BPMS Lesson Learned – Developer’s experience

In the design phase, we focused overall architecture of solution using BPMS, in this part, we will focus on developer’s interaction with BPMS system, design tools, etc. It describes subjective experiences with ActiveVOS designer version 6.1. At the time of writing this article, ActiveVOS v. 9  was announced. I believe that a lot of stuff described in this article were enhanced and the product has made a great step ahead. Here are some key points which were recognized as a limitation.
  • Mitigate your expectation regarding BPMS designer IDE. Designer is Eclipse-based IDE so for those who are familiar with Eclipse shouldn’t be a problem to start work with. Just expect that not all features are fully elaborated like code completion is completely missing. Xpath, XQuery error highlighting, code formatting (even tab ident is completely missing). Message transformation can be really painful from that point of view. It is good that these problems were at least partially addressed in future releases.
  • Team collaboration is a bit difficult. Not because of missing integration to a version control systems like SVN, CVS, etc. But just simply because of generated artefacts like deployment descriptors (pdd files), ant scripts they all contain absolute paths to files. What simply doesn’t work on different PC. Fortunately, this problem is easy to avoid by replacing this absolute path by relative ones.
  • Be prepared that some product feature is not reliable or doesn’t work. As nobody is perfect even ActiveVOS BPMS is not an exception. Just name those which we have to cope with:
    • eventing – On Weblogic application server running in the cluster this feature was not reliable.
    • instanceof – Xml processor used by ActiveVOS  ( Saxon library )  doesn’t support keyword instanceof used for element identification in the inheritance hierarchy.
    • time-out on asynchronous callback “receive” were no reliable – Once it time-out after 5 minutes (required 3 min), next time 1 hour, …