czwartek, 13 kwietnia 2017

Email configuration for jBPM

Quite frequent question from users is how to send emails from within process instance. This is rather simple activity but requires bit of configuration upfront.

So lets start with application server configuration to provide JavaMail Sessions via JNDI directly to jBPM so process engine does not need to be concerned too much with infrastructure details.

In this article, WildFly 10 is used as application server and the configuration is done via jboss cli. As mail server Gmail is used as it makes it quite common choice.

Configure WildFly mail session

This is quite simple as it requires to configure socket binding and then the actual JNDI resource of mail session type:

/socket-binding-group=standard-sockets/remote-destination-outbound-socket-binding=jbpm-mail-smtp/:add(, port=465)

/subsystem=mail/mail-session=jbpm/server=smtp/:add(outbound-socket-binding-ref=jbpm-mail-smtp, ssl=true,, password=password)

Items in bold are external references:
  • host - smtp server host name
  • port - smtp server port number
  • JNDI name the mail session will be bound to
Items in red must be replaced with actual Gmail account details that shall be used when sending emails:
  • from - address that should be valid email account
  • username - account to be used when login to SMTP server
  • password - account's password to be used when login to SMTP server

When starting WildFly server, you have to provide the JNDI name to be used by jBPM to find the mail session, this is given as system property:

./ .... -Dorg.kie.mail.session=java:/jbpmMailSession

this is all that is needed from application server point of view.

Configure jBPM for sending emails

There are two email components that can be used by jBPM to send emails:
  • Email service task (backed by work item handler)
  • User task notifications
Both of them can rely on application server mail sessions, so configuration of the application server applies to both email capabilities.

Work item handler configuration

Email activity is based on work item mechanism so that requires work item handler to be registered for it. Work item handlers can be registered via deployment descriptor that can be done on kjar level or server level. Below screen shot illustrates the configuration of the deployment descriptor on kjar level done in workbench

what this does - it's registering for Email work item/service task and since it should use mail session from JNDI we need to reset the handler property so they won't get in the way (argument of the EmailWorkItemHandler constructor):
  • host set to null
  • port set to -1
  • username set to null
  • password set to null
  • useTLS set to true
this is done to make sure all these values are taken from JNDI mail session of the application server.

As it was mentioned, this email registration can also be done on server level, global deployment descriptor that all kjars will inherit from. See more about deployment descriptor in the docs.

That's all from jBPM configuration point of view. 

Process with Email task

Last thing is to actually take advantage of the configured Email infrastructure so let's model most basic process that the only thing it does is sending email and completing.

Email task can be found in the left hand side panel - palette - under Service Tasks category.

Once placed on the process flow you need to provide four data input to instruct email work item handler how to compose the email message:
  • From - valid email address
  • To - valid email address of the recipients (to specify multiple addresses separate them with semicolon ';')
  • Subject - email subject
  • Body - email body (can include html)

That's all, just build and deploy it and enjoy receiving emails from your processes.

czwartek, 6 kwietnia 2017

Case management application in workbench

As part of coming jBPM version 7 I'd like to present a new component that will allow an easy and comprehensive look into case management. As described in the article case management should be business focused and domain specific to bring in the most value to the end users who in many cases are not technical. But there is also the other side of the coin - administrators or technical business users. They are as important as end users because in many cases these are the people that keep the apps running and available for end users.

With jBPM 7 they are certainly not left behind. A new component is available for that audience to allow them to have quick and rather complete view at the cases (both definitions and instances). To make it possible to deal with various type of cases that component was made generic to:

  • bring in visibility to the technical users
  • provide insight in where the case instance is
  • allow to perform certain operations on a case instance which might not be visible to end users through the case app
The good thing is that the application can be used standalone or can be automatically provisioned by workbench and accessible from within the workbench UI.

By launching the Case Management Showcase application you will be transferred to a new window to allow you to operate on cases:
  • start new instance of case definition
  • view and administrate on already active case instances
  • use workbench runtime views (Process Instances and Tasks) to interact with case instance activities

As can be seen, the example show the Order IT hardware case instance, one that is shown in the case app article. I'd like to show that exact same capability exposed to end users through the case app can be performed by technical/admin users by using the Case Management app and workbench.

That's as simple as that, those who are familiar with workbench as an environment will find themselves in there and navigate through the screen easily. Again, its target is technical users as that does not bring the business context thus might lead end users (non technical ones) to be confused and lost a bit. 

Running workbench with case management app

So that illustrates how it actually works but how to set this up?

First of all, let's configure the runtime environment for workbench, there is not much of new  things compared to standard installation of the workbench:
  • user and roles setup
    • make sure there is an application user that has at least following roles:
      • kie-server
      • user
    • make sure there is a management user - this will be used by the provisioning service of the workbench to deploy automatically case management application
  • security domain setup 
    • make sure that the security domain used by workbench (by default it's other) has additional login module defined (
  • system properties set for JVM running server
    • org.jbpm.casemgmt.showcase.deploy=true
    • instruct workbench to deploy case management showcase apps when starting
    • org.kie.server.location=http://localhost:8230/kie-server/services/rest/server
    • location of the kie server that the case management app is going to talk to
    • org.jbpm.casemgmt.showcase.wildfly.username
    • optional user name (of the management user) in case it's different than admin
    • org.jbpm.casemgmt.showcase.wildfly.password
    • optional user password (of the management user) in case it's different than admin
    • org.jbpm.casemgmt.showcase.wildfly.port
    • optional wildfly port that server is running on - default 8080
    • optional wildfly management port - default 9990 
    • optional wildfly management host name - default localhost
    • org.jbpm.casemgmt.showcase.path
    • local file path that points to war file to be deployed, can be used instead of relying on maven to download it
That should be enough to start the workbench and provision Case Management application to be automatically deployed. 

Assuming there are most of the defaults in use, following command is enough to start the server where workbench is deployed:

As part of the startup you should see Case management app being provisioned:
 [org.jbpm.workbench.wi.backend.server.casemgmt.service.CaseProvisioningExecutor] (EJB default - 1) Executing jBPM Case Management Showcase app provisioning...
[org.jbpm.workbench.wi.backend.server.casemgmt.service.CaseProvisioningExecutor] (EJB default - 1) jBPM Case Management Showcase app provisioning completed.

NOTE: the provisioning is based on maven resolution of the jbpm-case-mgmt-showcase so depending on the download time it can timeout from time to time. To overcome this you can download that artefact manually via maven to speed it up.

Next, is to clone the Order IT hardware case project into workbench and build and deploy it to KIE Server for execution. Once it's built and deployed it's ready for execution. 

That concludes how to get started with brand new stuff coming with version 7 ... which is really around the corner so start preparing for it!

Special credits go to Cristiano and Neus for excellent work that resulted in this new Case Management App.

piątek, 31 marca 2017

Case management in details at RedHat Summit 2017

I'd like to invite everyone interested in upcoming jBPM 7 feature for case management to RedHat Summit talk

Deep dive on case management

We'll be talking about the most important things to know about how case management is built in jBPM 7 and how to make best out of it. A must to attend for those who plan to accelerate their business with new capabilities to make their work even more flexible.

"Nowadays, the work performed by employees on a day-to-day basis isn't typically a well-defined sequence of tasks, but rather depends much more on the so-called knowledge workers to evaluate the data specific to the case and to collaborate with others to achieve their goals. To be able to better assist these kinds of users, traditional Business Process Management (BPM) Suites have evolved to include much more advanced features related to this case management. On top of that, these workers could benefit a lot from advanced applications, customized to the use case they are trying to solve. In this session, you will receive a deep dive from the experts into what case management is and how we extended our existing framework to better support these kinds of use cases. We will show how you can also develop a customized application on top of Red Hat JBoss BPM Suite more quickly, taking advantage of these advanced capabilities."

Check out the details of the talk and other sessions and trainings on Summit agenda

Planning to go there? Maybe it will make it easier with a discount code...

Hope to see you there!!!

środa, 29 marca 2017

Get ready for jBPM 7 ... migrate from 6.5 to 7

Yes, that is correct - it's time to get ready for jBPM 7!!!

as part of preparation for final release of community version 7, I'd like to share some thoughts on how to move to it from 6.5.

First of all, the big change that is in version 7 is the separation between authoring/management and runtime. There is no execution engine in workbench any more and obviously there is no REST/JMS endpoints for it either. Though there is still REST api that covers:

  • repository and project management (including maven builds)
  • KIE Server controller
both are in version 6.5 as well and they have not changed much and are expected to be backward compatible.

Focus of this article will be on migrating from 6.5 workbench (as execution server) to 7.0 workbench (as authoring and management) and kie server (as execution server).

Let's put this article in some context, a very basic to keep it simple but should be enough to understand the concepts:
  • single workbench installation running on WildFly
  • single project deployed to execution engine in workbench - org.jbpm:HR:1.5
  • number of process instances started and active in different activities
The goal of this exercise is to make sure we can stop 6.5 "migrate" and start 7 and these process instances can move on.

Prepare for migration

First step before we shutdown version 6.5 is to configure Server Template for the coming version 7 and KIE Server

Here we define server template with name "myserver" that has single container configured "org.jbpm:HR:1.5". The name of the container is important as it must match the deployment id of the project deployed in workbench execution server. And this container is in started state.

As can be seen, there are no remote server attached to it, that's normal as currently workbench is responsible for runtime operations.

Now it's time to shutdown workbench's WildFly server...

Migrate workbench

Once the workbench is stopped it's time to migrate it to version 7 (at the time of writing latest one was Beta8). We are going to reuse same WildFly instance for new version of the workbench, so:
  • Download version 7 of kie-wb for WildFly 10. 
  • Move the workbench (6.5) from deployments directory of the WildFly server
  • Copy new war file into deployments directory - no modification to war file are needed - remember there is no runtime thus there is no persistence.xml to be edited :)
  • remove .index directory that was created by version 6.5 - this is required because version 7 comes with upgraded version of Lucene that is not compatible with one used in 6.5 - don't worry assets will be indexed directly after workbench starts
There is one extra step needed - to add new login module to security domain used by workbench - this is to allow smooth integration with KIE Server on behalf of user logged in to workbench. Just add one line (one marked in red) to standalone[-full].xml

<security-domain name="other" cache-type="default">
       <login-module code="Remoting" flag="optional">
            <module-option name="password-stacking" value="useFirstPass"/>
        <login-module code="RealmDirect" flag="required">
            <module-option name="password-stacking" value="useFirstPass"/>
<login-module code="" flag="optional" module="deployment.kie-wb.war"/>
module  (part in bold) should point to the actual name of the war file you copied to deployments folder.

That's it, now it's time to start WildFly with workbench running version 7...

... yes, we can start it with default profile as there is no runtime in it (mainly JMS) so there is no need for full profile any more. But you can still use standalone-full.xml as server profile, especially if you have done any other configuration changes in it - like system properties, security domain, etc.

After a while, workbench is up and you can logon to it the same way you used to with 6.5.

Once logged in you can navigate to Deploy -> Execution Servers and the server template defined before the migrations should be there.
When you go to Process Definitions or Process Instance they will be empty as there is no KIE Server connected to it ... yet.

NOTE: Workbench uses data set definitions to query data from execution servers. In case you run into errors on data retrieval (process instance, tasks or jobs) make sure you "restore default filters", a small icon on top of the data table

Migrate data base

As of major version, there have been some changes to the data base model that must be applied on data base that was used by version 6.5. jBPM comes with upgrade scripts as part of jbpm installer distribution (alternatively you can find those scripts in github). They are split into data base and version that they upgrade (from -> to)

An example from github:

So this means that the upgrade script is for PostgreSQL db and provides upgrade from 6.5 to 7. Same can be found for major data bases supported by jBPM.

Logon to the data base and execute the script to perform migration of the data model.

Configure KIE Server

Last step is to configure brand new KIE Server version 7. A separate WildFly instance is recommended for it (especially for production like deployments) to separate authoring/management from runtime servers so they won't affect each other.

Most important is to configure WildFly server so it has:
  • same security domain as instance hosting workbench
  • same data sources that point to the active db as had 6.5 workbench 
  • and possibly other execution related configuration 
NOTE: Extra note about security is that users who are going to use workbench to interact with KIE Server (like starting processes, completing tasks) must have kie-server role assigned - security domain that is used by KIE Server.

KIE Server can be started with following command:

Explanation of each line (skipping first line as it's command to start server):
2. select WildFly server profile to be used - requires full as KIE Server comes with JMS support
3. port offset to avoid port conflicts when running on same machine as workbench
4. server id that must match server template name defined in workbench
5. controller location - workbench URL with /rest/controller suffix
6. kie server location - actual location of the kie server (it must include port offset) 
7. hibernate dialect to be used
8. JNDI name of the data source to be used

NOTE: If the kjar was using singleton strategy then file that keeps track of ksession id of that project should be copied from workbench (WILDFLY_HOME/standalone/data/org.jbpm/HR/1.5-jbpmSessionId.ser) to same location in KIE Server's WildFly instance. This is important when you have facts in ksession or timers)

Once server is started, it will connect to workbench and collect list of containers to be deployed (in our case it's just one org.jbpm:HR:1.5)

KIE Server is now connected and ready for execution, you can find it in Deploy -> Execution Servers where it should be now visible as active remote server:

And when navigating to Tasks or Process Instances you should find your active instances left from 6.5

And that's it, now you're ready to take advantage of new features coming in 7 without a need of leaving your 6.5 work behind :)

środa, 1 marca 2017

Prepare for future ... KIE Server Router extension

KIE Server Router was built to cover two main areas:

  • hide the complexity of many KIE Server instances hosting different projects (kjars)
  • aggregate information from different KIE Servers regardless if they share the same db or host the same projects (kjars)
As described in previous articles, it can find the correct KIE Server instance for the incoming request based on container information that is sent through router. So the basic logic is that router keeps information (routing table) that have following information:
  • container id mapped to KIE Server location (url)
  • container alias mapped to KIE Server location (url)
  • server id mapped to KIE Server location (url)
in the context of this article, only first two are relevant. They are used to find the right server (or one of them) to forward the requests to.

The KIE Servers (Kjar 1 and Kjar 2) can have as many instances as they need that will be connected to the same db and will use the same set of containers deployed to them.

Whenever new request comes in, router will try to find if it contains container information and if so will attempt to find the route to the server that supports it. The situation is very simple if the request comes with container id (as opposed to container alias). As container ids are unique (and should be versioned to provide maximum flexibility) so the look up of the route is easy - just get it from routing table.
A bit more complex scenario is when the alias is used. Obviously this is more appealing to end users (client apps) as they don't have to change the URL whenever new container is deployed. So instead of using container id in the URL, container alias can be used to make the client less coupled with the constantly changing environment. 
By default KIE Server Router deals with container aliases same way as for container ids. Looks them up in the routing table to find the server location. Then it's the individual KIE Server that is responsible to find out concrete container that should be used to deal with that request. That is perfectly fine as long as there is no alias shared across different KIE Server - by different I mean KIE Server that host different kjars (usually different versions of the kjar).

As illustrated at the above diagram in such case, Kjar 2 should then take over entire responsibility for given container alias and host both versions of the project. As soon as it up and running the Kjar 1 server should be removed and then the Kjar 2 takes over entire load. 

This architecture promotes reusability of the runtime environment for the same domain - usually the version of given project are incremental updates that stays in the same domain. So that is what is available by default and the logic to find the proper container is within the KIE Server itself.

... but real world is not as simple ...

There are more options for deployments that would then put more responsibility in the KIE Server Router instead. Like for example taking the action to find out the latest container for an alias across all available containers. For example, if we want our clients to always start with latest available version of a process then client will use alias for container and router should resolve it before forwarding to KIE Server. That would mean that the architecture is that each KIE Server hosts single kjar and each version will bring in new KIE Server instance connected to the router but all of them will share the same alias.

The above setup is not covered by default in KIE Server router because the alias can be resolved to different servers that might not have the kjar deployed that given request is targeting. To allow to cover this use case KIE Server Router was enhanced to allow certain components pluggable:
  • ContainerResolver - component responsible for finding the container id to be used when interacting with backend servers
  • RestrictionPolicy - component responsible for disallowing certain endpoints from being used via KIE Server Router
  • ConfigRepository - component responsible for keeping KIE Server Router configuration, mainly related to the routing table
Since KIE Server Router can run in various environments these components can be replaced or enhanced compared to the defaults. For instance to support the described scenario - router to be responsible to find the latest container and then forward it to that kie server. This can be done by implementing custom ContainerResolver and plug it into the router. 

Implementations are discovered by router via ServiceLoader utility so the jar archives bringing in the new implementation need to have included service descriptor:
  • ContainerResolver 
    • META-INF/services/org.kie.server.router.spi.ContainerResolver
  • RestrictionPolicy
    • META-INF/services/org.kie.server.router.spi.RestrictionPolicy
  • ConfigRepository
    • META-INF/services/org.kie.server.router.spi.ConfigRepository
A sample implementation of all these components can be found in this project at github.

Since default KIE Server Router is ran as executable jar, to provide it the extensions the execution needs to slightly change:

java -cp LOCATION/router-ext-0.0.1-SNAPSHOT.jar:kie-server-router-proxy-7.0.0-SNAPSHOT.jar org.kie.server.router.KieServerRouter

once the server is started you will see log output stating what implementation is used for various components:

Mar 01, 2017 1:47:10 PM org.kie.server.router.KieServerRouter <init>
INFO: KIE Server router repository implementation is InMemoryConfigRepository
Mar 01, 2017 1:47:10 PM org.kie.server.router.proxy.KieServerProxyClient <init>
INFO: Using 'LatestVersionContainerResolver' container resolver and restriction policy 'ByPassUserNotAllowedRestrictionPolicy'
Mar 01, 2017 1:47:10 PM org.xnio.Xnio <clinit>
INFO: XNIO version 3.3.6.Final
Mar 01, 2017 1:47:10 PM org.xnio.nio.NioXnio <clinit>
INFO: XNIO NIO Implementation Version 3.3.6.Final
Mar 01, 2017 1:47:11 PM org.kie.server.router.KieServerRouter start
INFO: KieServerRouter started on localhost:9000 at Wed Mar 01 13:47:11 CET 2017

So that would be all for this article. Stay tuned for more updates and hopefully more out of the box implementations for KIE Server Router.

piątek, 24 lutego 2017

Enhanced KIE Server Router and Workbench integration

After KIE Server Router introduction there was quite interesting feedback especially regarding integration with workbench. Main point identified was the extra management needed when KIE Servers run in managed mode. This extra management was to setup (or more configure as router self register itself in the controller) to deal with all possible containers that backend KIE Servers could use.

So to put it straight, let's look at one scenario:

  • single KIE Server Router
  • two KIE Servers with unique server ids (pointing to different server templates in workbench)
    • hiring
      • hosting hiring container
    • evaluation
      • hosting evaluation container
  • single workbench with KIE Server controller

So with this setup, upon start KIE Server router will self register it in the controller but the servlet template will not have any containers defined. What impact does it produce? It means that workbench integration with KIE Server will not know how to construct data objects when interacting with it. In most of the cases it will simply say - no way to connect to KIE Server.
So to solve that, administrator would have to manually define all containers in the KIE Server Router's server template that are behind the router. This might work for simple cases where number of containers does not change too often but if the environment is much more dynamic it becomes quite an issue...

To address this out of the box, KIE Server Router is now equipped with logic to notify the controller about containers from the backend KIE Servers. This is done automatically whenever KIE Server deploys or undeploys a container. That is then directly registered in server template and can be used right of in workbench.

Here is how it actually works

Thanks to this integration between router and controller, there is no more manual intervention needed from the administrator side whenever new KIE Servers or new containers are added to be managed by the router.

Another (related to this) feature was added as well, this time to the integration between KIE Server and the Router. Till know KIE Server was only attempting to notify router when it starts. Though when at that time router was not available KIE Server didn't retry to notify it. That could lead into situations where server was up but router was not aware of it. Enhanced integration is that KIE Server will schedule retries (with default 10 seconds interval) to constantly try to notify router. This way as soon as router comes up it will receive notification from KIE Server and then register it (and its containers) in workbench.

Small features but makes the integration much easier and reliable.

Special thanks goes to Karel who lead the QE test day for KIE Server, well done Karel and the team!

czwartek, 16 lutego 2017

Linked process instance images

In one of the previous posts I described how to retrieve images of process instance from the runtime environment. Now I'd like to share small but helpful improvement in that area. Links between process instances that follow parent child relationship. To put it more in BPMN2 context those processes that use reusable subprocess (call activity).

This very simple process uses call activity to invoke another process instance that is linked to this one. In runtime after "test" activity is invoked there will be two process instances:

  • parent process instance that consists of call activity node

  • child process instance that was initiated by the call activity 

So this is what you could do already, so where is the improvement? It's this small '+' sign that allows to link between these two process instances. And this does work for both active and completed process instances.

A more complete showcase can be seen below

Short article but nice feature :)