Intalio tutorial on creating a web form based on Orbeon XForms technology

Note: The article below was written in January 2014 and is perhaps still relevant for those who are now using a commercial version of Intalio in late 2016. At the time, I had the privilege of using the free Developer Community version of Intalio, on which my Intalio articles were based. As this Community and related source material have since been dismantled, I am in the midst of setting up an alternative open source platform based on Camunda. Luckily for me, besides offering BPMN (Business Process Model and Notation), the Camunda platform also supports DMN (Decision Model and Notation) and CMMN (Case Management Model and Notation) just to get started! My adventure with Camunda will soon be revealed on this site 🙂

Introduction

Following on from my previous article Getting started with Intalio|BPMS, which walks through Intalio’s tutorials for beginners, I decided to follow the next batch of tutorials aimed for the intermediate audience.  A pre-requisite for this is to complete a short tutorial on building a web form using Form Designer (part of Intalio|Designer built with Orbeon XForms technology). The tutorial ‘Creating forms with the Form Editor’ isn’t very stimulating… however, in a straightforward manner it demonstrates the drag and drop features of putting form components into a web form. You also end up with a form that will be used later in the intermediate tutorials.  You should note that Intalio are moving from Orbeon XForms for forms, and recommend the use of Intalio|AJAX forms instead; they don’t provide the same tutorial to create the same form needed for the intermediate tutorials, but you can easily work it out yourself with a little playtime!  I decided to do that at a later stage after I had some problems with the XForms.

I decide to write up my experience during the intermediate series of tutorials because I had some difficulty in getting through some of it and came across a few unnecessary mistakes, which cost me some time to resolve – I know IT professionals often accept this ‘trouble-shooting’ part of the development process, but I also tend to think that a little ‘user perspective’ does no harm in improving the technical writing: this series of tutorials could certainly do with an overview of the tutorials objectives, including a short description of the scenario(s) that will be used (so users can anticipate what will/should happen), more cohesion between connected tutorials, more testing and clearer task breakdowns.  I don’t intend to rewrite the tutorials here (!) – but I have provided some tips, screenshots and notes whilst you follow the intermediate Intalio’s tutorials.

A walkthrough of the Intalio intermediate tutorials

1. Web forms

Intalio Ajax web form integrated into a BPM diagram

The intermediate series starts with ‘Creating forms to support people activities with the Form Editor’ as I explained above. Since I had problems with the XForm during deployment, later in the tutorial, I decided to start again using an Ajax form which worked fine. With hindsight, I recommend that you follow the XForm tutorial, and then follow the Ajax tutorial straight afterwards to attempt to achieve the same form. The interfaces are slightly different but the concepts are the same.

Click diagrams to enlarge them

2. BPM diagram

Data mapping in BPM diagram

Then you follow the steps in ‘Designing Processes with People Activities’.

Note:
a. You may notice in my diagrams here that my first project, PeopleActivity, has a red crossed icon on the BPM file – this indicates the problems I had during deployment first time around (still unresolved despite several hours of trouble-shooting!). In the end I wondered if the XForm was the issue and decided to start over, but this time using an Ajax form.  I created a new project called PeopleActivity2 and this is what I refer to throughout this article.
b.You may also notice that the XForm file is called PA.xform and the Ajax file is called PAform.gi, so you can’t possibly get them mixed up!

3. Deploy build

Manifest build list for deployment

Follow the steps in ‘Deploying Forms and Process with People Activity’. Hopefully you will have a successful deployment, unlike me the first time around (!). If not, then spend some time checking over the tutorial steps again up to this point, and if this gets you nowhere and you haven’t used an Ajax form from the beginning, then perhaps this is the opportunity to start over.

Successful deployment

I provide a screenshot of the build manifest, (as it differs from that shown in the Intalio tutorial), and a screenshot of the message for a successful deployment!

4. Executing processes

Then follow the steps ‘Executing People Initiating Processes’.

Now the hiccups in the tutorial begin here. Even if you used the correct login console as directed in the tutorial, with the correct username msmith and password password, as shown here, you may find you don’t see any tasks in the Tasks tab or processes in the Processes tab – the expectation is that the new process you’ve created is ready for you to ‘start’, which in turn will create ‘workflow-like’ tasks  in the Tasks tab.

So when my expectation was not met I first checked the deployment: I logged into the Intalio|Console as admin and the new process was there…

PAPA process in Intalio|Console, logged in as admin

… and then I logged in as msmith and the new process was there also in the Intalio|Console….

PAPA process in Intalio|Console, logged in as msmith

So at this point I looked at the tutorial.  It states, “By default, this user has the role ‘examples\employee’, which is a role we have authorized to start the PIPA process when we deployed the PIPA form. This takes you to Michael’s task list. Click the Processes tab to access the list of processes Michael is authorized to initiate. You should see a process called ‘PIPA’.”  I remembered that in the BPM diagram we were instructed to assign the role as examples\manager, and so I returned to my BPM diagram and changed the role from examples\manager to examples\employee under the Workflow tab of the User pool. And hey presto, this solved my problem!

From this point on, I was able to start the new process, which then created a new task for msmith to process. Yippee!  When clicking the task, the Ajax web form appeared as shown here and you can take it from here for testing/playing.

Ajax form to perform task as msmith

I tested the form several times by choosing  the buttons Revoke, Claim, Save, Submit… and a message was presented each time confirming the action.  In this Console you can also look in detail at the process data, events, progress, etc.  I also monitored the instances logged in the admin Intalio|Console to check the process activity.

I was relieved to have completed the Intermediate tutorials, and after many hours trouble-shooting I can at least say that I have learned a lot about Intalio|BPMS along the way!

I guess now it’s time to embark onto the Advanced series of tutorials… but I’ll take a coffee break first.

Getting started with Intalio|BPMS

Originally published: Tuesday, August 24th, 2010 at 22:07 in Industrialism, Modeling

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