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Cover Story — An End-to-End solution Using WebSphere Business Integration V6.0 Products

Part 1: Model a Business Process With WebSphere Business Modeler

This article series demonstrates how to use IBM WebSphere Business Integration V6.0 products to model, assemble, deploy, and manage a business process in an end-to-end solution using WebSphere Business Modeler, WebSphere Integration Developer, WebSphere Process Server, and WebSphere Business Monitor.

Part 1 introduces you to IBM WebSphere Business Integration products and guides you through the steps to model a business process in WebSphere Business Modeler V6.0 based on a business scenario.

Introduction
Part 1 of this series provides a brief introduction to IBM WebSphere Business Integration products and shows you how to model a project using IBM WebSphere Business Modeler Version 6.0. In Part 2, you learn how implement the exported modeling project in WebSphere Integration Developer V6.0.

WebSphere Business Integration V6.0 products
An On Demand business depends on the efficiency of its business processes to meet its business goals. IBM WebSphere Business Integration V6.0 products supply business integration capabilities to enable such businesses to quickly respond to customer demand, market opportunities, and external threats.

IBM WebSphere Business Integration V6.0 products include design and development tools, runtime servers, monitoring tools, toolkits, and process templates. These products enable you to develop, model, assemble, deploy, and manage end-to-end business processes on service-oriented architecture (SOA).

Figure 1 highlights WebSphere Business Modeler, WebSphere Integration Developer, WebSphere Process Server, and WebSphere Business Monitor within the WebSphere Business Integration architecture.

WebSphere Business Modeler scenario
A critical factor in improving a company's business performance is how the company defines and models it's business processes. A company uses it's business processes, that is, the pattern of interactions that occurs between the company, its trading partners, customers, vendors and it's environment to meet it's business objectives. Changing conditions affect changes to business processes, thus business processes are often quite complex. An organization can use formal process documentation and process management systems to avoid bottlenecks within complex business processes. A well-constructed business process model eliminates inefficiencies, costs, and delays.

WebSphere Business Modeler is a business process modeling tool that enables you to:model, design, analyze and generate reports integrate new and revised workflows define an organization's resources and business items.

Business scenario
This article uses a business scenario that demonstrates a report request process. When the system receives a report request, it checks the security of the report. If the security level is in the allowable range (security level < 3), then the process goes directly to the "Generate and Send Report" section; otherwise, it goes to the "Admin Approve" branch to wait for approval of the report administrator before going on to "Generate and Send Report" section.

Modeling the scenario
This section provides a step-by-step explanation on how to model the scenario using WebSphere Business Modeler V6.0. The business process presented here consists of a simple process diagram with elements such as task, inputs and outputs, decision, and merge. Finally, we export the modeling project for further implementation in WebSphere Integration Developer V6.0. You need to install WebSphere Business Modeler V6.0 and have a basic understanding of business process integration to complete this scenario.

These are the steps you use to create the business scenario:

  • Create a business model project.
  • Create and edit the process diagram.
  • Add additional information to the process.
  • Edit and create the data structure for business item.
  • Define the decision expressions.
  • Export the model project.
Step 1: Create a business model project
To create a business model project, switch to a new workspace and use the Quickstart Wizard.
  • Select Help => Quickstart wizard.
  • Specify the Project name, IntegrationHelloWorld.
  • Specify the Process catalog name, Processes.
  • Specify the Process name, RequestReportProcess. (Figure 2)
  • Click Next to create the business item in the Quickstart wizard.
  • Specify the Data catalog name, Business items.
  • Specify the Business item name, ReportRequest. (Figure 3)
  • Click Finish.
Step 2: Create and edit the process diagram
Apply the 4-pane layout in the toolbar before you start. This layout is convenient for most process modeling. (Figure 4 )

From the main menu, select Modeling => Mode => Basic to select the Basic modeling mode. Basic mode is intended for the business analyst or user who wants to work at a high-level view of a business process model. It focuses on creating and displaying sequence flows and does not show low-level details of data modeling. (Figure 5)

Remove the default Process start element. In this process model, incoming data is responsible for starting the process. Therefore, it is unnecessary to have a Start node here.

Tip: Click the Process start element, then press the Delete key.Add the tasks to the process. Based on this business scenario, three tasks exist: Receive Report Request, Approve Request, and Generate and Send Report.

Tip: You can drag a new Task from the left tool bar in the Process Editor onto the diagram, then change the name to "Receive Report Request", "Approve Request", and "Generate and Send Report". You can create multiple tasks by left-clicking while holding down the Shift key. (Figure 6)

Add a Simple Decision activity to the process.

Click and drop a new Simple Decision element from the toolbar onto the process diagram.

Label the Decision as Is security level less than 3?

Add a Merge activity to the process. Click and drag Merge from the toolbar. A merge is used for redirecting multiple processing paths to a single connection. You can use the small arrow to find Merge as the button is initialized to create a Join. (Figure 7)

Alternatively, you can right-click on the diagram and select New => Merge. You can create all the elements directly in this way.

Verify the arrangement of the elements as shown in Figure 8.

Save your work (Ctrl+S).

Step 3: Add additional information to the process
Switch to the Intermediate business modeling mode. From the menu bar, select Modeling => Mode => Intermediate. (Figure 9)

Tip: This mode is for the person who pays more attention to technical details in that it lets one specify or view additional details of process and data models in this mode.

Two new small boxes on the left and right sides of each element in the process diagram are added, and also outside the diagram boundary. These are the inputs and outputs defined for each task and the process. These icons do not appear if you are in the Basic Mode. (Figure 10)

Make sure you are in the 4-pane layout view. If not, click the Apply 4-pane layout button on the toolbar at the top. Click on the process diagram background, and notice that the Attributes view now focuses on the process itself. (Figure 11)

In the Attributes View pane, select the Inputs tab and click the Add button. A new row is created in the Input Settings table. Change the default name "Input" to "inReportRequest". (Figure 12)

From the Input settings tab, in the column of Associated Data, double-click String, and then click the small button that is displayed on the right of the field. (Figure 13)


More Stories By Xiong Fei Pan

Xiong Fei Pan is a graduate student from Tongji University, Shanghai, China. He is interested in Java technology. You can learn more about him by visiting his blog.

More Stories By Ming Hua Qin

Ming Hua Qin is a student from Nanjing University majoring in software engineering. His interests include programming and business processes, especially in the Java and the Network Security field.

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SYS-CON Italy News Desk 04/18/06 12:29:38 PM EDT

This article series demonstrates how to use IBM WebSphere Business Integration V6.0 products to model, assemble, deploy, and manage a business process in an end-to-end solution using WebSphere Business Modeler, WebSphere Integration Developer, WebSphere Process Server, and WebSphere Business Monitor.