BPM integration with Webform, Part 3: Human tasks in business space using Lotus Webform Server

This part of the series focuses on the model and integration development aspect of the project life cycle and how to set up an environment for Business Analysts and Information Technology developers to compose and verify Lotus forms. The step-by-step instructions on installation and configuration of the development and testing tools are provided for three use case scenarios that represent the most common patterns for what our customers do when they start with a new installation of our BPM products.

1. WebSphere Business Modeler V7.0 enabled with Lotus Forms for a Business Analyst to model input and output User Interface for human tasks, which connects to a team (remote) Iterative Process Design (IPD) server with Lotus Webform Server (WFS) to test the forms.
2. WebSphere Dynamic Process Edition (WDPE) V7.0 with Lotus Forms for an Information Technology team to implement input and output User Interface forms for human tasks and use a standalone test server with WFS to test the forms.
3. A single-user environment with WebSphere Integration Developer (WID) V7.0 and Lotus Forms installed on a personal system for an Information Technology developer.

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Shili Yang (shiliy@ca.ibm.com), Advisory Software Engineer, IBM

Shili YangShili Yang has been a member of WebSphere BPM Tools SWAT team since 2009 and helping customers resolve technical issues with the products. Before joining SWAT, she worked on the BPM Architecture and Development team.



24 September 2010

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WebSphere BPM and Lotus Webform Server


Background

All IBM WebSphere BPM V7.0 tools, including WebSphere Business Modeler, WebSphere Integration Developer (WID) and WebSphere Dynamic Process Edition (WDPE) Tool and Testing Pack, bundle the Lotus Forms form design tool - Lotus Forms Designer. Lotus Forms Designer is an Eclipse-based What-You-See-Is-What-You-Get editor that allows users to build forms by dragging and dropping items from a palette of choices. Once a form is built, preview is available using either the Lotus Forms Viewer or Lotus Forms Server – Webform Server (WFS). As the integration with WFS is the new feature introduced in BPM V7.0 that eliminates the need to install Lotus Forms Viewer on the client system, we use it as the preview option in our scenarios.

A license needs to be purchased separately in order to deploy WFS in a production environment; however, both WID and WDPE come with a development license for WFS as well as the installation image of WFS 3.5.1 for development and testing purposes.


Scenario descriptions

In the first scenario, we will discuss how to install WebSphere Business Modeler V7.0 with Lotus Forms Designer. We will demonstrate how to configure WebSphere Business Modeler to connect to a remote Interactive Process Design (IPD) server that's enabled with WFS. This will allow a business analyst to create or generate forms and subsequently edit them, as well as preview and test the forms. The business analyst who created the human-centric process will then test the execution and verify their process design, including the human tasks with their associated forms. An “IPD server” refers to a WebSphere Process Server (WPS) instance used to interactively test processes and forms from WebSphere Business Modeler.

Figure 1. Scenario 1 System Diagram
Scenario 3 System Diagram

In the second scenario we set up a WPDE V7.0 environment that's shared by an Information Technology (IT) team to complete the implementation of the business process. Included in this development effort is the Lotus forms as part of the user interface for the human tasks. In this scenario, a local stand-alone WebSphere Process Server (WPS) server with WFS is configured to test the forms.

Figure 2. Scenario 2 System Diagram
Scenario 2 System Diagram

Last but not least, in our third scenario we describe a single user environment for an IT developer where WID V7.0 with Lotus Forms Designer as well as a WebSphere test environment enabled with WFS is set up on a laptop or personal development system.

Figure 3. Scenario 3 System Diagram
Scenario 1 System Diagram

Scenario 1: Modeler with Lotus Forms Designer and IPD server enabled with WFS

Installation

The option to install Lotus Forms Designer is available on the first page of Installation Manager for WebSphere Business Modeler V7.0. The user will have to specifically choose to install this package as it’s not checked by default:

Figure 4. Default Install Selections
Default Install Selections

Click the checkbox next to 'IBM Lotus Forms Designer' and it will be silently installed as part of WebSphere Business Modeler.

Figure 5. Select Lotus Forms Designer to Install
Select Lotus Forms Designer to Install

Installation Manager returns with the following once the installation completes successfully.

Figure 6. Installation Completion
Installation Completion

In such scenarios, a remote IPD server that the business analyst uses to verify the process design is usually installed and set up separately. Similarly, we assume WFS has also installed and integrated with IPD server separately. For details on installing and configuring the test server with WFS, please refer to the Installation and configuration sections in scenario 2 below.

Configuration

Inside WebSphere Business Modeler, whenever a user tries to create a new Lotus form or open an existing one, the form is opened in the Lotus Forms Designer editor and WebSphere Business Modeler switches to the ‘Standard Lotus Forms Designer' perspective.

Note: A user can switch to the 'Advanced Lotus Forms Designer' perspective, which has an additional 'Source' tab in the form editor that allows editing the source code of the form by hand.

Figure 7. Advanced Lotus Forms Designer Perspective
Advanced Lotus Forms Designer Perspective

Once in a Lotus Forms Designer perspective, the last tab of the editor is 'Webform Server'. Click on the tab to preview the Form against a WFS server, whose URL is provided in the preference, under the section Lotus Forms Designer > Webform Server Panel.

Figure 8. Set Webform Server URL under Preferences
Set Webform Server URL under Preferences

The default is set to http://localhost:8085/translator/. If a Webform Server is not found at the URL specified, an error window pops up with detailed instructions on how to change the setting to point to the right location. In our scenario, ask those who performed the WFS server setup for the URL to the WFS translator server and set it here.

Follow the the steps to prepare for modeling and testing deployable business processes in WebSphere Business Modeler in the Information Center. No additional step is needed to show Lotus forms at runtime once the IPD server itself is integrated with WFS.

Verification

Import the mar file included in the sample artifacts in the download section of the article in to WebSphere Business Modeler.

Click on the NewPromotionForm form in the project tree to open it in the Lotus Forms Designer editor. Switch to the Webform Sever tab once it's open. If the WFS URL is correct and the server is running, a preview of how the form looks like at runtime is shown:

Figure 9. Preview form on the Webform Server
Preview form on the Webform Server

A Business Analyst can also verify the process execution against an IPD server enabled with WFS including the forms. Follow the steps to deploy business processes on a test server documented in the Information Center to test it.


Scenario 2: WDPE with Lotus Forms Designer and Stand-alone WPS

Installation

The installation of the Lotus Forms Designer in WDPE is very similar to WebSphere Business Modeler, so that as long as the checkbox next to IBM Lotus Forms Designer is selected, it's installed silently along with WDPE.

For this scenario, we also install the WFS server that comes with WDPE on the same system.

As a prerequisite for this configuration, we fist create a stand-alone WPS profile that uses DB2 for the Common database. Detailed instructions can be found at the Creating advanced stand-alone server profiles in WPS link in the References Section.

We will then use this profile to install WFS and host the translator server. The WDPE installation launchpad provides a way to invoke the Lotus Webform Server installer, under Optional Products Installation.

Figure 10. Install Lotus Forms Server
Install Lotus Forms Server

Click on the Install IBM Lotus Forms Server 3.5.1 link and provide the directory of the WFS installation binaries when prompted.

The Information Center for Lotus Forms provides detailed information on considerations and steps for installing WFS. Specifically installing WFS in a stand-alone server can be found following the Installing WFS on a stand-alone server link in the References section. For our BPM scenario, make sure:

  • The WDPE runtime directory is used as the location of the WAS server for Translator server deployment
  • The stand-alone WPS profile created above, in our case 'ProcSrv01', is selected on the WebSphere Application Server settings page.
Figure 11. Specify WPDE runtime directory as the WAS server location
Specify WPDE runtime directory as the WAS server location

Configuration

By default, the WFS Translator is available on port 8085. To verify the installation point the browser to http://localhost:8085/translator/Translate?Action=toolbelt. The Welcome to IBM® Lotus® Forms Server - Webform Server page opens if the server is up and running.

Figure 12. Verify WFS Translator using the toolbelt page
Verify WFS Translator using the toolbelt page

In this case, no additional step is required to set up previews against the WFS server in Lotus Forms Designer as the default Translator URL - http://localhost:8085/translator/ - is the correct setting.

In order to use WFS at runtime, i.e. to use WFS to present Lotus forms in WPS Human Task Management Widgets, Business Space needs to be configured to use WFS:

  • Use the configureWebformServer command in wsadmin, as shown below, to complete the configuration:
    C:\IBM\DynPrcEd7_WTE\runtimes\bi_v7\profiles\ProcSrv01\bin>wsadmin
    WASX7209I: Connected to process "server1" on node bpm005Node03 using SOAP
    connector; The type of process is: UnManagedProcess
    WASX7029I: For help, enter: "$Help help"
    wsadmin>$AdminTask configureLotusWebformServer {-nodeName 
    bpm005Node03 -serverName server1 -translatorHTTPLocation http://localhost:
    8085/translator -serverInstallRoot C:/IBM/LotusForms/Server/3.5/
    WebFormServer}
    wsadmin>$AdminConfig save
    wsadmin>exit
  • Restart the WPS server to make the new setting effective

Verification

To verify the configuration of Lotus Forms Designer in the WDPE environment:

  • Start WID V7.0 from the WDPE program folder.
  • Import the PI file included in the sample artifacts in the download section of the article.
  • Click on the NewPromotionForm form in the project tree to open it in the Lotus Forms Designer editor.
  • Switch to the Webform Server tab once it's open.

If the WFS URL is correct and the server is running, a preview of how the form looks like at runtime is shown, similar to the screenshot in figure 9.

To verify the configuration of WFS in Business Space at runtime:

  1. Iinstall the sample application EAR file (SalePromotionModApp.ear) included in the sample artifacts in the download section of the article to the WPS server profile that is enabled with WFS, using the admin console.
  2. Make sure the application is started and running.
Figure 13. Sample BPEL application is running
Sample BPEL application is running
  1. Launch Business Space, open or create a space from the Advanced Managing of Human Tasks and Workflow template.
  2. Go the the Create Tasks Tab in the space.
  3. Select the New Promotion Process in the Task Definition List widget and go to Action > Create, to start the process.
Figure 14. Start process
Start process
  1. The Lotus form for this Human Task is shown in the Task Information widget, if WFS is configured properly and running.
Figure 15. Lotus form is displayed in Task Information
Lotus form is displayed in Task Information
  1. Complete the form and click on the Submit button.
  2. Similarly, complete the Approve Request to-do using the form input in Task Information widget.

Scenario 3: WID with Lotus Forms Designer and Local UTE Sever enabled with WFS

Installation

The installation of Lotus Forms Designer into WID V7.0 is similar to WebSphere Business Modeler V7.0 and WDPE V7.0 as described in scenario 1 and 2.

We will also install a WFS server locally into the WebSphere test environment. Naturally we prefer to install WFS into the WPS test profile. However, there is a known issue with this configuration so that the WPS test server doesn't not start or work properly after installation. The reason is the test server profile uses embedded Derby for the WPS common database - WPCRSDB, which only supports one connection at any given time. But once WFS is installed into the test server profile, two server instances, one for WFS translator server and the other for WPS, try to connect to WPCRSDB during startup. Because the WFS translator server is started automatically as a Windows Services right after installation, WPS cannot connect to WPCRSDB in order to start or function properly when WFS is already running and connected to the database.

Two workarounds are available for this issue. A Technote as listed in the References section documents the issue and workarounds.

The first solution is to create another profile and install WFS into that profile. A stand-alone WebSphere Application Server (WAS) profile is sufficient. In this case, the key steps to install WID UTE enabled with a local WFS server are:

  1. Install WID: start the Installation Manager from the launchpad to install WID (make sure Lotus Forms Designer is checked)
  2. Install the UTE with WPS test server: follow step 2 and 3 on the launchpad to install WAS and then the WebSphere test environment with a WPS test server profile
  3. Create a WAS profile:
    • Start the Profile Management Tool (PMT) from the Start Menu: go to Programs > IBM WebSphere > Process Server 7.0 > Profile Management Tool
    • Select a WAS Application server environment and Typical profile creation to create a basic application server profile, which uses the default name of AppSrv01
Figure 16. Create basic WAS profile
create basic WAS profile
  1. Install WFS and select the WAS profile created in step 3
Figure 17. Select WAS profile
select WAS profile

The second workaround is to switch the order in which the two servers are started:

  1. Follow the instructions above to install WID and WPS, but skip step 3 to create a WAS profile, and in step 4 select the WPS test profile created into step 2 to install WFS into.
  2. after the installation is complete (and before starting the WPS test server), open the Windows Control Panel > Administrative Tools > Services Stop the WAS 7 server for the WFS translator server, and change its Startup Type from Automatic to Manual. This change has the added benefit that you can now start the server only when needed and conserve system resource.
Figure 18. WAS 7 service for WFS translator server
WAS 7 service for WFS translator server
  1. Open WID and start the WPS test server.
  2. Verify the log and console to make sure the server is started successfully without any exceptions.
  3. In Services, start the WAS server instance for WFS translator server.

Note, you will see exceptions in the WFS translator server system log for failed connection to WPCRSDB as the WPS profile it piggybacks on initializes. However the WFS translator server functions properly as it does not have any dependency on functions from the underlying WPS profile.

Configuration

Similar to scenario 2, there is no additional steps needed to set up the Lotus Forms Designer form preview against the WFS server because the local WFS is available at the default URL.

The the steps to set up Business Space to use WFS to are also the same as scenario 2. Keep in mind the WPS test server profile is the one to run the configuration commands and set up Business Space for, even in the case where you have WFS installed on another WAS profile.

Verification

Import the sample application PI included in the download section into WID and follow the verification steps in scenario 2.

In the first step to verify the configuration of WFS in Business Space at runtime, instead of using the admin console to install the EAR file, another option is to directly add the sample module in WID to the UTE WPS server:

  1. Right click on the WebSphere Process Server v7.0 on localhost server profile in the Servers view, and choose the Add and Remove Projects... menu item.
  2. Choose the SalesPromotionModApp and click Add, then Finish.
Figure 19. Add module to UTE server
Add module to UTE server

Once the application is installed and started successfully, follow the rest of verification steps in Scenario 2 to run the process and test the forms in Business Space.


Download

DescriptionNameSize
Sample MAR / PI filesArtifacts.zip10KB

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ArticleTitle=BPM integration with Webform, Part 3: Human tasks in business space using Lotus Webform Server
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