How to Model Business Rules?

Today, when you design a modern business application, you have to deal more and more with constantly changing business rules. The reason for this is that not only the software industry follows the agile path. Business processes are also subject to a permanent change. At the same time, however, business processes are becoming increasingly complex as more and more information is influencing our business world. In the following I will show how business processes and their rules can be modeled with the help of BPMN.

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Imixs-BPMN – Data Objects

With the latest version 4.2.5, the Imixs-Workflow Engine, is now supporting BPMN Data Objects. This kind of model element can be used to model more complex wokflows processing input data:

With this new feature any kind of data object – e.g. a XML or HTML templates – can be associated with a BPMN Task. As a result, the task element will provide these data objects in the new item ‘dataObject’. This item can be injected into a running process instance. See the following code example which is injecting a ‘Invoice HTML template’ into a workitem:

...
ItemCollection task = model.getTask(1000);
List<?> dataObjects = task.getItemValue("dataObjects");
if (dataObjects.size()>0) {
  String[] data=(String[]) dataObjects.get(0);
  String templateName=data[0];
  String content=data[1];
  if ("Invoice Template".equals(templateName) {
    // inject data...
    workitem.repalceItemValue("htmldocument",content);
  }
}
....

DataObjects are part of Imixs-Office-Workflow Version 3.2  to provide an easy and flexible way to create documents and templates during a business process.

Email Templates with Imixs-Workflow

With the latest release of Imixs-Workflow the open source workflow engine supports now Email Templates. With this new feature the email output can be based on a XSL Template. This opens up a powerful way to configure the mail content of more complex e-mail messages during the lifecycle of a business process.

Email Templates

The new template mode can be easily configured using the Imixs-BPMN Modeling Tool by putting a valid XSL document into the mail body definition. The template will be processed automatically with the XML representation of the current workitem.

See the following XSL Template example:

<?xml version="1.0" encoding="UTF-8" ?>
<xsl:stylesheet xmlns="http://www.w3.org/1999/xhtml"
 xmlns:xsl="http://www.w3.org/1999/XSL/Transform" version="1.0">
 <xsl:output method="html" media-type="text/html" indent="no"
 encoding="ISO-8859-1" />
 <xsl:template match="/">
  <html>
    <body>
     <h1>Welcome</h1>
     <h2>
       <xsl:value-of select="document/item[@name='txtname']/value" />
     </h2>
    </body>
  </html>
 </xsl:template>
</xsl:stylesheet>

Imixs-Workflow supports the BPMN 2.0 standard and is build up on the Java EE specification. For that reason, it is easy to connect the open source workflow engine with a mail host in various ways. Open Source Mail servers as also Microsoft Exchange are supported. Find more details about the Imixs-MailPlugin in the plugin section of the project documentation.

Language specific business process modelling

With the next release of the Imixs Workflow Engine Imixs provides a way for language specific business process modelling. The upcoming release supports country and language dependent text blocks in a workflow model. With the new attribute ‘locale’ a item value can be formatted in a country and language specific code – independent form the server setting. The new attribute supports the ISO 639 language and also the ISO 3166 country code.

For example to format a date value in German date format the following expression can be used:

<itemvalue format=\"EEEE, d. MMMM yyyy\" locale=\"de_DE\">datdate</itemvalue>

This feature gives more flexibility into the workflow model and allows to model country and language specifiy formats in one model.

Read more about the Imixs Plugins API.