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17 May 2010, 11:52

Alfresco announce Activiti BPM

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Alfresco has announced Activiti BPM Suite, an open source Business Process Management project, designed to implement the new BPMN 2.0 standard from the Object Management Group. BPM is a methodology for modelling, measuring, analysing, improving and controlling the processes that take place within a business, in this case, within the computing middleware and infrastructure of the business. BPMN 2.0 is a vendor neutral standard, due to be finalised in June, which offers a common way to define processes and models in BPM. It will allow interoperability between BPMN 2.0 supporting software.

Alfresco plans to make Activiti it's default business process engine, but it will continue to support jBPM and other BPM solutions which are currently integrated with the company's Enterprise Content Management software. John Newton, CTO of Alfresco, said that the company is taking the initiative "because, like other open source projects, we needed a more liberally-licensed process engine".

Alfresco has brought Tom Baeyens on board, founder and architect of the jBoss jBPM project, along with fellow architect Joram Barrez, to create the new engine, which will be released under an Apache licence. Baeyens says that Activiti will be "very disruptive in the BPM landscape", citing the licence, feature completeness and developer focus as reasons why it will drive wider adoption of BPM technology.

The project itself will be independently run and Alfresco will be joined by SpringSource as a project contributor. Adrian Coyler, CTO of VMWare's SpringSource division said "There has long been a need for an Apache licensed process engine, which has great utility for many applications. We see Activiti as expanding Java and open source development into new application areas, particularly in the Cloud". Other companies involved in the development of Activiti are Signavio, a maker of process modelling tools, and Camunda, a German specialist in BPM. Alfresco and its partners plan to submit the project to the Apache Foundation to foster wider adoption.

The first alpha release of the code, includes four components; Engine, a single JAR file with the BPM core, Probe, a system administration console, Explorer, an end user application for managing and executing tasks, and Modeler, a browser based modelling tool for analysts. The alpha release is available to download from the web site, along with a extensive user guide, roadmap, FAQ and other resources.


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