Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Why The Application-Centric Design in Joget Workflow v3?

Our previous blog post, Sneak Preview of Joget Workflow v3, has gotten a lot of attention from Joget Workflow adopters as well as industry watchers in the BPM space. Many people are surprised with the application-centric approach that we are pursuing, but at the same time, the comments and feedbacks we have received have been very encouraging!

Why The Application-Centric Design?

not just automating processes, but building apps

We have learnt a lot in the 19 months since the public release of v1.0. Based on observing numerous implementations of Joget Workflow, we were able to gather a couple of interesting facts:
  1. Process automation is just part of the implementation use case. Most of the time, what a customer actually needs ultimately, is an application.
  2. Process automation is just part of the implementation use case. A customer also needs reports in tabular format and the ability to easily export the records.
As Joget Workflow's design goal heads towards maximal "simplicity", it doesn't make sense for us not to address the actual customer needs commonly observed in most implementations.

Simplicity Redefined

You can still choose to develop processes with Joget Workflow v3 and integrate them into your preferred web frontend such as WordPress, Drupal, Liferay and SharePoint.

Joget Workflow v3 Userview Builder

But, if you prefer to stay with minimal integration points, the new Userview Builder will enable you to create a web frontend that includes the following features:
  1. Link to form
  2. Link to HTML page
  3. Link to URL
  4. Link to tabular report (list), with export feature
  5. Link to process
“Less is more”. Simpler architecture, better manageability.

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

What Are We Brewing for Joget Workflow v3?

It's no longer a secret that the Joget Workflow development team is driving the project at full throttle to release version3 Beta. Joget Workflow v3 will mark a very significant milestone: to realize the ultimate goal of Joget Workflow being an application builder.

“Why limit your imagination to just process automation, when you can build an app?”
Recently, the most frequently asked question among the Joget Workflow community is, "What's new in Joget Workflow v3?" Here's a sneak preview to draw your interest ;)

App-Centric

In Joget Workflow v3, the design focus is enhanced from process-centric to app-centric.

app-centric design

In other words, we no longer confine ourselves to just creating processes; we now create a web application that contains multiple processes! For example, a CRM application can be made up of Pre-sales Process, Customer Support Process, Lead Management Process, etc.

CRUD and Datalist

When we talk about building an application, what are the most commonly needed UI components?
  • CRUD (create, read, update, delete) of records
  • Listing of records
For example, in a CRM application, we would undoubtedly need to have features for Contact List, Opportunity List, Account List, Product List, etc. Then, at the same time, each of these listings would need to have the standard CRUD feature.

In Joget Workflow v3, we can easily create a datalist from a customizable set of columns, filters, and actions. This powerful new feature allows users to not just design and automate processes, but to build real web applications too!

datalist

Powerful Form Builder

form builder

One of the most impressive updates in Joget Workflow v3 is the Form Builder. Our Joget Workflow engineers committed a lot of effort into a 100% ground-up revamp of Form Builder from v2, to introduce the following new features:

  • Flexible grid layout to allow any form of UI arrangement.
  • Wizard-style property dialog for all form elements.
  • Support for form element extension using plugins, which means we can easily enjoy the availability of a new form element, just by installing a plugin.
  • Support for configurable data binders to load and store data. In other words, we can configure to load data from, and store data to, a default or any other external datasource.
At the same time, we are still keeping the following beautiful strengths of Form Builder in v3:
  • Fully web-based, no client-component installation required.
  • Support for Mobile View
Drag-and-Drop Userview Builder

Userview is the frontend interface that all application users will be interacting with. Imagine this use case:

We designed 3 processes and 5 datalists for a CRM app. Ideally, we would like application users to interact with this CRM app from a frontend interface that is made up of:
  • Navigation menu
  • Links to run the 3 processes
  • Listing tables summarizing my tasks
  • Reports in tabular data format, furnished with export options
  • Links to CRUD of master records
  • HTML pages
And the good news is, all these standard UI requirements for a frontend website are available out-of-the-box in the new Userview Builder! So again, please allow me to repeat: with Joget Workflow, we are not just designing and automating processes, but building web apps too!

userview builder

Simplicity redefined. Not a single line of programming code to be written, from designing processes to creating a complete web app!

Simplified Workflow Designer

workflow designer

Aside from all the jaw-dropping app-centric features packed into Joget Workflow v3, the Workflow Designer was also enhanced to include:
  • Further simplified interface. Based on user feedbacks, redundant features that led to confusion in the previous version have either been simplified or removed.
  • Easy-snap which makes it much easier to insert and connect the objects.
  • Intelligent context guide to advise users of any mistake spotted in the workflow design, and subsequently offer suggestions to correct those mistakes.
Excited yet? No, this is not all. But this blog post is lengthy enough, so I shall stop "leaking" any more of v3's new features for now and keep some for the next post ;)

Stay tuned!

Read also: