Mittwoch, 17. März 2010

JWT moved to Eclipse SOA

The Eclipse SOA top-level project has a new member: the Java Workflow Tooling (JWT) project finished the Move Review successfully. JWT aims to build design time, development time and runtime workflow tools and to foster an ecosystem of interoperable Business Process Management (BPM) platforms.
Therefore, it supports the enrichment of business process models (e.g. initially modeled in BPMN) with runtime data or services, allows the user to generate code (e.g. in XPDL or to BPEL) and provides an extensible mechanism to customize the models via aspects.

Thereby, JWT has already been part of Eclipse Galileo. With this move, the project has once more proven to be mature. JWT will graduate from incubation probably together with or shortly after the Helios release in June 2010.

Congratulations to the team and the new project leads of JWT!

Together with the move review, I took a step back and will only be a committer of the JWT project anymore, but no longer project co-lead. Reason for this is that I finished my Ph.D. successfully and work as a technical consultant now (my employer is Senacor Technologies) which leaves me with less time for JWT. In my opinion being a project lead requires a lot more time than only one hour every two weeks or so. As Chris Saad already supported me in the last few years, it was only natural that he stepped forward to fill this place.

I would like to say thanks for your support, Chris, as well as to my project co-lead colleague and friend, Marc Dutoo (OpenWide SA). We had been a great team and complemented each other perfectly. Now as a committer, I hope to find more time to code again while being less focused on the roadmap, release train, etc. as I know that those will be in good hands at Chris and Marc.

One of the good things of my new job is my current location: I'm working at a project for the Deutsche Post at the moment and am therefore only meters away from Sopera who are deeply involved in the Eclipse SOA project. I already met some of the guys during lunch and hope that we can use the close distance to bring the Eclipse SOA projects closer together, too.

To learn more about JWT and the whole SOA top-level project, come to EclipseCon and follow the talk about Eclipse SOA TLP: Lock, Stock and Barrel. If you have questions about JWT, feel free to ask the two project co-leads who will both be available at the talk.

Donnerstag, 14. Januar 2010

Two talks at EclipseCon 2010 related to JWT

Only recently the program for EclipseCon 2010 has been announced and the program committee did a fairly good job in my opinion: they found a good mixture of different topics that the audience will be interested in.

There will be at least two talks that are related to the Technology project "Java Workflow Tooling" (JWT). Our project community submitted some more which were unfortunately rejected. Those had JWT in their focus, so the audience won't be able to hear a detailed talk about JWT this year. Maybe we will have more luck next year.

The first one will give a short overview about JWT as part of the talk Eclipse SOA TLP: Lock, Stock and Barrel where the upcoming top-level project Eclipse SOA will be described and all the sub-projects that will be part of it.

The second one is about how a metamodel evolution can be done and whether this might be painfull or painless for the modeler. This one is presented by my colleague Chris Saad from the University of Augsburg and Etienne Juliot from Obeo SA: Painless (?) Metamodel Evolution.

I didn't submit an abstract this year as from February on I won't work for the University of Augsburg anymore and I am not sure whether my future employer would pay me the trip.

Dienstag, 22. Dezember 2009

Java Workflow Tooling (JWT) 0.7 released

The Eclipse project Java Workflow Tooling (JWT) released version 0.7 which is now available for download. JWT aims to build design time, development time and runtime workflow tools and to foster an ecosystem of interoperable Business Process Management (BPM) platforms. JWT is integrated in the yearly release train of Eclipse and was already part of Eclipse Galileo.

The main features of the new release are:
  • The meta model has been restructured: the project team separated the meta model that includes the business logic from the layout information. An independent meta model now allows developers to handle JWT workflows without causing unnecessary dependencies. View specific data like coordinates are now stored in a separate diagram file which makes the original files not only more robust, but also much lighter and easier to handle. Model transformations, like from and to BPMN, XPDL or the STP project's Intermediate Model are therefore easier to implement and maintain. To improve the visual representation of workflows, multiple layout information can now be stored for each element in the model.

  • Automatic layout algorithms, which have been included from the popular GEF Zest project, finally remove the need of tedious rearranging of positions. Simply using an horizontal, vertical, spring or tree-based theme, the workflow models can now easily be arranged to a preferred layout.

  • New converter: Full support for workflow files from previous versions of JWT is now guaranteed by a new ATL-based converter. While the old converter transformed the model elements using Java code, the new converter allows an easy adaptation to future changes of the meta model, including migration of user developed model extensions.

Besides the mentioned changes, version 0.7 provides a better support for aspect-oriented model extensions and significant improvements in performance and stability.

Version 0.7 is a joint release by researchers and developers of the University of Augsburg (Institute of Software and Systems Engineering, group of Prof. Dr. Bernhard Bauer) and the French company OpenWide SA. The University of Augsburg is now also an official (associate) member of the Eclipse Foundation.

Dienstag, 24. November 2009

Ph.D. thesis submitted

After four years of work, I now submitted my Ph.D. thesis entitled "Semantic Business Process Modeling - Principles, Design Support and Realization" to the University of Augsburg, Germany.

In this thesis I describe how ideas and technologies of the Semantic Web can be transferred to the modeling area and how business process models can be semantically annotated.
These semantic annotations are used to compute proposals for process models that only need to be checked and maybe refined by the modeler, reducing the amount of manual work. Furthermore, the thesis shows how existing process models can automatically be adapted when requirements have changed.

As part of a developed methodology, the thesis also outlines the realization of process models using model-driven technologies and their execution using semantic web services.

Thanks for the excellent mentoring and support to my supervisor and advisors (Prof Dr. Bernhard Bauer, Prof. Dr. Dragan Gasevic and Prof. Dr. Wolfgang Reif). In addition, I would like to thank my project colleagues (e.g. from the Eclipse project Java Workflow Tooling or the DFG-project SEMPRO)! Each of them contributed in their own way to this thesis, by working together on projects and also by discussing joint research ideas.

In the next weeks and months, I will probably find more time again to work on the project JWT. Several feature requests are waiting...

Mittwoch, 21. Oktober 2009

Aspect-oriented Modeling

Do you like AspectJ or at least the idea of aspect-oriented programming (AOP)? Do you use EMF and create your own metamodels? Do you at some point of time miss the possibility to extend existing metamodels from an outside plugin with the specific properties or metamodel elements that you just need right now?

Then you should not miss the talk Marc Dutoo and I will give at Eclipse Summit Europe: it is all about Aspect-Oriented Modeling.

In this talk we discuss current shortcomings of technologies like EMF and standards like UML, and show how these can be dealt with using research approaches in the area of aspect-oriented modeling (AOM), allowing e.g. to enrich models with orthogonal sets of information pertaining to different concerns.

Several techniques and implementations based on Eclipse products and projects (such as EMF extensibility, secondary models such as EMF GenModel's, the aspect-oriented configuration profiles of the Eclipse technology project Java Workflow Tooling) will be presented. At the end, an outlook about current standardization approaches in this area by the OMG will complete this session.

So, don't miss the opportunity and join us in Ludwigsburg on Wednesday, October 28th (and of course also from Monday to Thursday for the rest of the conference!). You will find us in Bürgersaal 1 starting at 5.30pm. See you next week!

Donnerstag, 13. August 2009

Views on process models

We just finalized an article explaining how users can write their own views on a process model using the extension points of the JWT Workflow Editor. Thereby, we describe the aspect-oriented mechanism which is part of JWT to extend the existing metamodel by external plugins. But not only the extension of the metamodel is important: also the customizing of the tooling (palette, figures, editparts, etc.) from the outside is covered.

Hopefully, the article will be accepted at the German speaking Eclipse magazine. But if you (and we) are lucky, then the talks about views and aspect-oriented modeling will get accepted at Eclipse Summit Europe. So maybe we'll meet in Ludwigsburg and we might have the chance to show you how to create your own view and use the extension points and components of our project.

Mittwoch, 15. Juli 2009

Lowering Open Source Contribution Barriers

Chris Aniszczyk recently talked in his blog about how the barriers for contributors could be lowered. One of his topics was "how about us making it easier for users to file bugs?"
He then talked about a feedback agent included in Eclipse.

I think that's quite a good idea. Especially when an unhandled exception appears somewhere inside Eclipse, it would be great to have a new GUI dialog to add this exception to a new bug message.

What I have in mind is that each time a severe exception happens, then it can either be added to the Eclipse log or (maybe as an extension of the logging mechanism) is displayed in an error window to the user (the developer can decide that during design-time). The user can see a user-friendly message (Please *not* the exception message itself!) and can then decide to click on a button whether to report this bug (similarly as Microsoft Windows offers his users to do so, but I don't know anybody who ever klicked on "Report this bug to Microsoft").

If the user agrees and clicks on this button, then another window shows up that allows the user to specify what exactly he had done before. The window automatically suggests the top-level-project, project and component where this bug should be added to and fills in all the platform details and adds the stacktrace of the exception. Maybe with an integration of Mylin also the context of work could be added automatically.

That would probably make it easier for users to give us feedback about bugs, but it would also make it easier for the contributors of a project to find out whether two bugs are similar (since the stacktrace is automatically added to the bug message, too, and can easily be compared).

Maybe that would be another feature that could be added to e4?