It has been a long time since any news has appeared about the jBPM graphical designer. The most important reason of this silence is a major refactoring of the internals of the plugin. As some may already have observed a number of alpha releases of this refactored plugin have appeared lately on our sourceforge download site. We are working towards a GA release for this next generation graphical designer in the end of April timeframe.
I wanted to take the opportunity to highlight some of the new things that are supported in the designer. The reason why we decided to do the refactoring in the first place was in order to be able to fully support the complete jPDL process language. To more easily support all features of the jPDL constructs we decided to use the Eclipse tabbed properties pages. As an example, in the screenshot below you can see the possible editable properties of a swimlane with 'Actor' assignment type. Processdefinitions have additional property pages for tasks, actions and events.
One of the much demanded features is the support of the superstate construct. Superstates are used as a convenient way to group nodes into related sets, denoting for instance phases in a process. The screen sample below shows the appearance of a superstate in the jPDL GPD.
A third thing that is worth mentioning is the contribution to the workbench of a jPDL perspective. This perspective assembles the views that are important to the user when editing workflows or process definitions.
The views that are included in this perspective are of course the tabbed properties view mentioned earlier, but also an outline view and a thumbnail overview of the graphical editor pane. In addition, the perspective adds convenient shortcuts to create new process definitions.
During the coming weeks I will try to do some more posts to highlight some additional features. In the meantime, don't hesitate to try the new designer and to post your comments and feedback to our user's forum.
P.S. If you are attending EclipseCon in Santa Clara this week, be sure to stop by our booth and have a chat with us. Or even better, come to my tutorial on GEF and Gavin's tutorial on our Rich Internet Application tools.
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