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Converting from desktop Process Designer to web-based Process Designer

Product Documentation


In Business Process Manager 8.6, desktop IBM Process Designer was deprecated. With desktop (Eclipse) Process Designer going out of support soon, this documentation guides customers on the actions needed to successfully convert their applications to the web-based Process Designer. This task could be relatively quick or require a large amount of application redesign depending on the contents of your applications.


Applications built in desktop IBM Process Designer(desktop PD) require conversion to web-based Process Designer(web PD) to move away from desktop PD usage. In some cases, this effort requires some additional coding. Remove the use of any deprecated features that are not included in web PD.

This conversion effort could be significant depending on the amount of code that is using deprecated features.

Questions & Answers

  • Do we have to refactor our applications when we do an upgrade or migration?

    Do not refactor your applications when you do an upgrade or migration. Instead, upgrade to the latest Business Automation Workflow (BAW) version before you attempt the conversion for the best experience.
  •  Can we continue to use our existing applications developed in desktop PD while we are modifying our applications to use web PD only?

    Yes, until desktop PD is removed you can still work with your existing applications in desktop PD.
  • How can we perform bug fixes on our existing applications while we are updating our applications for web PD?

    If you want to ensure you can continue to provide application bug fixes when you are converting the application to web PD, then use multiple tracks.
  • Can we migrate an instance from a BPD to a converted Process?

    Yes, BPDs and Processes work the same in terms of instance migration. The object IDs are retained when the BPD is converted. However, if you are modifying your process then you might have to worry about orphaned tokens just as you would with a BPD. You can find more information on instance migration in our product documentation: Snapshot and process instance migration.
  • When do we expect support for Eclipse PD to end? Does support for Eclipse PD end when BPM 8.5.x or BPM 8.6 goes out of support?

    The support lifecycle of desktop PD is not tied to the support lifecycle of Business Process Manager. The support lifecycle for Eclipse PD is covered by IBM Business Process Manager Tools and Add-Ons 8.5.x. For more information about End of Support (EOS) date announcements, see the Software lifecycle. Currently, the EOS date is set for 30 April 2021.

Procedures & Guidelines

Migrate or upgrade to the latest Business Automation Workflow (BAW) version before you perform your application conversion. Some features required to perform conversion to web PD are only added at the latest levels. If you have yet to upgrade to BAW, then you might want to attempt the conversion on BPM 8.6 cf2018.03. However, there are many known defects in BPM 8.6 cf2018.03 that are addressed in later product levels. For more information about known fixes, see the BAW Fix list.  You can also review the What's new section of the IBM Knowledge Center to see changes between versions.

Note: Once desktop PD is removed, you need to migrate or upgrade to the latest version that supports desktop PD to do the conversion.

Once the BPM environment is upgraded, you can continue to use your desktop PD-based applications and update the system toolkits to the latest levels. In some cases, you might be required to update the system toolkits to correct defects or take advantage of new features.

Then, plan to convert your applications over time. You do not need to convert all applications at the same time. If you want to maintain a converted and unconverted stream, then use tracks. Ensure you have a snapshot of your application before the conversion in case you have any issues with the conversion process.

Here are some points to consider when you are converting your applications. Reviewing the documentation can help determine the specifics of any special cases.

  • BPDs, services, and coach views can be converted via the product tools. These converted artifacts might not require any further editing.
  • In some cases, the converted artifacts require further editing as some features cannot be converted like task assignment, inline web services, JRules, or send alerts. In these cases, place holders will be created and you will have to create the implementation after the conversion.
  • In some cases, the artifacts are converted but some settings or activities are read-only as they are not features supported by web PD. In these cases, you can technically still use the content at execution time but you would not be able to make any modifications. This scenario could cause you issues if you run into bugs or requirements that require the code to change. Ensure you identify these cases and replace the deprecated content.
    Note: Heritage coaches fall into this category although there is some manual editing still allowed in web PD.
  • In some cases, a top-level artifact type is deprecated and not included in web PD. For these items, you might want to delete them as they are not visible when Eclipse PD is removed, for example historical and simulation analysis scenarios. If something is missing, you might want to check the features of latest product level.

Related Documentation

This documentation covers the conversion utilities for BPDs, services, and coach views along with some details on how features are converted.


The time required to convert your applications could vary depending on many factors specific to your environment like these:

  • How many applications and toolkits require conversion.
  • How complex the BPDs and services are.
  • How many deprecated or removed features are being used.

In all cases, you likely need to do a code review and testing of your converted application. Depending on how much deprecated or removed content is impacted by the conversion, you might also need to do further development work on your application. In some cases, the conversion work can be significant so it is best to start planning and reviewing the applications well before you plan to complete the conversion.

Once the conversion of an application or toolkit is complete, then you can create a new snapshot and move on to other apps or toolkits.
Note: You can have mixed content for BPDs and services where part of an application is converted. Although for coach views, avoid mixed content in the same human service or coach. Once the conversion of your applications is complete, then ensure that your developers are careful to not introduce further content specific to desktop PD into process apps or toolkits.

If you notice that a feature is missing from web PD, you can open a RFE, but double check that the latest product version is also missing the feature you want. The features of web PD changed significantly between the base Business Process Manager 8.5.7 level and Business Automation Workflow. There are also many known APARs that would be addressed with the latest BAW version.

Document Location


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Document Information

Modified date:
14 September 2022