model and form creation is included in this new release. The great thing about this new editor is that there's no XML or programming language knowledge required to create the whole bunch of files that compound the entire workflow development.

Kickstart workflow process definition

As you might have noticed there are 2 new artifact that can be created (note that these can be created in any type of project, does not need to be a Kickstart project).

  • Kickstart form
  • Kickstart process

The order in which are created is not relevant as forms can be assigned to workflows of tasks as desired. Bear in mind that forms will be needed in the following ocassions:

  1. When starting a workflow
  2. In each manual task

Activiti Kickstart workflow form definition

As the video shows when defining a workflow or a manual task, you can choose between creating a new form, or selecting an exiting one. The cool thing about this tool is that the user can see how the form will look like and even define the behaviour of it, making fields read-only, allowing the field to be used as parameter further down the workflow steps, etc.

 Exporting

There are different options to export workflow processes and forms using the Kickstart tool.

Activiti Kickstart export options

Note: when exporting make sure you choose Kickstart project.

  1. Exporting to projects target directory
    This export creates all the files under the target directory in the current project. It will create 2 directories: repo with the XML files for the Alfresco Explorer webapp, and share with the XML configuration files for the forms in Alfresco Share
    Alfresco Activiti Kickstart export files
  2. Custom location
    The user selects where to place the output files for each of the Alfresco projects (Explorer and Share)
  3. CMIS
    By using this option, you can export and deploy the changes straight to an Alfresco repository defining where the workflow process, models and Share configuration files will be uploaded to. Note that this will upload the files straight to the repository instead of to the filesystem (bit of Alfresco's administration knowledge is required for this).

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