about processes and engines

Flowr presentation at BPMinna

On Friday night I went to Shinbashi to attend my first BPMinna meeting. Nakatani-san was presenting his Flowr project.

There were 30 people, rather young, seeming to come from different backgrounds, looking forward to the presentation and to the following beers.

(Disclaimer : my level of japanese is low, it’s very probable that I mistook some of the information given during this presentation)

Flowr is a Ruby workflow engine implemented on top of a FSM (finite state machine). Its context seems to be among blogs and wikis with its first use case is about publication workflows.

States and transitions are modeled via Ruby classes (State and Transition). States are rather minimal, the logic seems completely located in the transitions.

Nakatani-san showed us examples where the transition action contained calls to an AtomPub library (I’m wondering if he’s using Atom-Tools).

Flowr seems to be an interesting tool to interact with Atom / RESTful web resources.

Here is a sample Flowr process definition (found at :

# flowr DSL の例(部分)
class SampleStateChart ‘’

# 本文部&タイトル部を抽出する場合のルール
setting :body_xpath=>’div.entry-body’
setting :title_xpath=>’#archive-title’

class NotOwnedState < State name "所有者無し" end class OwnedState < State name "所有者有り" end class ThrowDiceTransition 0 '食べ物' else '参加してください' end end def action(context) # さいころを振る = rand(6)+1 end end end [/sourcecode] I had a lot of questions, about persistence, process versioning and so and so. I reserved them for after the presentation. But unfortunately, there were so many other interesting discussions at the restaurant that I couldn't get the answers. Next time. Nakatani-san will probably release soon Flowr on Rubyforge under a BSD or a MIT license.

During the dinner/beer party that followed, I had the pleasure to chat with various people with interests in BPM, workflow and Ruby.

At first I discussed with Wakizaka-san who translated the jBPM user guide to Japanese. He’s also one of the main organizers of this BPMinna group (I’m looking forward the next meeting).

Then I had the pleasure to meet Buri‘s Habu-san and Buri’s author Makotan-san (Buri is a japanese open source workflow management system which uses xpdl process definitions).
It’s good to meet another workflow/BPM system creator, we seem to share the same challenges. Makotan-san promised me a demonstration of Buri at the next meeting.

I also met Yumoto-san, one of the actors behind Intalio’s japanese website.

As you can see, it was quite a gathering of workflow/BPM aficionados.

Katoh-san is the one of the two authors of AP4R, I had met him very briefly at the RubyKaigi 2007. Friday, we had an interesting discussion with Makotan-san, Katoh-san asked whether messaging was important to workflow/BPM systems, we had to agree on that, though I would love to discuss the subject further with them.

I chatted with other people, people not yet using BPM tools but “watching the thing closely”. I wished I could discuss with more people… As I’ve said, I had to escape (last train) before having the opportunity to exchange views with Nakatani-san.

Many thanks to Wakizaka-san and friends for this excellent event !

Written by John Mettraux

March 2, 2008 at 3:32 pm

Posted in bpm, ruby, workflow

2 Responses

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  1. Yeah! I’m really glad you came!! I recognized your Japanese is good enough to communicate with us!! so, now it’s my turn. I ‘ll try to speak English more next time!
    Anyway, See you next beer-party;-).
    p.s. you can invite your friends even if your friends can’t speak Japanese!!;-)


    March 2, 2008 at 4:02 pm

  2. Thank you for coming!
    but I’m quite sorry that we had no chance to discuss, too…
    I hope I’ll meet you at the next bpmminna’s event or other opportunities!


    March 3, 2008 at 7:27 am

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