Introduction to Process Studio

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Process Studio is the BPMN modeler tool used for creating processes in InRule Process Automation.

The modeler offers a user-friendly drag-and-drop experience, where you can customize your processes and build applications for them.  Some of the features include:

  • Browser independence
  • Saves automatically
  • Collaboration
  • Pre-made script components

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We have divided the toolbars in Process Studio into three categories in this article. In each section, you can explore the meaning of all the tools and features available in the modeler.

  1. Process Studio Features
  2. Process Studio Tools
  3. Process Studio Metadata and Validation
  4. Settings and Share Corner

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1.   Process Studio Features

This section will explain the different features located on the toolbar accessible via the modeling and viewing mode of a process or an application.

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Undo and Redo

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The arrow pointing to the left indicates undo and the arrow pointing to the right indicates redo. The keyboard commands Ctrl+Z (undo) and Ctrl+Shift+Z (redo) work as well and have the same impact.

Copy

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This icon will let you copy objects on the canvas.

Paste

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This icon lets you paste objects onto the canvas.

Duplicate

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This tool lets you make a duplicate of an object, which makes it easy to add an object onto the canvas multiple times. To dismiss the duplicated object, just right-click.

The Expand canvas tool

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You can use the expand canvas tool to add or remove space in your process model. If you would like to add additional symbols somewhere in the middle of the process, use the expand tool to move the symbols to the side to create space.

The tool can also be used to remove space if you would like to narrow the space between your symbols in the process. 

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High contrast mode

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High contrast mode makes the process easier to view when there is a poor color rendition, for example when you view the process via a screen or projector.

Normal mode 

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High contrast mode

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Fit to page

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The Fit to page function will readjust the zoom and position of the process so you can see the entire process. 

Zoom

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The Zoom level feature will let you zoom in and out of the process using the mouse wheel. Clicking on the Zoom icon will reset the canvas to 100%. If zooming with the mouse wheel does not work, the Scroll to pan feature might be active. 

Scroll to pan

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The Scroll to pan function lets you scroll in the process using your mouse wheel instead of zooming. You can still zoom in on the process by holding down the ALT key while using the mouse. 

Download process as PDF

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Download the process as a PDF file for sharing and saving.

If you cannot see the download button, then you only have View permissions for the process. Contact your admin or process creator to adjust your Process Permissions

Add note

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In addition to the ability to collaborate, there is also a feature for notes. All users with permission to edit the model can add notes to all symbols in the process to collaborate through the process development.

How to create a note

  1. Select the desired symbol and click on Add note in the upper menu. The note will pop-up on the symbol. 
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  2. Add your comment to the symbol and select the checkmark to post it. 

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Copy block symbol style

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This feature allows you to copy the style from one block symbol to another.  

The styles are set in the Appearance tab when you right-click on a block symbol. 

Go to process page

Click this button to leave the modeling go back to the process page.
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2.   Process Studio Tools

Process Studio tools are found on the left side of the modeler. These are the building blocks of processes.

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Modeling Tools

The modeling tools are BPMN 2.0 standard. If you would like a breakdown of each symbol, read the article, Process Studio Cheat Sheet.

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Block symbols

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In addition to the BPMN 2.0 symbols, you can add the Block symbol to your processes.

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By default, an orange square is shown. To edit this artifact, right-click on the symbol, and a panel for settings is shown. You can then change the shape, color, text, or borders. You can choose to set an image as the background and you can add a hyperlink to the symbol.

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This artifact can be used to help users understand the process and help them perform their tasks. One example of this is to build an interactive start page. 

Example of an interactive start page created with block symbols

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The Block symbol has no influence on the runability of the process. 

Upload an image to a block symbol

You can also upload an image to a block symbol, which allows you add images, such as a logo to your process model to customize it.

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You can change the proportions of the image by selecting one of the following: 

  • blobid8.png Fill
    The image will adjust to the height and width of your block symbol and fill the area of the block symbol.
  • blobid9.png Repeat background
    The repeat background tool is useful if you have a small or low-quality image. If the size of the canvas is bigger than the image, this setting will tile the image.
  • Lock_image_proportions.png Lock image proportions
    The proportions of the image are locked and using the cursor to make the block larger or smaller will not change the proportion of the image, just its size.

The file formats supported for uploading images to block symbols are:

  • GIF
  • JPG
  • PNG
  • SVG

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Documents and files on block symbols

You can add documents and files to Block Symbols the same way you add them to Tasks. This is a useful feature if you are creating a process-based management system and want to create a process model that does not have any BPMN symbols, but where you want to make files and documents available. Simply drop the files on the Block Symbol and they will show up when you hover over them.

You can also add documents to Block Symbols for those process models where you want to create separate, visual entities where documents exist. Because you can upload an image to a Block Symbol, they are fully customizable. 

Documents and files that are added to Block Symbols do not show up in the Task View for Process Apps. They are also not connected to a role in the process meaning that they do not show up in the Process Metadata information on the Process Page.

Add a link to a block symbol

You can add URL links to external pages on your block symbols by selecting the link option and adding a URL. Use the Only on text slider to choose if you want the whole block symbol clickable or just the text. 

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If you want to link to another process in your Process Automation space, you need to make that process available for linking. 

  1. Open the process you want to link to and click on the cog wheel in the top right corner.
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  2. Under the General tab, enable Reusable
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  3. Go back to the process where you want to add the link. 

  4. Open the asset browser down in the left corner. 
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  5. Drag and drop the process you want to link onto the Block Symbol. 
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  6. Publish the process

3.   Process Studio Metadata and Validation

This menu to the right allows you to control versions of the process, view and edit metadata, verify the process, and create and manage bookmarks.

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Version Control

All versions of your process; including drafts, published, and deployed states are saved in version control. This makes it possible for users to go back to a previous state and create new drafts and publications based on those.

The versions are color-coded based on their states:

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  • Green indicates the deployed version
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  • Gray indicates published versions
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  • Orange shows drafts
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Changes can only be made in drafts and if you want to save specific states in your draft read the section on bookmarks.

To publish and deploy a process you need to have:

  • Process permissions for Full Control

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  • and Space permissions: Model and Build

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If you only have Process permissions to Edit and Space Permissions to Model, you are not allowed to deploy or publish a process but, you can create a new draft and make changes as a collaborator.

How to create a new draft of the process

A new draft can only be created from an earlier published or deployed version of the process.

  1. Click on the top circle in the right menu to open the Version tab.
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  2. If you are on the newest version, click on Create new version and a new draft is created. If you are on an older published version, click on Edit this version to get a new draft branched from your version. If you are on a branched version or draft, click on Copy to new version to get a copy of the version or draft into a new draft but not branched.
    All your changes are now to be saved to this draft as long as you have the draft selected.
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How to publish a new version

A new version can only be published from a draft, the published version of the model can then be deployed and used for execution.

  1. Open the Version tab.
  2. Make sure you have selected the draft you wish to publish, then select Publish. This saves the draft as a new version.

If the process is not correctly validated, a pop-up asks if you would like to proceed. A model can be published without correct validation, but not deployed.

Edit a draft or published version

  • To edit a draft, choose the desired draft and make your changes.
  • To edit a published version, select the version and click on Edit this version, a new draft is created. 
  • To edit the newest published version, select the version and press Create new version, a new draft is created.

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If the highest version is a subversion (See below version 3.1), then it will be the subversion that will be the basis of the next draft (In the photo below, Draft v.4 is based on version 3.1).

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How to delete a draft

  1. Select the draft you wish to delete, and press Delete draft
  2. A confirmation message is shown asking you to confirm by pressing the button an additional time

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Reuse a process

Use the Copy to new version feature to reuse a process model if you would like to make a similar process without changing the original. This way you will not need to remodel the entire process from the beginning.

  1. Select which version of the process you want to use and select Copy to a new version.
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  2. A new master draft version will be created based on the version you selected.
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You can only copy published versions and you cannot copy to a new version if the latest version is a draft.

Metadata of a process

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You can add metadata to a process to provide users with more information about it.

The metadata you can specify are: 

  • Process owner
  • Process manager
  • Purpose
  • Process description

The metadata is specified per version and once that version has been published, the information cannot be changed, to do this you have to create a new draft with new metadata.

How to add metadata

Open the Metadata settings by selecting the dark grey circle with the "i"-symbol in Process Studio.

As you fill out the form, data is saved automatically.

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The first three details are described by plain text and the Process description is edited through a WYSIWYG, see the image below.

Here you can use headers, paragraphs, text decoration, etc. to set the process description. 

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When the metadata is saved, the information is available under the Process when viewing the process model (not in edit mode). To navigate to this view, select Process applications from the main menu, then Double-click on the process application you want to view and select View Process Model from the Common Tasks menu. Once you are in the process viewer, scroll down. 

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This metadata can only be specified when the process is in draft mode.

Process Validation

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Integrated into the modeling tool is a process validation function. The process validates across the BPMN 2.0 and informs the users of errors and warnings according to the BPMN 2.0 notation. This helps modelers to create correct processes from the start.

A process cannot be deployed if there are errors. You will need to correct the errors in the process before the process can be deployed.

How to validate a process

  1. Open the validation settings by clicking the grey circle with the tick in the menu to the right.
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  2. Select Validate process
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If the process does not meet the BPMN 2.0 standards, errors and/or warnings will be specified in the area under the validation button, see the image below.

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If the process is modeled according to the notation, you will get a confirmation message.

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Errors, warnings, and not supported yet

There are three different validation categories: errors, warnings, and not supported yet.

  • Errors tell you if any part of the model is incorrectly configured in the sense of creating executable processes.
  • Warnings list everything that is not valid according to the standard but does not have an impact on the executable process application.
  • Not supported yettells you when you have used symbols or modeling patterns that are not yet supported in Process Automation when deploying processes to applications.  If you have errors the process can still be published, but not deployed.

Bookmarks

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Since Process Studio constantly saves your work, there is a bookmark function to make it possible to save a specific state in the modeling procedure.

Use bookmarks to:

  • Save a state in a workshop or meeting to have the opportunity to go back and view the process before changes were made during the session
  • Save a state before you try something new so you have the option to easily go back to your starting point. 

How to add a bookmark

To create a bookmark, select the blue circle with the star in it in the menu to the right and then select Add bookmark.

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How to revert to a previous bookmark

If you want to go back to a previous bookmark, just select the bookmark you would like to view. The modeling tool is disabled, and an information bar is shown at the top of the process to indicate what state you see. To revert to this process, select Revert to bookmark. This will enable the modeling tool again and you can proceed from that state.

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How to remove a bookmark

To remove a bookmark, select it in the bookmark list and then press Remove bookmark, you will then get a confirmation message asking you to click on Remove bookmark again to complete the deletion.

4. Process Controls

The process controls contain the process settings menu, the quick share button, and the navigation bar toggle. 

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Process Settings 

Open the Process settings menu by clicking on the cog wheel in the upper right corner of the modeler or on the process page.

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There are three tabs in the process settings menu: General, Permissions, and Sharing.

General

Under the General tab, you can select whether the process should be available as a Call Activity or not.

A published version of a process model can be shared with anyone.

How to enable external weblink

1. Open your process model, and make sure you have a published or deployed version.

2. Navigate to the Process settings window.

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3. Select the Sharing tab.

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4. Set the slider on Enable weblink to On and the sharable link will appear. This is the direct link to your process model, use the link to share your process model.

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Who can access the process through the weblink?

Anyone with the link can access the process model through the URL or through the pages where you have published the model. 

The link is unique for the processes and will always show the latest published version of the process.

The process model is not password protected, anyone with the link can access your model.

If you have links or documents connected in the process model, these will be available to the receiver according to the link's secondary access settings.

If you have uploaded documents to the process model these documents will be available to anyone with the weblink. 

If the process is deployed and the receiver of the link has a Process Automation account with access to start instances for the specific process model, the start event is active and an instance can be started directly from the model. If the user does not have permission to start instances for the process, the start symbol is shown without the "play" symbol, but other interactive links and documents are still available.

How to disable the use of weblink

If you want to remove the ability to access the process model externally through the link, go to Process settings and tick the box Enable weblink. This disables the link instantly for everyone. 

When to use an external weblink

Use the external weblink to share your process models to consumers without Process Automation accounts or show the models on your intranets. Everyone with the url can access the process model with its links and documents according to other secondary access settings. 

If you are using AD-sync and SSO for the users who should be able to access the published processes, it is recommended to use the internal process view link, instead of a weblink, which requires a user to log in to Process Automation. This will provide better control over the permissions of the process and give the same seamless experience in the space.

The process view page we refer to is the page you see before you enter Process Studio. An example of a link to the page looks like this:
https://live.barium.se/Spaces/XXXX/Models/View/6f1210c1-d8k4-abcd-bc59-9458e4588db1

Share the Process 

You can share processes to specific people or groups within your space in Process Automation to view or collaborate with during the model development. For each user or group, set their permission to decide what they can do in the model.

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You can also share a process externally with people who do not have an account in Process Automation so that anyone with the external link can open and view the process model and its content.

How to share a process with users and groups

Use the quick share button in the top right corner of Process Studio or on a process page.

Quick share

  1. To share your process click on the quick share arrow. 
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  2. Search for users by specifying an email address, the system will narrow down the search results according to specified letters.
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  3. You can add more than one user in this step, and just hover the user and click on remove if you want to remove an added user.
    If you want to enable editing of the model for the invited user tick the first checkbox Allow users to edit the model (this can be changed later on by clicking on the section Manage permissions or by navigating to the Permissions tab in Process settings).
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    Tick the second checkbox Send notification by email if you want the user to receive an email to let them know you have invited them to the process.
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  4. Click on Share to complete the invite.
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