4 Replies Latest reply on Jun 3, 2010 4:54 AM by Sebastian Schneider

    Need help with workflow in Alfresco

    Scott Gartner Newbie

      Hello jBPM community,

      I haven't had any luck getting help in the Alfresco forums, and I'm hoping for more here.  We are building an application based on Alfresco and jBPM and I have defined a workflow, but I have either defined it wrong or am missing something or there are bugs in Alfresco integration with jBPM and I need help figuring out which and fixing it.  Here is the problem:

      I have an advanced workflow and I am trying to launch it from JavaScript.  Here is the code I'm using to start the workflow: {code} var nodeId = args.nodeid; var document = search.findNode("workspace://SpacesStore/" + nodeId); var workflowAction = actions.create("start-workflow"); workflowAction.parameters.workflowName = "jbpm$nmwf:MyWorkflow"; workflowAction.parameters["bpm:workflowDescription"] = "Please edit: " + document.name; workflowAction.parameters["bpm:assignees"] = [people.getPerson("admin"), people.getPerson("andyg")]; var futureDate = new Date(); futureDate.setDate(futureDate.getDate() + 7); workflowAction.parameters["bpm:workflowDueDate"] = futureDate; workflowAction.execute(document); {code}

      This runs fine and e-mail sent from the start node's default transition fires just fine.  However, when I go looking for the workflow in my task list it is not there, but it is in my *completed* task list.  The default transition (the only transition) from the start node points at a task node which has four transitions.

      There are 8 tasks and 22 transitions in the workflow.  When I use the workflow console to start the workflow and end the start task, it properly follows the default start node transition to the next task.  The new task shows up in "show tasks" but does not show up in "show my tasks" (apparently because the task was marked completed for some reason, though it is not in the "end" node).  The task is:

      `task id: jbpm$111 , name: nmwf:submitInEditing , properties: 18`

      If I do "show transitions" it looks just as I would expect: {code} path: jbpm$62-@ , node: In Editing , active: true task id: jbpm$111 , name: nmwf:submitInEditing, title: submitInEditing title , desc: submitInEditing description , properties: 18 transition id: Submit for Approval , title: Submit for Approval transition id: Request Copyediting Review , title: Request Copyediting Review transition id: Request Legal Review , title: Request Legal Review transition id: Request Review , title: Request Review {code}

      I don't want to post the entire workflow as it's large, but here are the first two nodes:

      First the swimlanes: {code} <swimlane name="initiator"></swimlane> <swimlane name="Content Providers">   <assignment actor-id="Content Providers" class="org.alfresco.repo.workflow.jbpm.AlfrescoAssignment">      <actor>#{bpm_assignees}</actor>   </assignment> </swimlane> {code}

      Now the nodes: {code} <start-state name="start">     <task name="nmwf:submitTask" swimlane="initiator"/>     <transition name="" to="In Editing">         <action>             <runas>admin</runas>             <script>                 /* Code to send e-mail that a new workflow was started.  I get this e-mail. */             </script>         </action>     </transition> </start-state> <task-node name="In Editing">     <task name="nmwf:submitInEditing" swimlane="Content Providers" />     <!-- I put e-mail sending code in each of these transitions, but none are firing. -->     <transition to="In Approval" name="Submit for Approval"></transition>     <transition to="In Copyediting" name="Request Copyediting Review"></transition>     <transition to="In Legal Review" name="Request Legal Review"></transition>     <transition to="In Review" name="Request Review"></transition> </task-node> {code}

      Here is the model for these two nodes: {code} <type name="nmwf:submitTask">    <parent>bpm:startTask</parent>    <mandatory-aspects>       <aspect>bpm:assignees</aspect>    </mandatory-aspects> </type> <type name="nmwf:submitInEditing">    <parent>bpm:workflowTask</parent>    <mandatory-aspects>       <aspect>bpm:assignees</aspect>    </mandatory-aspects> </type> {code}

      Here is a pseudo-log of running the workflow in the workflow console: {code} :: deploy alfresco/extension/workflow/processdefinition.xml deployed definition id: jbpm$69 , name: jbpm$nmwf:MyWorkflow , title: nmwf:MyWorkflow , version: 28 :: var bpm:assignees* person admin,andyg set var {http://www.alfresco.org/model/bpm/1.0}assignees = [workspace://SpacesStore/73cf1b28-21aa-40ca-9dde-1cff492d0268, workspace://SpacesStore/03297e91-0b89-4db6-b764-5ada2d167424] :: var bpm:package package 1 set var {http://www.alfresco.org/model/bpm/1.0}package = workspace://SpacesStore/6e2bbbbd-b728-4403-be37-dfce55a83641 :: start bpm:assignees bpm:package started workflow id: jbpm$63 , def: nmwf:MyWorkflow path: jbpm$63-@ , node: start , active: true task id: jbpm$112 , name: nmwf:submitTask, title: submitTask title , desc: submitTask description , properties: 16 transition id: [default] , title: Task Done :: show transitions path: jbpm$63-@ , node: start , active: true task id: jbpm$112 , name: nmwf:submitTask, title: submitTask title , desc: submitTask description , properties: 17 transition id: [default] , title: Task Done :: end task jbpm$112 signal sent - path id: jbpm$63-@ path: jbpm$63-@ , node: In Editing , active: true task id: jbpm$113 , name: nmwf:submitInEditing, title: submitInEditing title , desc: submitInEditing description , properties: 17 transition id: Submit for Approval , title: Submit for Approval transition id: Request Copyediting Review , title: Request Copyediting Review transition id: Request Legal Review , title: Request Legal Review transition id: Request Review , title: Request Review :: show tasks task id: jbpm$113 , name: nmwf:submitInEditing , properties: 18 :: show my tasks admin: [there is no output here] {code}

      I have been making the assumption that the bpm:assignees that I am setting before starting the workflow initially are getting passed to the first task node "In Editing".  Clearly the assignees are on the task object and not on the workflow object.  I added the assignees aspect to the start-state task so that it could hold them (after I had a problem; initially they were not there) and possibly they are still sitting there, but the start-state has ended before I even get control back from the web script (not that it would help if it wasn't ended, I need it to be in "In Editing" as the start-state is only used to log that the workflow was started).

      It has always confused me that the properties that I need to set on each task need to be requested before the task is entered (when you choose a transition you must provide the data for the next task before you can actually move to the next task as you have to validate that you have all of the required data *first* and then signal the transition).  However, the code to start the workflow is asynchronous and therefore does not return either the started workflow or the current task (which in my case would be "In Editing").  So, either way you cannot set variables such as bpm:assignees and bpm:dueDate.

      I wonder if this is the problem with the user task list.  I'm setting the assignees in the property list, but maybe those assignees are going to the start-state task and are not getting passed to the "In Editing" task?

      Note that this *is* my first jBPM workflow, so please don't assume I know what I'm doing.  If you see something that looks off, it probably is and I just don't know it.

      Thanks in advance for any advice or help,

       

      Message was edited by: Scott Gartner Added class element to assignment (I accidentally deleted it when I simplified from my real workflow)

        • 1. Re: Need help with workflow in Alfresco
          Alejandro Guizar Master

          Scott, this does look off:

              <swimlane name="Content Providers">
                <assignment actor-id="Content Providers">
                   <actor>#{bpm_assignees}</actor>
                </assignment>
              </swimlane>
          

          The jPDL reader does not read that actor subelement, only the actor-id attribute. That #{bpm_assignees} expression should be the value of the actor-id attribute. This could be the reason why the "submitInEditing" task shows up in "show tasks" but in "show my tasks". Of course, Alfresco might be using a custom jPDL reader, but this is unlikely.

          1 of 1 people found this helpful
          • 2. Re: Need help with workflow in Alfresco
            Scott Gartner Newbie

            Alejandro,

            Thanks for the reply.  There was a mistake there, but unfortunately it was not the actor-id element, it was that I had not put the "class" on the assignment.  Alfresco has defined a custom assignment class which (as I understand it) allows the use of user names in the assignment and (I assume) it validates those users and puts the proper actor-id values into the swimlane.  Either way, from all of the example code and the built-in workflows this is correct.  So, I changed my submission from:

            {code}
            <swimlane name="initiator"></swimlane>
            <swimlane name="Content Providers">
              <assignment actor-id="Content Providers">
                 <actor>#{bpm_assignees}</actor>
              </assignment>
            </swimlane>
            {code}
            

            to

            {code}
            <swimlane name="initiator"></swimlane>
            <swimlane name="Content Providers">
              <assignment actor-id="Content Providers" class="org.alfresco.repo.workflow.jbpm.AlfrescoAssignment">
                 <actor>#{bpm_assignees}</actor>
              </assignment>
            </swimlane>
            {code}
            

            This doesn't reflect a change in my workflow, just this message (I must have removed the class accidentally when I simplified it for the forum).

            Thanks again!

            • 3. Re: Need help with workflow in Alfresco
              Scott Gartner Newbie

              So, it turned out that my problem was misunderstanding how to do multiple assignees while allowing the workflow to transition with any one of those assignees.  It turns out that jBPM doesn't support this in a simple model, you have to do a lot more work than just assigning multiple assignees.I had followed a bad example that I found on the Internet and had made  an incorrect assumption about how this works.

               

              jBPM does have a concept of parallel tasks (using forks), but the normal action  requires all assignees to complete their tasks before the workflow will  transition.  It turns out that the right way to solve this is to fork the task to all of the assignees, but when any of the assignees completes their task we patch up the variable that stores how many assignees must complete their tasks (node.nOutOfM) to fool jBPM into finishing the task before all assignees have completed it (this can also allow only x out of y assignees to have to complete the task).

               

              Rather than posting updated code, here are the articles that I used to solve this problem:

               

              http://forums.alfresco.com/en/viewtopic.php?f=30&t=8691

              http://forums.alfresco.com/en/viewtopic.php?f=34&t=5189

              http://dev.alfresco.com/resource/docs/java/repository/org/alfresco/repo/workflow/jbpm/ForEachFork.html

              http://wiki.alfresco.com/wiki/WorkflowAdministration#For_Each_Fork

               

              Scott