david, here's some web console feedback. this is intended as the start to get the 3.2.Alpha2 release finalized.
1) Layout doesn't yet work in firefox. It was good in IE.
Hmm, that's odd. I did testing in both firefox and IE, and tried to make it look identical. What page was wrong? Could you email me a screenshot?
2) I didn't saw a way to start a new process. So i couldn't test if the generated forms worked ok.
You have to search for the process, and then choose the "Start a new process instance" menu item. Perhaps I should move that from the menu to the summary screen.
BTW, task forms work fine except that the buttons don't render yet. Buttons should be working by tonight (Wed Nov. 15).
3) My personal wishlist (hence not really important)
- Filtering is better this way. But i still would move the filtering underneath the actual table.
I agree, I was thinking about that last night. It's not really possible (or maybe just very difficult) to do this with the JSF dataTable, but I intend to do a component for this feature. I just wanted to get the functionality stable before I make it look pretty.
- I would move the column with action links to the first column. Now, the actions are a bit hidden because people look over the screen from left to right.
Sure, no problem.
Can you give an update ? When do you think you will have HEAD in a releasable mode for an Alpha ?
In terms of making sure everything that's in there is stable, this week for sure. Once it's stable, I'm going to keep it that way until at least after the final release, so it'll just be a question of how many features I can add before the cutoff. :-)
i tried again and now it works in firefox. maybe my firefox had an old css cached somehow...
also i found the way to start a new process
but i don't yet see the action buttons. in the form, i see this:
<jbpm:datacell> <f:facet name="header"> <h:outputText value="Actions"/> </f:facet> <!-- TASKFORM BUTTONS --> <tf:saveButton value="Save"/> <tf:cancelButton value="Cancel"/> <tf:transitionButton to="to_state" value="to_state"/> </jbpm:datacell>
but the action cell is empty.
Yes, like I said I didn't get the buttons rendering last night. It'll be done by tonight though.
some more ideas, now that i found much more behind the processes :-) These are just ideas, and should be discussed before you take action.
The variations in context sensitive is a bit confusing. After a few clicks, i got the scheme that is behind it, but still, I have to read through the menus to know what functions are available. Also, I think the appearing of the context sensitive menus will be a bit hard to use for power users.
I was thinking of the following alternative: Replacing the context sensitive menu's with a kind of trail like
[Process 'Websale'] >> [Task 'Buy expensive things']
Such a line could be added on the top of the page, full length. Perhaps this can be done in the same colors as the border around the boxes.
This would resolve 2 issues i have:
1) get rid of the flashing context sensitive menus on the left. So the general menus will not start moving and remain on their place.
2) Moving more content (and actions) in the pages and less actions in the menus will improve clarity, i think. Especially, the task page could contain all the actions that are now available in the context sensitive menu.
Also you could later add pop-up menus on the [Process 'Websale'] and [Task 'Buy expensive things'] to make frequently used operations available with 1 instead of 2 clicks.
ps. don't worry about stability in this alpha release. the only thing that i think needs to be added to this current release is a kind of help in which you explain how to start a new process instance for dummies like me :-) I would prefer to be able to release sooner. Especially now that i know that the generated task forms are almost working. If the actions in the task forms are fixed, and the web app is a bit documented with a help button somewhere, we can release. Would these two things be possible by tomorrow ? Again, stability is not yet an issue. Let's work on that before we go to beta releases.
david, when you're done this evening, can you give a list of showstoppers or nice-to-have things that you would like to fix before the Alpha2 release ?
That way, i could know if i could do the release tomorrow. I could postpone to friday, but probably no later as next week is JBossWorld.
Here's a list of things that are done and not done, as well as my ranking of how important they are. You are free to decide what the actual importance is, because I'm not totally clear on your goals for this release (mine are to provide at least minimal functionality without any major crash issues).
Some major things that are done (not an exhaustive list):
1. Generally no on-screen exceptions from regular navigation (I'm squashing them as I find them)
2. New task forms rendering
3. Process source
4. Task form source (just because I had that nice little XML formatter written, so I thought, why not)
Things that need to be done:
1. More work on navigation (I also don't like the mix of action and navigation in the menu). I could keep busy for several days on this one, but I think it's pretty important.
2. Action feedback - right now, some actions move you to a new view, some keep you on the same view, but none of them give you any feedback to tell you what happened. I have an idea of how to do this but I'd need a day or two to do it. This is pretty important from a usability perspective, but maybe not so important if the goal is to just demo the app?
3. Search Filters - should be moved to be inline with the table columns. Maybe 3-4 hours of work.
4. Reports and Dashboard - Many of the view screens could be enhanced to show simple dashboard-like things, and even keep them updated real-time with relatively small effort. This would help fill out the content of these screens. The ones that are there just have a couple attributes that I grabbed more to test the navigation than to provide the final content. This could range from simple to complex, depending on how fancy I want to get with it.
5. Validation - Validation feedback is primitive right now. To see what I mean, put a text string such as "hello" in one of the numeric search fields, like process version or task priority. This is maybe a half-day of work, if I do #2 first.
6. Cosmetic stuff - There's a lot I could do here, and I probably will, eventually, but it's obviously less important.
7. Task Form Outcomes - I'd like to have task form transition buttons bring you to a completion screen for the "next step". It should tell you if there are tasks outstanding, and to whom they are assigned. You should be able to choose a task to work on next, and possibly the options should be restricted by security role at some point. This is more of a design effort than implementation, but my gut feeling is that I'll want to finish fixing up the navigation first, otherwise I'll probably end up redoing some of this after I do the navigation stuff.
8. Robustness - The web application can fail in some places when there is unexpected or incorrect data in the process definition or in the database. I'd like to be robust against this case and give sensible error messages. Again this isn't so important from a demonstration perspective - just don't feed it bad data. :-)
My editor actually crashed while I was typing this and so I had to start over again. Grrr. I'm sure I left something out. Feel free to add things you think are important... especially content-related items. I'm not always sure what the most useful information to display would be. In many cases, adding content is really simple so feel free to mention anything you can think of.
ok. looks good.
now i know the minimal functional requirements for the 3.2 release: at least, we should be able to create a process in the designer and then execute this process completely in the web app. Anything outside of that main path is optional. That is what i'm going to check now to see if you are missing anything in that respect.
here are my findings:
1) The websale got to run. Functionally I didn't yet made a good separation of functional features that i want in this Alpha2 release and features that can be postponed. So the goal for Alpha2 is that the websale example process should be completely executable in the webapp. If that can be done without crash, it's ok.
I have tried to update the websale example. Can you get it deployed and executed ? Let me know if you have any problem with that. Feel free to update the forms in the websale as appropriate. The designer form generation also needs some updates, but those can wait till the next release. I have created a jira issue for koen.
2) Transition button 'More info needed' took the wrong exit. In the websale example, i clicked on 'More info needed' and saw the payment task appearing. This would indicate that the wrong transition is taken with respect to the clicked button. Can you check this ? This should be fixed for Alpha 2
Since you are busy with transitions, you might want to address this minor issues in one go: i would change the attribute name of the transition button from 'to' to 'transition'. 'To' typically indicates the destination node of the transition in jBPM terminology.
3) New forms are not used when redeploying process definitions. I know i have some caching build in there. Maybe something is wrong with that. Can you see if you can reproduce ? This doesn't need to be fixed for this Alpha2 release.
Now, you already support comment input. But what I didn't yet have in the console before and which is really needed is displaying of the comment history. This would ideally be done with another jbpm component tag. The tag would show all the comments made on a given token. I have a layout in mind (i'll email it), but feel free to come up with something different. These forum's topic threads could also be an inspiration for the comment history layout. This can also wait till the next release.
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