Creating and Editing BPMN 2.0 Business Process Diagrams in PowerDesigner Web
With the release of PowerDesigner 16.5 SP5 and a number of conversations with customers around the bundling of PowerDesigner into SAP Intelligent Business Operations I decided it was time to try out the business process modeling in PowerDesigner Web. This blog is a summary of what I experienced. I hope it will encourage readers to try out the feature.
I’m running PowerDesigner 16.5 SP5 PL (current version at the time of writing). I have the sysam, repository (SQLAnywhere), repository proxy, and the old and new portal components installed on my laptop. I used Firefox v26 as the web browser for my testing. I had to regenerate my license file to get the PowerDesigner Web features working.
In cased you missed this in the release notes – PowerDesigner v16.5 SP04 provided a new Web client for accessing the repository: PowerDesigner Web. PowerDesigner Web provides:
- An updated look and feel over the old portal. (It’s possible to run both in parallel as I’m doing on my laptop.)
- User access to the repository from a PC or mobile device using a modern Web browser – no PowerDesigner deployment.
- Support for standard PowerDesigner repository accounts and folder and model-level permissions are supported transparently.
- Access to the whole repository, with diagram previews in large thumbnail tiles. The new Diagram Viewer displays your model diagrams as rich SVG images zoomable up to 10x actual size, with support for full-screen diagram viewing, image export, and stable URLs for easy sharing.
- From SP4 users can document their own business processes directly in PowerDesigner Web using the standard BPMN 2.0 Descriptive and Executable languages. SP5 adds support for multi-level process maps. (Use of the business process creation and editing features requires a license although viewing repository content does not).
Testing a Business Process Model
I started out in PowerDesigner and created a new user (joe) through the menu – Repository->Administration->Users. I added some extra rights for the user to enable the web editor. I also granted joe Submit permissions a a new folder in the repository called Web Process.
Next step was to connect as joe – the PowerDesigner Web has a new URL. I used http://jlocalhost:3030/powerdesigner-web/resources/index.html
to connect to my system in Firefox. After the username and password there is a new landing page.
From the landing page I went into the repository and selected the Web Process folder. There I click the + to create a New Diagram.
Given my limited BPMN skills I decide to go with BPMN 2.0 Descriptive and PowerDesigner Web loaded up a new diagram and the BPMN palette. The palette below the diagram provides the BPMN tools and there is on-line help (as we would expect). Even though I ended up with a process for coffee (not tea) I was able to build a composite (Multi level) processes and a high level process map. All though a very intuitive interface and with nearly no effort to learn the tool. There is verify option (like check model) to ensure compliance with model rules.
The models I created were then also accessible in joe’s workspace rather than having to navigate through the repository which would be a real time saver for big deployments.
PowerDesigner Web seems really easy to use but I still wanted to check the integration with the repository. Back in PowerDesigner I refreshed my repository – sure enough there was the new business process model and because joe only had submit rights PowerDesigner creates change lists for all changes that I can approve or return for revision.
That’s it – the setup takes a bit of time and the normal processes apply for repository upgrades – but I really this that if you are looking a using PowerDesigner for business processes this feature is really worth checking out.
Attachments (sample web output and pd model) renamed to ,txt due to scn restrictions. Remove the .txt to make them usable.