Yesterday Oracle announced public availability of the highly anticipated BPM 220.127.116.11 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 18.104.22.168 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
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.
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.