Ron Rathgeber is an Enterprise Content Management Software Architect working on the IBM Enterprise Records product in the IBM Software Group in the United States. Previously, he worked on the IBM FileNet Capture and FileNet WorkForce Desktop products. Ron has over 20 years of experience in the imaging and content management fields, working in the software development group. He holds a Bachelor of Science degree in Information and Computer Science from the University of California, Irvine.
IBM Content Navigator (ICN) is quickly becoming the client of choice for enterprise content management (ECM) applications. Many if not most ECM applications have integrated workflows to automate different processes and to ensure proper procedures are followed.
One of the key features of workflows are the step and launch processors. These processors provide the user interface that end users will see when performing a step in the workflow process. Since they are the interface that end users will see, they become one of the key factors to provide the overall workflow capability and for enabling end users to easily perform their tasks.
ICN provides both a step processor and a launch processor out of the box. These processors are designed to provide the capabilities that will be needed in many scenarios including:
- Display the instructions for the step as well as general information about the step such as any deadlines.
- Provide a property tab that will display the properties configured for that step.
- Provide an attachment tab where attachments can be added or viewed.
- Provide standard buttons for completing the step, reassigning the work, saving the work, and canceling the work.
If you have requirements to have a more customized step processor or need functionality that is not provided by the out of the box step processors, then you can easily create your own step and launch processors. The easiest way to do this is to create a step processor that is based on and derived from the existing step processor. This allows you to utilize the functionality provided by the existing processors and concentrate on providing the additional functionality needed for your use case.
In the IBM Content Navigator Redbooks publication, there is a chapter that describes how to extend the existing step processor by adding a Viewer widget. This allows the user to view the attachments in the same dialog where they are setting and viewing properties. This side by side layout is useful in many cases.
The high level steps for creating the custom step processor are described below.
Special note: Before you start, read the following BLOG post by Marcel to have an overall understanding of the various options you have when attempting to extend and customize ICN: ONE UI - IBM Content Navigator as an application framework
1. Create a custom step processor layout.
In this step, you create a copy of the example step processor HTML file. You then modify this file to add a container for the viewer.
2. Create the new widget.
3. Modify JSP page.
Finally, you create a modified version of the JSP page to instantiate the new widget created in the previous step.
After you have created these files, deploy them to ICN, register them in the Process Configuration Console, and create a workflow that uses the custom step processor.
See the IBM Content Navigator Redbooks publication for details on creating a custom step processor.
For IBM Content Navigator related blog posts, see:
- ONE UI - IBM Content Navigator as an application framework
- Getting started with the new Eclipse Plug-in for IBM Content Navigator development
- How to build a plug-in with custom search for IBM Content Navigator
- Developing Custom Step Processors with IBM Content Navigator
- Implementing a Dossier Management Solution with IBM Content Navigator
For more information on IBM Content Navigator, see IBM Redbooks publication: