IBM Fulfilling BPMN 2.0 Promises?

  • November 16, 2011
  • Scott

Bruce Silver reports that IBM is following through on its promises with respect to BPMN 2.0 in its next release, IBM BPM 7.5.1, which ships this week.

Not that IBM is covering EVERY corner of BPMN 2.0, but it is a significant advance – in that they are surprisingly supporting import and export of BPMN 2.0 XML from the Process Designer:

In a recent post, I talked about what “BPMN 2.0 support” really means, in both non-executable and executable model contexts.  It’s not primarily about the notation, although a few shapes and symbols – notably non-interrupting events and event subprocesses – are new in BPMN 2.0. BPMN 2.0 support is really about the XML serialization, the ability to export the process model according to the XSD and rules of the spec, and ideally import from the XML as well.  IBM BPM 7.5.1 can do both.


The important thing, though, is not just the palette of shapes but the fact that Process Designer supports export and import of the BPMN 2.0 standard XML format.  (Oracle BPM 11g has had the BPMN 2.0 shapes for a year and a half and still cannot do that.)  I haven’t seen the XML yet but I believe that the export includes data objects, data inputs and outputs, data association mappings (assignment), and other details of executable BPMN 2.0. At least I hope it does.

A few new palette items have been added as well, though as Bruce notes, we’re still missing explicit representation of message flows.  I happen to agree with Bruce that this could improve the readability of IBM BPM models. And knowing how things are implemented underneath, I believe I’m qualified to say there aren’t really any technical barriers to having this “transparently” implement message flows, except to update some of the assumptions that go into the process canvas.

Great news, and great recap from Bruce.


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