brms

What is a KJAR?

What is a KJAR?

Red Hat JBoss® BPM Suite and Red Hat Decision Manager (formerly Red Hat JBoss BRMS) both use an artifact packaging known as a “KJAR”, or knowledge artifact, since version 6. What is this file type? What separates it from a standard JAR file?

The basic summary

In very few words, a KJAR is a standard JAR file that has some extra files included. A KJAR keeps the same .jar extension as a JAR file, because its basic file structure is identical to that of a JAR.

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Upgrading to Vaadin Framework 8 (Part 2 of 2)

Upgrading to Vaadin Framework 8 (Part 2 of 2)

In the previous part of this blog, I talked about the most important steps to get your project to compile with the latest Framework version.

The migration has been done through the first three steps mentioned here, and in this post, I will go over the least complicated steps of migration. Steps 4 and 5 cover the modernization of your project with the latest Framework 8 features. If you are in a hurry, you can do this later on as well, and use the new APIs only for new Vaadin code.

  1. Upgrade dependencies in the POM file
  2. Run Maven goal vaadin:upgrade8
  3. Upgrade Add-ons
  4. Upgrade non-data components
  5. Upgrade data components
  6. Back to the future

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What’s New in Red Hat JBoss BRMS and BPM Suite 6.4

Red Hat has just released new versions of its popular business automation products: Red Hat JBoss BRMS &  Red Hat JBoss BPM Suite 6.4. In this post we will highlight the improvements and new features these releases brings. Apart from stability and performance improvements, version 6.4 brings new, highly requested, features that improve the platform experience in larger enterprises.

The new versions of the platforms are available both from the Red Hat Customer Portal (BPM Suite and BRMS) and the Red Hat Developers website. Installation instructions can be found in the “Getting Started Guide” for BPM Suite and BRMS and on the Red Hat Developers “Get Started” pages for BPM Suite and BRMS. Finally, the installation demo’s have been updated to target the latest versions:

  • https://github.com/jbossdemocentral/bpms-install-demo
  • https://github.com/jbossdemocentral/brms-install-demo

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Business process management in a "microservices world"

Generally when the topic of Business Process Management (BPM) comes up we think of BPM software suites. There’s another side to BPM though, and that’s the practice of process management, which doesn’t require any software at all.

Traditionally the BPM practice has focused on continuous process improvement. There are various methodologies but it generally comes down to this:

  1. Collect metrics on the existing process
  2. Analyze those metrics
  3. Propose an optimization
  4. Simulate the optimization with the collected metrics
  5. Institute the validated optimization
  6. Do it all again

There’s nothing wrong with that. We’ve occasionally had good results with continuous improvement for processes that are core to a business. A good candidate, for example, would be a fee-for-service health insurance claim process — it’s a process that’s been around for decades and will likely be around for additional decades. It’s also high volume, so even the smallest improvement can have a major impact.

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Micro-rules on OpenShift: The CoolStore just became even cooler!

Micro-rules on OpenShift: The CoolStore just became even cooler!

One of our  most popular Red Hat JBoss BRMS demo’s, and one that has been available for quite some time, is the CoolStore demo. The CoolStore demo shows how business rules can be used to calculate values like promotional and shipping discounts in a shopping-cart. It furthermore illustrates concepts like ruleflow-groups and dynamic rule updates using KieScanner.

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Effective Business Process Management with JBoss BPM (MEAP)

effective business process managementFor the last four years I was focused on evangelizing JBoss BPM Suite. The content I produced, the talks I have given and the articles I published led to many requests for a book focused on JBoss BPM products. This got me to thinking and in early November of 2015 I decided to submit a proposal. Hoping Manning would be open to the idea of a book that was not only focused on developers, but also on architects and process analysts. Effective Business Process Management with JBoss BPM was born.

There was a process that went back and forth as the proposal was discussed. Finally, in January of 2016 Manning started a proposal review. It’s where they ask for input from sources in the wild that are knowledgeable of the topics BPM and JBoss.

At the end of February 2016, having collected enough positive input during their review process, Manning committed to the book and I started to write.

The chapters have been flowing nicely and today the Early Access Program (MEAP) has been kicked off. Effective Business Process Management with JBoss BPM is a reality, a book that focuses on developers, architects and process analysts that want to get started with JBoss BPM Suite.

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Unit-testing your BPM processes by bending time.

One of the core drivers behind modern application architecture, development and delivery methodologies like micro-services, agile and CI/CD is the ability to automatically test any software artifact, from application code to server configuration. Automated testing gives us the reliable, repeatable, assurance that our software meets the required quality with respect to aspects like functionality, performance, and scalability and is ready to be deployed in production. Why should testing of a business-process defined in BPMN2, a deployable software artifact, be any different?

One of the unique features of Red Hat JBoss BPMSuite is that, due to it’s adoption of Maven as de-facto build platform, it allows to utilize standard Java testing practices and methodologies in the business process space. In fact, jBPM (the upstream community project thatforms the base of Red Hat JBoss BPMSuite), provides out-of-the-box JUnit test classes that allow one to easily unit-test business processes defined in BPMN2 (see the jBPM User Guide for more detail).

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Account Management with JBoss BPM Suite

Red Hat’s IT department recently deployed JBoss BPM Suite to handle automated process workflow. JBoss BPM Suite is officially defined as:

An open source business process management suite that combines Business Process Management and Business Rules Management and enables business and IT users to create, manage, validate, and deploy Business Processes and Rules.

IT’s immediate use case is to replace our aging account management system, which is essentially a collection of perl and python scripts.  Some of these date back to the turn of the millennium. These scripts had the responsibility of handling all aspects of user life cycle management, including:

  • Pulling user data from the HRMS
  • Creating the user LDAP object
  • Creating the user group LDAP object
  • Creating application accounts (home directories, mailboxes, etc)
  • Updating LDAP objects with HRMS changes
  • Closing user accounts and removing LDAP objects upon termination
  • Syncing account information with third party systems (SaaS vendors, etc)

These legacy scripts would perform SQL queries directly against multiple data sources and call LDAP operations, application command line tools and make API calls. While this system worked well for many years, maintenance became an incredible burden. In essence, only one person knew the account automation system. New application integration requests would have to wait months for resources to free up. For applications allowing direct API integration, that meant some pour soul (me) would have to spend a fair amount of time just figuring out how this new application worked and what API calls were necessary. Moreover, when a vendor would suddenly change their API, that meant something was broken until there was time to fix it. The result was Service Desk team having to perform hundreds of manual operations in the mean time. Essentially, the maintainer could not scale with demand, let alone have the time to become an expert in every new application.

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Building JBoss Projects with PatternFly and AngularJS

Recently I’ve been looking into different UI tech in use for apps built onPatternFly Logo top of Red Hat middleware, and I’ve discovered that many of Red Hat’s products use PatternFly (in differing capacities) for their administrative UIs. PatternFly is “A community of designers and developers collaborating to build a UI framework for enterprise web applications.” (from the website). There are also components, directives, etc, for AngularJS projects (which I really like).

This sounds awesome, particularly because I’m a terrible designer, so I thought I’d take a crack at converting an existing demo to use PatternFly, and along the way learn more about the framework and its best practices. These are concepts you can use in your own projects when building JS-heavy projects using Maven (which has about a billion ways to do things).

You can find the demo on jbossdemocentral, along with instructions for building it. In this article, I will describe some of the highlights of what I learned.

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