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This glossary describes some of the terminology used inside ProcessMaker version 3.0. Feel free to leave a comment below if you feel that a term is missing and should be included in this documentation.

A | B | C | D |E | F | G| I | K | M | O | P | S | T| U | W


Ad Hoc User #
Users can be assigned to tasks on an ad hoc basis, meaning that the user will not be assigned to work on the task by ProcessMaker when a case is run, but the user is available to be manually reassigned to the task.
Administrator role #
Users have roles which define what actions can be done by the user and what parts of the ProcessMaker interface the user can access. The administrator role by default has all permissions, so a user with this role can do all actions and access all parts of the ProcessMaker interface. Therefore, a user with an administrator role can do actions such as create, edit and delete users, processes, report tables, etc.
Application #
Originally cases in ProcessMaker were called "applications". See case.
An application programming interface (API) is a particular set of rules (“code”) and specifications that software programs can follow to communicate with each other. ProcessMaker 1 and 2 uses web services as its API and ProcessMaker 2.8 and later has added REST as its API.
Artifacts #
Artifacts provide additional information about the process in the process diagram. There are two artifacts available in ProcessMaker: Annotations and Groups.


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Business Process Model #
BPMN defines a Business Process Model as a network of graphical objects, which are activities, and the flow controls that define the order of execution.
Business Process Management (BPM) #
The term Business Process Management (or BPM) refers to activities performed by businesses to optimize and adapt their processes. Although it can be said that organizations have always been using BPM, the advent of software tools (business process management systems or BPMS) allow for the direct execution of the business processes without a costly and time intensive development of the required software. In addition, these tools can also monitor the execution of the business processes, providing managers of an organization with the means to analyze their performance and make changes to processes in real-time. Using a BPMS the modified process can then be merged into the current business process atmosphere.
Business Process Modeling Notation (BPMN) #
Business Process Modeling Notation, or simply BPMN, is a standard notation that is readily understandable by all business users, from the business analysts that create the initial drafts of the processes, to the technical developers responsible for implementing the technology that will perform those processes, and finally, to the business people who will manage and monitor those processes.
Business Rules #
Rules in a particular organization that define how work is done and how it flows in that organization.


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Cancelled case #
When the status of a case is changed to "cancelled", the case is stopped and will never complete its process. The case can no longer be opened and worked on. Only users who have the PM_CANCELCASE permission in their role may cancel a case.
Case #
A case is single instance when a process is executed. A running case passes through activities (tasks or subprocesses) in the process. For example, for an insurance process, a case might be one insurance claim and for a hospital process, a case might be the treatment of a patient. Each case in ProcessMaker has a unique ID which is a 32 hexadecimal number to uniquely identify it and it also has a case number which counts cases starting from the number 1.
Case Due Date #
The due date is when a task is expected to be completed in a particular case. The due date is recalculated with each new task in the case. If a case has passed its due date, the date will be shown in red in the cases list. The amount of time which a task is expected to take can be configured in the task's definition, but calendar determines how the time is counted.
Case History #
The case history lists all the tasks and subprocesses executed in the case and the steps executed in each task (DynaForms, Input Documents, Output Documents, and/or external steps).
Case Notes #
Case Notes are used to add comments and observations about cases. Before version 2.5.0, any user with rights to open a case could view its notes. In version 2.5.0 and later, case notes can only be viewed by users who have been given process permissions to view the notes for a case.
Case Priority #
The case priority indicates the relative importance of a case to indicate to the user how important it is to work on the case. Case priority is on a scale from 1 to 5, with 1 meaning "Very Low", 2 meaning "Low", 3 meaning "Normal, 4 meaning "High" and 5 meaning "Very High". The case priority for a case can be set using a variable.
Case Status #
A case status defines the current state of a case, which can be "To Do", "Draft", "Unassigned", "Paused", "Cancelled", "Deleted" or "Completed". A "To Do" status means that the current task in the case has been assigned to a user to work on, but that user hasn't started working on the current task. After that user makes some change in the current task (submitting a DynaForm or passing an Input Document, Output Document or external step), the case's status changes to "Draft". A case's status is "Unassigned" if the current task is self service and the case still hasn't been claimed by a user. Only cases in the first task can be deleted, meaning their record is removed from the database. After the first task, cases may be cancelled, meaning that the execution of the case is stopped, but its record stays in the database. A case can not be opened and worked on while it has "Paused" status. Once the process for a case is completed, meaning that the process comes to an end event, its status is set to "Completed". A completed case may not be opened and its data may not be changed.
Completed case #
A case is said to be completed when it finishes its process, meaning that it comes to an end event. A process definition may contain one or more end events.
Criteria Field #
Field that group process and case variables. This is represented by the @@ button and it can be used not only in conditions but also in certain fields where these variables can be used.


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Dashboard #
A ProcessMaker dashboard is a user interface that provides real-time monitoring of the efficiency and productivity of processes and the users executing those processes. An operator user can use the dashboard to see how well that user works on his/her cases. Manager and administrator users can use the dashboard to check up on the productivity of employees and measure how well groups and departments are functioning. Dashboards are essential for gauging the effectiveness of a process and figuring out how to improve it in the future.
Delegation Date #
The delegation date is the date when a case has been routed (delegated) to the next task or subprocess in the process. ProcessMaker also uses the init date, when the task was assigned to a user to work on the case.
Department #
A department is an organizational unit within an organization. Departments represent the hierarchy of an organization and departments may be further divided into sub-departments. In ProcessMaker, each department has a single manager and the members of a department "report to" that manager. The manager of a subdepartment "reports to" the manager of the parent department. A user can only be a member of one department. In contrast, groups in ProcessMaker have no hierarchy and no managers. A user can be a member of multiple groups. Groups are used in ProcessMaker to assign multiple users at a time to tasks, whereas departments are used to define who a user "reports to", so the next task in the process can be assigned to the user's manager if the next task uses the Reports To assignment rule.
Delegation #
Delegation is the act of routing a case to the next task(s) in the process. Delegation (also known as routing) occurs when the previous user assigned to the case clicks on the "Continue" button after finishing the last step in the previous task.
Draft case #
A case's status changes to "draft" when the assigned user to the current task has started to work on the current task, but has not completed it. New cases in their initial task automatically have "Draft" status when they are created. In ProcessMaker 2, the status of the case changes from "To Do" to "Draft" (when submitting a DynaForm or passing an Input Document, Output Document or external step). In ProcessMaker 3, only cases in their initial task may have "Draft" status.
DynaForm #
A DynaForm is a "Dynamic Form" which is used to display information in fields to the user and allow the user to enter information in the fields and submit that information to the case. DynaForms are assigned to be executed as steps in a task.


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End of Process #
A case terminates when it reaches the end of its process. In ProcessMaker 2, there is an "End of Process" routing rule to terminate cases, while BPMN processes in ProcessMaker 3 use end events to terminate cases. After a case reaches the end of process, it can not be opened, nor can its data be changed. A process definition may contain one or more ending tasks.
Events #
Field that group process and case variables. Events are anything that "happens" during the course of a business process. E.g. Start events, End events, Intermediate events.
Event context menu #
Menu that displays when right clicking over any event.
External User #
An external user is a user who does not have an account in ProcessMaker and cannot login to ProcessMaker. External users can initiate new cases using Web Entry and they can access information about a case though the Case Tracker, by entering the case number and its PIN number.


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Flash Message #
Message that appears and disappears automatically when an element is saved.


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Gateway #
A Gateway is used to control the flow of a process. Gateways handle the forking, merging and joining of paths within a process. Gateways are represented by a diamond shape in a Business Process Model.
Gateway context menu #
Menu that is displaying when pressing right click over the gateway.
Grid DynaForm #
A grid DynaForm is a type of DynaForm which has rows and columns of fields in the form of a table. Grid DynaForms are created separately, but are used by embedding them in a grid field in a parent DynaForm (which is also called a master DynaForm). Grid DynaForms have options which can allow the user to add and delete rows in the grid.


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Inactive User #
An Inactive user is a user whose status is set to "Inactive", meaning that the user may not login to ProcessMaker and may not work on any cases. If a user's profile has a user selected in its Replace By field, then when the status changes to Inactive, all the cases are automatically reassigned to the replacement user and no new cases will be assigned to the user while his/her status is Inactive. A user's status can change to "Inactive" by reaching the expiration date of his/her account or if a user, such as the "admin" who has the PM_USERS permission in his/her role, changes the user's status to "Inactive".
Inbox Case #
A case is placed in a user's Inbox, when the current task in the case is assigned to the user to work on. Cases in the Inbox have "To Do" status, meaning that their current task has not been worked on. Once the data in the case is changed by submitting a DynaForm or another type of step is completed, then the case status changes to "Draft".
Input Document #
An Input Document is a box to hold file(s) associated with a particular case. These files can be text documents, spreadsheets, images or any other kind of file. An Input Document can be a hard copy (which has been printed out and stored in a filing cabinet), a digital file which is uploaded to the case, or both.


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KPI stands for Key Performance Indicators. A KPI is an element usually shown in a dashboard which allow decision makers to see data about the performance of users and processes.


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Main Toolbox #
Toolbox that groups the following elements: Dynaforms, Input and Output Documents, Triggers, Report Tables and Database Connections
Message Window #
PopUp which contains the information about the element about to be deleted, or the ID of some element.


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Operator user #
An operator user is a user which has the Operator role. This role is designed for users who only need to access the "Home" menu, so that they open and work on cases, but do not need to manage users or create processes. Note that this role may be customized to provide access to other features such as Dashboards.
Organizational Chart #
An organizational chart is a graphic presentation of the hierarchical divisions within an organization, that identifies the lines of authority and responsibility in an organization. In ProcessMaker, the organization chart is represented by using Departments.
Output Documents #
Output Documents are files which are automatically generated in PDF (Portable Document Format), DOC (MS Word) or both formats. If the template for the Output Document contains case variables, data from the case will be inserted in the Output Document. These generated files may be downloaded by the user for digital storage or printed out and saved as a hard copy.


Participated Case #
A participated case is a case in which a user has participated, meaning that the case was assigned to work on at least one of the tasks in the case.
Paused Case #
A case can be paused, meaning that it is temporarily unavailable and can not be opened or worked on. Paused cases may have a "unpause" date after which they will be available to be opened and worked on again. Paused cases can also be unpaused if the user currently assigned to work on the case or a Process Supervisor manually unpauses the case. Note that the cron.php file needs to be executed in order for a case to be automatically unpaused on its unpause date.
Pending Case #
A pending case is a case which has "To Do" status, meaning that the current task in the case has been assigned to a user to work on, but that user hasn't yet completed any work on the case.
Process #
A process is a series of tasks and/or subprocesses which are executed in a specified order, which is controlled by paths and gateways in ProcessMaker 3. A process is designed to represent how work flows through an organization with each task in the process being assigned to a particular user to work on. Processes are created in order to assure that organizations follow set rules and assure that work is allocated to different members of the organization and completed in a defined way. Processes often have inputs such as data entered in forms and files uploaded to cases and they often have outputs such as a generated Output Document or sent emails.
Process Map #
The Process Map is a canvas area where processes are laid out in a visual manner, i.e. designed, using standard process notation (BPMN). Additionally, views of the process map can be seen in read only mode in each case.
Process Category #
Categories are used to classify and group together processes. When going to "Home > New Case" to start a case, the available processes are grouped according to their categories. Categories help separate processes in an organization. For example, an organization might have categories for "Accounting," "Employee Management," "Product Development," and "Marketing." A process can only be assigned to one category. Users such as the "admin" who have the PM_SETUP permission in their role can define new categories.
Process Context Menu #
Menu that displays when right clicking over the Process Map
Process Supervisor #
Process Supervisors are users who have special privileges to review the cases for a particular process, which are listed under "Home > Review". If the Process Supervisor is assigned to particular DynaForms and Input Documents in the Process, he or she can change the data in the DynaForms and change the files in the Input Documents. If given access to the last step in a task, then Process Supervisor can also complete the current task and route the case to the next task in the process. Process Supervisors can also pause cases and if they have the PM_CANCELCASE permission in their role, they can cancel the cases. Often the manager or department head in an organization will be assigned as a Process Supervisor.


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Shapes toolbox #
Toolbox which inside contains the following elements: Tasks, Events, Gateways and Artifacts.
Step #
A step is a piece of work that forms a clearly defined action in a task. In ProcessMaker, the types of steps include DynaForms, Input Documents, Output Documents and external steps (a custom programed step). A step may be a manual action such as filling in data in a DynaForm or uploading files to an Input Document or it may be an automated action such as generating an Output Document file from data in the case. In ProcessMaker, triggers can be designed to execute custom code before or after each step.
Sub-Process #
A sub-process is a separate process which is embedded in another process. Sub-processes can be used to break up complex processes into smaller units which are more manageable and easy to understand.


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Task #
A task is a type of activity that can not be subdivided (as opposed to a Sub Process which is an activity type that can be divided into smaller parts). In ProcessMaker a Task will often (but not always) consist of group of sequential steps sharing a common goal. A task is assigned to one user to work on at a time. A collection of tasks (and/or subprocesses) constitutes a process. Again, please note that there is a slight difference between a task and an activity. An activity can be either a task or a subprocess.
Task context menu #
Menu that displays when right clicking over an element of a task.
Top Toolbox #
Menu that displays when right clicking over an element of a task


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Unassigned Case #
In an unassigned case its current task has a self-service routing rule, meaning that any one of the users assigned to the task can decide to claim the case as their own. Before the case is claimed its status is set to "Unassigned".
User #
A user is an account in ProcessMaker. Each user has a unique username and a password, which are used to login to ProcessMaker. The functions which a user can perform are defined by the set of permissions in a user's role. Users who have the PM_SETUP and PM_USERS permissions in their role can create and delete users or edit the profile of existing users by going to “Admin > Users”.
User Credentials #
The username and password which a user uses to login to ProcessMaker.
User Expiration Date #
The expiration date defines when a user's account is no longer valid and the user will no longer be able to login to ProcessMaker after that date. This expiration date is designed to prevent users from working on cases and accessing sensitive data stored in ProcessMaker years in the future. Users such as the "admin" who have the PM_USERS permission in their role can change the expiration date of users.
User Group #
A user group is a set of users who are assigned as members of a group. In ProcessMaker, groups can be assigned to tasks, which is much more convenient than assigning each user individually to tasks. When a group is assigned to a task, any user in the group is available to be selected out and assigned to work on the task when a case is run. (Remember that only one user can work on a task in a case at a time.) A user can belong to any number of groups. One advantage of using groups is that it is not necessary to edit processes when an employee changes. Instead, just unassign the old user from the group and assign a new user in his/her place. Another advantage is the fact that exported processes loose all the users assigned to tasks when they are imported, but they keep their group assignments and those groups are automatically imported into ProcessMaker when the process is imported.
User Status #
A user's account status can be either Active or Inactive. An account is allowed login to ProcessMaker and can have access the platform. An Inactive account is denied to access the platform. The expiration date can also define whether an account will be accepted to start a session or not.


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Workflow #
The flow of a process in an organization, during which documents, information or tasks are passed from one participant to another for action, according to a set of procedural rules. Participants in the process can be either human, machines or computer systems.
Workspace #
A workspace is a set up processes and users in ProcessMaker which are stored in their own separate database. ProcessMaker has a default workspace named “workflow", but other workspaces can be defined. Workspaces can be backed up and restored separately. Organizations often create multiple workspaces in ProcessMaker when needing to keep processes, case data and users separate. For example an organization might create separate workspaces for each regional office. Multiple workspaces can also be useful when needing to develop and test processes without risking corrupting existing processes being used in production.


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  • Introduction to BPMN, Stephen A. White, IBM Corporation
  • Wikipedia - the Free Encyclopedia,
  • Workflow: An Introduction, Rob Allen, © 2001 – Open Image Systems Inc., WfMC External Relation Committee
  • Workflow Management Coalition Terminology & Glossary, © 1994 – 1999 Workflow Management Coalition
  • Workflow Management – Models, Methods and Systems, Wil van der Aalst and Kees van Hee, © 2002, ISBN 0-262-01189-1