Coach Views in IBM BPM v8.0

Coach Views are new feature in version 8.0 and enable reuse of custom, user-defined coach controls, sections and templates. In practice, this means that we can build one control for a certain business object and use it on multiple user interfaces in multiple human tasks. Because business processes are usually all about modifying a business object through a series of steps, performed by various participants, this is an extremely useful option which saves us a lot of redundant work.

In this blog we will take a look at how to build them and how to use them within coaches.

For demonstrational purposes, we will use an existing proces app and an empty Process Order business process definition (bpd) as shown in figure 1. In version 8.0, the procedure of creating these is fairly similar than in version 7.5, which is described here.

 

Figure 1: Process Order business process definition

 

We will also use an already prepared business object Order, which contains id, description, value and status fields (String, String, Decimal and String) as shown in figure 2.

 

Figure 2: Order business object

 

We begin creating a new Coach View by clicking on plus sign next to User Interface category in the project tree and selecting New Coach View. In new coach view dialog we enter OrderView as name and click Finish, as shown in figure 3.

 

Figure 3: New Coach View dialog

 

Each coach view is designed to present fields of a certain business object. Therefore, we move to Variables tab and add new Business Data element of type Order and name it order, as shown in figure 4.

 

Figure 4: Coach view variables

 

Next, we can design the Layout. We switch to Layout tab and first add a Vertical Section element from the palette on the right side.  We set its label to Order and then drag all order’s attributes from the variables section in palette into it, as shown in figure 5. (This demo covers only the basic configuration of templates. However, Coach Views provide ability to define auto completion and validation services for each input field and many behavioural controls, including inline CSS, JavaScript, header HTML etc.)

 

Figure 5: Coach view layout

 

Finally, we will show how to use this Coach View on a human task interface. Let’s open our bpd, and add Private Variable order of type Order, and make sure the Has Default checkbox is checked, as shown in figure 6.

 

Figure 6: Bpd order variable

 

Now we drag an activity from palette to the Participant lane, name it Submit Order and connect it to Start and End using sequence flow, as shown in figure 7.

 

Figure 7: Process flow

 

We implement this activity as Human Task by right-clicking it and selecting Activity Wizard. We can leave activity name Submit Order, activity type User Task and name of the new library element Submit Order and click next, as shown in figure 8. In next screen we leave order variable as input and output of the activity and click finish, as shown in figure 9.

 

Figure 8: New activity wizzard part 1

 

Figure 9: New activity wizzard part 2

 

 

By double-clicking the activity we open its own diagram. By default, it consists from Start and End events and a single Coach, as shown in figure 10. Notice a Button 1 symbol on flow from Coach to End event. Using buttons on coaches we can create arbitrary flows between various coaches within a single human task in order to implement dynamic interfaces. (There are various other building blocks that can be added to implement more advanced functionalities, such as alerts, UCA agents, scripts, etc.)

Figure 10: Human task diagram

If we switch to Coaches tab we can see that form has already been prepared using our pre-configured OrderView Coach View, as shown in figure 11. There is also aforementioned Button 1, which is used to submit the form and continue process flow. All created coach views are by default present in palette, on the right side of the screen, under No Tags section and we can use them in any coach that possesses appropriate variables.

Figure 11: Human task coaches view

This completes our demo. You can test Submit Order human task by clicking orange Play button in the upper right corner of the screen, or switch to Process Order bpd and test the entire process using the same button.

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4 Comments for Coach Views in IBM BPM v8.0

Jim Valencia | June 4, 2012 at 11:21 pm

Thanks a lot.
The only real stuff about Coach Views

I’m trying to do a little more complex Coach views (using selector in tables (lists)), attempting to use elements (coach views) inside other coach views, but my advance is -at least- “sad” when I read (bind) the data with IBPM 8 variables… (json errors, and so on)

Where did you find info about coach views? There is a reference manual or developer guide examples or something like that?

Author comment by Gregor Srdić | June 6, 2012 at 8:22 am

You’re welcome. There is some information about views and also some examples on IBM’s infocenter v8.0, though to be honest, I have created this example solely on intuition and experience with v7.5 :).

Dynamic adaptation of Coach Views in IBM BPM v8.0-SOA Competence Center | June 12, 2012 at 10:25 am

[…] a previous blog, we have shown  how to create a basic coach view. Since then, I have been doing some more […]

Quan Gu | March 28, 2013 at 3:03 am

How about using Radio Buttons – did not see that in controls side

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