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A Process of Improvement. An Outcome of Excellence.

Metastorm BPM 9.0 SR2 review

We are just looking at those things we have an immediate use for. There are more features that we are not showing yet.

Status fields in grids

Most noticeably you have Status fields in grids now. This kind of thing is a very common requirement, so we are very pleased indeed.

Here we have set the properties, say for the Priority column in a folder list. We have also set a custom image:

Status in Grid
Status in Grid

Here is the view in the grid. Note that the scroll bars are a bit more sensibly placed, and you can avoid the horizontal scroll bar which you could not in 9.0.1 if you had a vertical one. You must leave space for it (see above).

Status view in Grid
Status view in Grid

There is a nice tooltip we have set, and the orientation of the label, which is optional, is settable.

Status label
Status label

Status label
Status label

Status label
Status label

Action button tooltips

Another addition is the tooltip for actions. We thought that was an obvious choice as soon as the description was added for blank forms, but have waited until now for it to happen:

Tooltip
Tooltip

Multiple sorts in grids

You now have the option to have multiple sort orders in grids, and an optional 'clear sort' button, which is mandatory, I feel. I would like to disable sorting as well, in fact, as some grids depend on the given sort.

multiple sorts
multiple sorts

You cannot, however, tell what sort has been set from the icons, but I guess that is not a big deal.

multiple sorts
multiple sorts

Default colours for stage shapes

We like the options to set the default colours for the process shapes. Frankly we do not like or use these shapes, as they get in our way and mean less to us than the icons, although we appreciate others may feel differently. What we do like however, is the instant 'lightning bolt' icons to show if activities are set for stages and actions, and allow one-click access to them.

default colours
default colours

So we cheat a bit and set the shape colour to white, and the border to light grey (otherwise action lines 'hang' in mid-space):

default colours
default colours

In this way we can get the best of both worlds, no shapes in the way, and still get activity icons:

default colours
default colours

Calculated labels

Probably the most useful addition is the calculated label, however. This will be used in lots of varying and ingenious ways, we can guarantee. At the minimum it will let us make many forms more readable by adding large descriptive titles and formatting block of text more nicely. Printing options become more varied too.

calculated labels
calculated labels

Oddly the label in the Designer does not show the formula, which I think would have been nice. Perhaps it would be a bit messy, but I'd like to see what it contains.

calculated labels
calculated labels

In the client the text is wrapped, just like other labels. This means you may have to be careful with the width, or indeed, you can force wrapped blocks of text.

image
image

Business Object enhancements

We can now see, and jump to, objects using a Business Object. That makes it much easier to remove unused BO's, as we used to have to remove and then validate that no faults occur. This is neat.

BO used by
BO used by

And you can also refresh table Business Objects with a button, and the associated bindings no longer get dropped.

BO Refresh
BO Refresh

Others

We have also noticed a few speed improvements, especially with the Assignment activity, but will have to try it out some more to see if that holds true when lots of BO's are being used.

All in all, we are very pleased!