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Jerome

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Reply with quote  #1 
The main benefits we have seen in version 9 of Metastorm BPM have been to do with development. In general the Client, although it has changed dramatically under the hood, has not changed much in terms of functionality. The main items we have noticed improvement in is form refreshes, and the main additions have been reports, custom lists and status fields in grids. These can be extremely useful, especially the reports, but we find Custom lists to be of limited value so far. On the back end, we are now able to use stored procedures in grids as well, which is a major benefit for some systems we work on regularly.

This can seem a bit disappointing at first, since the move to version 9 is not a simple or easy transition. (see our Metastorm BPM 9 Migration Guide for more details). So what have we gained?

Well, firstly, Metastorm have now moved the entire development platform over to .Net. That in itself is a major move. At the same time, they have done everything they can to make the existing development platform very similar, and the existing End User experience very much the same. That is not an inconsiderable task in itself.

But, once again, what do we gain? Well, the answer is, in essence, we gain a .Net platform, and all that this entails. What we have not yet seen is what this will give us. To be fair, Metastorm have spent most of their efforts in getting a stable platform that directly reproduces the functionality of earlier versions, and have not yet taken advantage of the potential for expansion. That should be reassuring to existing customers, at least. Now that this has been achieved, it should be a great deal easier to extend this existing platform in any direction we wish. The recent additions in versions 9.01 & 9.02 have shown us a little of what can be added in a very short time with version 9.

What Metastorm have told us now is that there are a significant number of improvements planned for version 9.1, and beyond. The majority of the improvements will be in the Client User Interface, along with the required functionality in the Designer to make the most of this.

The most immediate new feature will almost certainly be Rich Text Memo fields. We understand that this will only be the first representation of a completely new ability to use custom controls in the Designer and Client. Those of us who have looked at the frameworks exposed in the Designer can see the stubs available for the inclusion of third party custom controls. Apparently this code is mostly working already, but is neither documented nor supported yet. Both will be done for 9.1.

This will, in many ways, extend the potential functionality of most Metastorm BPM systems. One of the most common types of problem posed on our Forums is the need to customise the Client User Interface in some way. Typically, this will result in an unsupported chunk of code that will likely break in future versions (this is why we generally do not do this ourselves). Now we will be able to add third party components, and even write our own, and it should all be supported (apart from the third party code, of course).

Probably the most important planned addition on the development side is the ability to fill and manipulate Business Objects through code. We were disappointed from the Early Release in 2009 that you were unable to attach a Business Object to a Web Service connection, for example. It would seem like a logical thing to want to do. While we have been able to manage this in 9.0.2 with some extensive code and creation of dummy tables, this will apparently be possible with supported functionality in version 9.1. This is essential if we are to have Business Objects populated from Web Services, and potentially from any other source at all, in fact.

Beyond this release, Metastorm are also looking at Silverlight and potentially HTML 5 for the Web Client. We for one would very much prefer HTML 5 as it is less Microsoft-bound, but Silverlight may be a more mature platform for immediate use by many customers. We will have to wait and see. The fact that Metastorm is working closely with Microsoft certainly bodes well for whatever direction is chosen.

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jatin

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Reply with quote  #2 
Hi Jerome,
Where can I find the 'Metastorm BPM 9 Migration Guide'?


Thanks,
Jatin
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Jerome

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Reply with quote  #3 
It is available from Lulu.com, but I'll put it up on our web site soon.

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Jerome

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Quote:
Originally Posted by jatin
Hi Jerome,
Where can I find the 'Metastorm BPM 9 Migration Guide'?


Thanks,
Jatin

Here:
http://processmapping.com.au/articles/MigrationToMetastormBPM9/index.html

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Jerome

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Reply with quote  #5 
There will be an update to this next week. It appears the custom controls part will not make it into 9.1, but other things that are pretty neat will. I shall probably make it a full 'preview' with piccies if poss.

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BMellert

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Reply with quote  #6 
Per the bottom of http://goto.metastorm.com/metastorm-bpm-v9-migration.html it looks like
Quote:
Version 9.1 release currently scheduled for delivery in May 2011

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Jerome

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Reply with quote  #7 
IM inside the Designer, eh? And that will aid productivity? Of course it will .... not!

I love the increasing discounts on training and PS. I wonder why that is?


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BMellert

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Reply with quote  #8 

It seems BPM v9.1 is now out, though I saw nothing directly on the forums like we usually see when a new release is out.  A colleague got an email yesterday which I found buried on the Metastorm forums.  I'm downloading it now.

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Jerome

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Reply with quote  #9 
Very odd. It was not in the Partner Zone, so I missed it. It is in the customer zone, however.

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Jerome

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Reply with quote  #10 
The Metastorm BPM world is suddenly opened up, albeit in a limited way. It is a very powerful concept however. Pay attention to the final sentence:

Quote:
26.12.1  Developing a Scripted Business Object Server Script
    To create a scripted business object:
1.  Create a new server-side script.
2.  Create a new public abstract class.
3.  Define a constructor for dynamic connections (optional)
4.  Define variables as public properties using Metastorm types.
5.  Define supported parameters as public abstract properties using Metastorm types (optional).
6.  Implement all mandatory interfaces plus additional optional interfaces
a.  IFieldAccess – provides generic programmatic access for a process designer to the Business Object.
b.  IDataSetAccess – is required for access to grids.
c.  IPagedAccess – is required for access to Custom Lists and to support server-side paging.
d.  ISupportRefill – allows the Business Object to be loaded with different data using parameter values that change on each refill operation.
e.  IIndexedAccess – is required to support Count and Indexed Access.
f.  IEditableAccess – allows the Business Object to save changes to its data source and is therefore required for supporting read/write actions (optional).
        Note: Scripted Business Objects can be defined within external assemblies as well as Server-side scripts.
 

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Jas

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Reply with quote  #11 
When I installed 9.1 and ran eworkprocedures.sql I got the following messages amongst others

ToDo/Watch lists now display V9 alerts only.

ToDo/Watch lists now use single language synonyms.

Forms lists now display V9 items only.

Does this mean those using v7 Side by Side should avoid upgrading to 9.1?
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Jerome

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Reply with quote  #12 
That may be just informing you how the database is set up?

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BMellert

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Reply with quote  #13 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Jas
When I installed 9.1 and ran eworkprocedures.sql I got the following messages amongst others

ToDo/Watch lists now display V9 alerts only.
ToDo/Watch lists now use single language synonyms.
Forms lists now display V9 items only.

Does this mean those using v7 Side by Side should avoid upgrading to 9.1?

I got this too, but we don't run side-by-side (we're still converting our solutions).  My guess is that by default it does that, but you can still go through the steps to switch it to side-by-side again.  (That's my guess anyway.)

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edenmack

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Reply with quote  #14 
After installing 9.1 SSO no longer works.  The installation changed the registry setting for eActiveCallerID to 0 (so I set it back to 1) but after reviewing the other components nothing else seems to have changed.

Has anyone else had problems with 9.1 SSO yet?
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greenej77

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Reply with quote  #15 
Quote:
Originally Posted by edenmack
After installing 9.1 SSO no longer works.  The installation changed the registry setting for eActiveCallerID to 0 (so I set it back to 1) but after reviewing the other components nothing else seems to have changed.

Has anyone else had problems with 9.1 SSO yet?

I managed to get it working on mine, but had to do some additional configuration changes.
I had to update the MetastormWebAppPool back to my Metastorm account (for some reason MetastormEngineDotNetAppPool didn't get reset)
Then I had to update the web.config file to enable windows authentication and take the forms authentication out as well as uncommenting the identity impersonate = true line.
Once I did that and updated the eActiveCallerID back to 1, SSO started working again.
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