Monday, 25 February 2008

The New jBPM Logo Rocks !

Back in the days I had spent a full two hours with MS Paint to create the first logo for jBPM. When it was done I was so happy with the result.

I remember it was just before JavaPolis 2004. Now that my project even had a logo, I was in full confidence. You know the feeling... Nothing could stop me now. So I went to the conference and immediately I got a lot of valuable feedback. All in the sense of "Hey Tom, you're project is great but your logo sucks bigtime!".

(Please put a curtain over your screen now and read on)

So this time I sticked to coding and left the paint job to the professionals. Even with my artistic skills I can see it's a world of difference. I think our new logo just rocks. But don't let me keep you in tension too long. Tataaaaa ! (you should pull the curtain from your screen now)
A small logo for this blog. But a giant leap for the jBPM project.

Can you see what it is ?

jBPM @ JBUG Benelux

This Friday, I'll talk about the Process Virtual Machine at the next JBUG Benelux meeting. These JBUG events are especially interesting since there is always a great interaction and lots of discussion that spawns from (and during!) the presentations. I'm looking forward to it.

Pete Muir will kick off with a 'SEAM In Action' talk. I saw Pete's presentation two weeks ago at JBossWorld Orlando and it was great. Pete is an excellent speaker and he's got some great handwaiving manouvres. Then I'll be talking about the Process Virtual Machine. And the last but not least, Bart Schuller and Daan Hoogenboezem will bring a testimonial about their experiences using jBPM. It's always great to get such direct feedback. Hopefully there is some positive in there as well :-)

For those of you more interested in the packaging rather then that content, the event will be hosted in Paddy Murphy's, an "vette" Irish pub in Rotterdam. Lunatech does the hosting of the event and we will take care of the Guinness.

I'm sure you don't want to miss this. Hope to see you there !

Sunday, 24 February 2008


I'll be speaking about "Workflow in Java" this afternoon from 15:00 till 16:00 in room AW1.120. Due to misunderstandings, this talk didn't make it into the conference guide. So this blog post is an attempt to avoid an empty room :-) Hope to see you there.

Tuesday, 19 February 2008

JBossWorld Recap

JBossWorld was last week in Orlando, FL. Of course, we took the opportunity to meet up in advance with the core JBoss developers. It still surprises me each time how the communication at such meetings can be intense, distributed, apparently anarchistic and yet extremely effective ...often even at 1am at the bar.

My presentation "A Lightweight Approach to Business Processes with JBoss jBPM" was in the very first slot. I always like that very much as jet lag and parties tend to undermine my concentration as the week progresses.

Met up with my good friends at SeeWhy. They might be able to contribute an initial version of the log/event generation in the Process Virtual Machine. The open source collaboration model in practice. Cool.

Same open source spirit for NexusBPM. Matthew Sandoz has already extended jPDL with new node types in the engine and in the graphical designer. Good to see that a long term vision becomes reality. We're happy that Matthew is interested to donate his contributions to the jBPM community and we will be assisting him in the process of doing so.

By coincidence, IDS Scheer's ProcessWorld conference was also taking place at the exact same location at the exact same time. I saw Sandy Kemsley blogging about it and pinged her to have a meeting. We definitely agreed that translating analysis models into executable software artifacts is not as easy as most BPMS vendors make us believe. For many other observations of the BPM market we thought very similar, which is surprising given our different background. Only when it came down to roundtripping between the analysis model and the implementation models of business processes, I seriously doubted if that was achievable, while Sandy had good faith that the big BPM players some day will find a way to make that transparant.

Another interesting meeting was with our new CEO, Jim Whitehurst. Everyone was enthousiast about the fact that he managed to analyse and express exactly where the problems are located in such a short period. Now our expectations him to get them fixed are very high :-)

A last anecdote that I would like to share is my jogging experience around the Marriott World Center. It turned out to be extremely difficult to find a track for jogging. Even the driveway to the hotel was a 4 lane street without cycle or pedestrian facilities. Eventually I saw a golf court behind a small pond and grass. There was a sign before the pond. I assumed it was going to be "Don't walk on the grass" and given my struggles so far, I was completely prepared to ignore it. But the sign didn't say anything like that. Instead it had a much more effective message: "Don't feed the alligators!". It worked for me :-)

Monday, 18 February 2008

SOA Done The Hard Way

You don't see many public cridible reports about results of SOA projects. So that's why Chris Muir 's testimonial is interesting.

The overall message in Chris' post is that there are a lot of practical problems between the dream and reality of SOA development.
"Just because the underlying Web Service communications allow you to communicate in a standard fashion, it doesn't mean the systems or organisations you communicate to are following any standards internally."
Top of the bill was:
"In addition only 1 of the 3 suppliers actually had test systems we could build our application against. And for the supplier that did have a test system we literally had to phone them to ask them to flush the data each time we did a test. So much for quick agile development."
But the post contains much more in depth insight about the practical things that can go wrong in SOA projects. Definitely worth a read.

It expresses very well how Oracle's Fusion doesn't really address most of the practical issues. In fact, they are very hard (if at all) to address. That's why I'm happy with JBoss' practical developer oriented approach that gives full control to developers. With the tool suite that we're building, we focus not to introduce unnecessary levels of complex indirections.

Wednesday, 6 February 2008

What is BPEL really ? And what are process component models ?

I included a very simple description of what BPEL really is in my article "Process Component Models: The Next Generation In Workflow ?", published at InfoQ. Basically the article is about different forms of workflow and Business Process Management (BPM) and it tries to demystify some of the common misconceptions around BPM. And at the end, a new approach to building embeddable runtime engines is introduced: Process component models. With process component models, it's possible to serve the different forms of workflow and BPM by executing multiple process languages natively on top of one core simple state machine library.