Tuesday Jul 02, 2013

Reusing Web Forms across BPM Roles

Recently Varsha(another BPM Product Manager) approached me with a requirement where she wanted to reuse same Web Form for different task activity.We both knew this is easily achievable.The human task outcomes can differ to distinguish the submission based on roles.Her requirement was slightly more than this, she wanted to hide some data based on the logged in user. If you have worked on Web Form rules, dynamically showing and hiding data is common requirement and easily achievable using Form Rules. In this case the challenge was accessing BPM role inside the Web Form. Although, will be addressing this requirement in future release she wanted a immediate solution(Aha, after all customers are not the only one's who can not wait). Thankfully we managed to come-up with a solution and I hope this will be helpful to larger audience.

Solution has 3 steps :

Step 1: We added a hidden attribute in our form (Role). The purpose of this attribute is just to store the current logged in user's role and we pass the value during data association.

Step 2 : In your data association step, pass the role value based on the Swimlane

Step 3 : Now use this hidden attribute value in your Web Form rule for dynamic behavior


Detailed steps and sample can be downloaded from Java.net.


Friday May 17, 2013

Customizing the look and feel of BPM Applications

One of the very common requirement for BPM customers is to have their corporate look and feel for BPM workspace. This requirement would usually extend to Human Task UI's too.

In PS4FP release we had added a lot of enhancement to the Workspace Customization at run-time. BPM user can not only change the branding logo , tittle etc but also the overall look of the workspace and task UI using ADF skin.


You can either select any one of the OOTB skins or create a custom skin.

If  you have custom CSS requirements you can create your own custom skin and apply it to Workspace. In either case the workspace skin gets automatically inherited by your ADF application.

In 11.1.1.7.0 we have introduced an alternate UI technology, Web Forms. Adding a Skin(theme) or Custom CSS to Web Forms is slightly different. Your custom ADF  skin will not be automatically inherited by Web Forms. However you can follow this Sample to add custom CSS for Web Form.

In general Web Form allow CSS are different levels,

You can add them for a specific control(inline) using the properties->style tab. The top commonly used styles are exposed by the tool for an easy intuitive style change. Any change here is applicable only to that form control.

You can specify a theme(skin) for entire page. Click on the Form,select Properties->Style->Theme. The theme selected will be applied to entire form unless overridden at control level

Example : Professional Blue Theme

You can apply Theme at applications level, this is the theme you select in your BPM workspace (preferences) and will be applied to all forms unless overridden using above 2 options.

Please refer our  BPM Customization sample for details on creating and applying custom theme for Web Forms.

Note :  The sample project zip  has the .css files that can be updated(SampleSkin\SharedLib\custom.client.applib.jar\themes\mySkin.zip\)

Wednesday May 15, 2013

Enabling logging for Web Forms

If you want to enable the logging for Web Forms you will have to change the logger level using the server configuration. In PS6 this property is not exposed through EM but can be manually updated using logging.xml.

Steps

Open your servers logging.xml

Location :  DOMAIN_HOME/config/fmwconfig/servers/server_name/

Update the logger level  for the following:

<logger name='com.frevvo' useParentHandlers='true'/>
<logger name='com.gauss' useParentHandlers='true'/>
<logger name='com.frevvo.forms' useParentHandlers='true'/>
<logger name='com.frevvo.forms.rule' useParentHandlers='true'/>

Please refer the Fusion Middleware Administrator's Guide for more details on logging in general.


Monday May 13, 2013

Introduction to Web Forms -Basic Tutorial

If you are new to Oracle Web Forms and would like a quick overview and hand-on then please try out this Sample.

These step-by-step instructions guide you through common tasks for Form creation and provide background concepts and information to help you understand what you are accomplishing in the steps.

By the end of this exercise you will be able to
  1. Create new Web Form   
  2. Design the Web Form (Add elements, set properties and style)  
  3. Change the Web Form Layout(Add panels and repeat)  
  4. Adding Dynamic Behavior to the Web form using form rules(validations, show/hide and invoke REST service

Sample(Steps and Solution) : https://java.net/projects/oraclebpmsuite11g/downloads/directory/Samples/bpm-WebForms-BasicTutorial

Thursday Apr 04, 2013

Oracle BPM Web Forms

Yesterday Oracle announced public availability of  the highly anticipated BPM 11.1.1.7 release. It's clearly a very exciting release for the entire BPM team.

I joined this team over a year ago to manage the BPM UI technologies (Browser application, Web 2.0, Mobile etc). A PM with specific goal of User Experience(UE) was in itself a clear indicator of our focus on end user experience and BPM UI development tooling.

Designing human task user interface is critical piece of BPM process definition more so since end users are now getting more and more UI aware enforcing Business involvement in UI definition.One of our primary goal on this front was to enable Business User to not only get involved in Process and UI modeling but its implementation as well.  BPM 11.1.1.7 announced a huge step towards this goal through its Web Forms feature.

Oracle Form Designer is a browser based simple drag-and-drop tool for business users to quickly model and implement rich interactive forms for their end users. This tool is a part of BPM composer.

Some of the highlights of Oracle Web Forms 

Developmental Approach

Web Forms Support two developmental approaches

Form First , where Business user wants to start with Form designing. In this case the Schema definition will get automatically created and associated with the Human Task.

Data First, Where the Data Structure of your Task is predefined and elements can now be dragged and dropped into the Form Canvas.

Designing Web Forms

You can start designing your forms by dragging and dropping standard HTML components like text, drop-down, radio etc or pre-formatted controls like money, phone email etc.  from the controls palette.Data can also be grouped using table component for displaying data in grid format or repeat control for sub form style of presentation. Once elements are dropped Layout control can be used for arranging these controls and optimizing the browser real-estate.

 Control can be individually styled using the style properties for that control. The top commonly used css are exposed using the designer. The overall theme/skin for Web Form will be inherited from the workspace.

Form Rules

One of the important feature of  this tool is to design interactive forms. Oracle Web Forms supports this via Java Script. Web Forms have an inbuilt JS editor that allows form designer to write rules that get triggered on form events. These rules can be effectively used to show/hide or enable/disable sections, controls or data. Other examples of Form rules are calculation and manipulation.

Web Forms can be integrated with external system using  REST Service.Once a  form is designed it can be tested , deployed and internationalized within the BPM composer.Lifecycle of Web Form is tied to that of a Composite and it will get bundled and deployed as a part of composite.

Support for Human Task metadata and UCM integration in Web Forms

The key architectural concept is that  at run time Web Forms are embedded inside an outer ADF UI. This ADF UI gets dynamically generated for the human task based on the task definition. So support for UCM attachment, task outcomes and task metadata will be honored as before. These forms can also be rendered inside Webcenter Process Spaces.

In summary Oracle Web Forms will now enable BPM modeller to not only model processes but implement them including its user interfaces.

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Technical and in-depth articles and samples on BPM 11g.

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