Chapter 9. Process definitions and process instances in Business Central

A process definition is a Business Process Model and Notation (BPMN) 2.0 file that serves as a container for a process and its BPMN diagram. The process definition shows all of the available information about the business process, such as any associated subprocesses or the number of users and groups that are participating in the selected definition.

A process definition also defines the import entry for imported processes that the process definition uses, and the relationship entries.

BPMN2 source of a process definition

<definitions id="Definition"
               targetNamespace="http://www.jboss.org/drools"
               typeLanguage="http://www.java.com/javaTypes"
               expressionLanguage="http://www.mvel.org/2.0"
               xmlns="http://www.omg.org/spec/BPMN/20100524/MODEL"Rule Task
               xmlns:xsi="http://www.w3.org/2001/XMLSchema-instance"
               xsi:schemaLocation="http://www.omg.org/spec/BPMN/20100524/MODEL BPMN20.xsd"
               xmlns:g="http://www.jboss.org/drools/flow/gpd"
               xmlns:bpmndi="http://www.omg.org/spec/BPMN/20100524/DI"
               xmlns:dc="http://www.omg.org/spec/DD/20100524/DC"
               xmlns:di="http://www.omg.org/spec/DD/20100524/DI"
               xmlns:tns="http://www.jboss.org/drools">

    <process>
      PROCESS
    </process>

    <bpmndi:BPMNDiagram>
     BPMN DIAGRAM DEFINITION
    </bpmndi:BPMNDiagram>

    </definitions>

After you have created, configured, and deployed your project that includes your business processes, you can view the list of all the process definitions in Business Central MenuManageProcess Definitions. You can refresh the list of deployed process definitions at any time by clicking the refresh button in the upper-right corner.

The process definition list shows all the available process definitions that are deployed into the platform. Click any of the process definitions listed to show the corresponding process definition details. This displays information about the process definition, such as if there is a sub-process associated with it, or how many users and groups exist in the process definition. The Diagram tab in the process definition details page contains the BPMN2-based diagram of the process definition.

Within each selected process definition, you can start a new process instance for the process definition by clicking the New Process Instance button in the upper-right corner. Process instances that you start from the available process definitions are listed in MenuManageProcess Instances.

You can also define the default pagination option for all users under the Manage drop-down menu (Process Definition, Process Instances, Tasks, Jobs, and Execution Errors) and in MenuTrackTask Inbox.

For more information about process and task administration in Business Central, see Managing and monitoring business processes in Business Central.

9.1. Starting a process instance from the process definitions page

You can start a process instance in MenuManageProcess Definitions. This is useful for environments where you are working with several projects or process definitions at the same time.

Prerequisites

  • A project with a process definition has been deployed in Business Central.

Procedure

  1. In Business Central, go to MenuManageProcess Definitions.
  2. Select the process definition for which you want to start a new process instance from the list. The details page of the definition opens.
  3. Click New Process Instance in the upper-right corner to start a new process instance.
  4. Provide any required information for the process instance.
  5. Click Submit to create the process instance.
  6. View the new process instance in MenuManageProcess Instances.

9.2. Starting a process instance from the process instances page

You can create new process instances or view the list of all the running process instances in MenuManageProcess Instances.

Prerequisites

  • A project with a process definition has been deployed in Business Central.

Procedure

  1. In Business Central, go to MenuManageProcess Instances.
  2. Click New Process Instance in the upper-right corner and select the process definition for which you want to start a new process instance from the drop-down list.
  3. Provide any information required to start a new process instance.
  4. Click Start to create the process instance.

    The new process instance appears in the Manage Process Instances list.

9.3. Process definitions in XML

You can create processes directly in XML format using the BPMN 2.0 specifications. The syntax of these XML processes is defined using the BPMN 2.0 XML Schema Definition.

A process XML file consists of the following core sections:

  • process: This is the top part of the process XML that contains the definition of the different nodes and their properties. The process XML file consists of exactly one <process> element. This element contains parameters related to the process (its type, name, ID, and package name), and consists of three subsections: a header section where process-level information such as variables, globals, imports, and lanes are defined, a nodes section that defines each of the nodes in the process, and a connections section that contains the connections between all the nodes in the process.
  • BPMNDiagram: This is the lower part of the process XML file that contains all graphical information, such as the location of the nodes. The nodes section contains a specific element for each node and defines the various parameters and any sub-elements for that node type.

The following process XML file fragment shows a simple process that contains a sequence of a start event, a script task that prints "Hello World" to the console, and an end event:

<?xml version="1.0" encoding="UTF-8"?>

<definitions
  id="Definition"
  targetNamespace="http://www.jboss.org/drools"
  typeLanguage="http://www.java.com/javaTypes"
  expressionLanguage="http://www.mvel.org/2.0"
  xmlns="http://www.omg.org/spec/BPMN/20100524/MODEL"
  xmlns:xsi="http://www.w3.org/2001/XMLSchema-instance"
  xsi:schemaLocation="http://www.omg.org/spec/BPMN/20100524/MODEL BPMN20.xsd"
  xmlns:g="http://www.jboss.org/drools/flow/gpd"
  xmlns:bpmndi="http://www.omg.org/spec/BPMN/20100524/DI"
  xmlns:dc="http://www.omg.org/spec/DD/20100524/DC"
  xmlns:di="http://www.omg.org/spec/DD/20100524/DI"
  xmlns:tns="http://www.jboss.org/drools">

  <process processType="Private" isExecutable="true" id="com.sample.hello" name="Hello Process">
    <!-- nodes -->
    <startEvent id="_1" name="Start" />

    <scriptTask id="_2" name="Hello">
      <script>System.out.println("Hello World");</script>
    </scriptTask>

    <endEvent id="_3" name="End" >
      <terminateEventDefinition/>
    </endEvent>

    <!-- connections -->

    <sequenceFlow id="_1-_2" sourceRef="_1" targetRef="_2" />
    <sequenceFlow id="_2-_3" sourceRef="_2" targetRef="_3" />
  </process>

  <bpmndi:BPMNDiagram>
    <bpmndi:BPMNPlane bpmnElement="com.sample.hello" >

      <bpmndi:BPMNShape bpmnElement="_1" >
        <dc:Bounds x="16" y="16" width="48" height="48" />
      </bpmndi:BPMNShape>

      <bpmndi:BPMNShape bpmnElement="_2" >
        <dc:Bounds x="96" y="16" width="80" height="48" />
      </bpmndi:BPMNShape>

      <bpmndi:BPMNShape bpmnElement="_3" >
        <dc:Bounds x="208" y="16" width="48" height="48" />
      </bpmndi:BPMNShape>

      <bpmndi:BPMNEdge bpmnElement="_1-_2" >
        <di:waypoint x="40" y="40" />
        <di:waypoint x="136" y="40" />
      </bpmndi:BPMNEdge>

      <bpmndi:BPMNEdge bpmnElement="_2-_3" >
        <di:waypoint x="136" y="40" />
        <di:waypoint x="232" y="40" />
      </bpmndi:BPMNEdge>

    </bpmndi:BPMNPlane>
  </bpmndi:BPMNDiagram>

</definitions>