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Process Cloud Service and how to loop and select elements from a list by Martien van den Akker

Juergen Kress
PaaS Partner Adoption
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For more than half a year I've been 'dying' to write posts about some of the constructs I've developed in my last Process Cloud Service project. At last I have the opportunity. And I hope I'll be able to write some more. But for starters, one of the problems I encountered is that I needed to process a list of something(s) and select elements from it. Or even better, how to build up a new list based on an input-list and some rules. Oh and do looping, or actually determine how to finish a loop based on a list of elements. Without a count() function in the PCS Expressions...

Questions

If you have met these kinds of problems and the tool at hand is PCS, then you probably ran in (some of) the following questions:

  • Why don't we try to solve this in SOA CS or possibly ICS?
  • Where are the script tasks we have in BPM Suite? (Sorry, this is an obvious one, but still)
  • How to count the elements of a list? Or, where are the functions in PCS?
  • How to add elements to a list?
  • Etc.

To address a few of those...
Many of these things we ran into are actually orchestration issues. And as with the all-time discussions on when to use SOA and when BPM, we advise doing complex service orchestration  (with message processing) in SOA CS, or if possible in ICS. But when we started with this project, the tools we were given were PCS and ICS. And where ICS lacked the more advanced logic processing in the orchestration integrations, at the time (it's improved over time). And sometimes it really is fun to try to accomplish things that were mentioned not being possible. Go where no man has gone before, that sort of stuff.
Script tasks? I guess PCS Product Management gets tired of answering this question. But the real thing is: we do need to do determinations based on the outcome of services. But also doing logic before doing an activity. In the input data association of an activity, you can only assign into the input-arguments of the activity. You can't update process variables. You can do that in the output data-association. But not all activities have a output-data-associations. And there are cases where you don't have an applicable previous activity. For instance in loops. Read the complete article here.

 

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