This glossary describes some of the terminology used inside ProcessMaker version 2.x. Feel free to leave a comment below if you feel that a term is missing and should be included in this documentation.
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Account Expiration Date #
The expiration date defines a point in time after which an account will be denied to access the platform.
Account Status #
An account, whether it is an Employee or External User account, can be either Active or Inactive. An Active account is allowed to 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.
An activity is the instance of an assigned task. Therefore, an activity is related to a specific business case. To illustrate this concept, we can say that an activity is to a task what a business case is to a process.
Administrator Account #
User accounts of type Administrator benefit from full rights. They are allowed to access the Factory interface to create, modify or delete business processes; the Users interface to administer user accounts; and the Reports interface to create, modify or delete reports.
Automatic Evaluation Task #
An automatic evaluation task delegates the flow control of a process to a set of conditions which can be calculated by the WMS. This symbol identifies an automatic evaluation task in the Process Map.
Business Case #
A Business Case, often referred just as Case, is an instance of a process definition. In other words, a business case can be seen as a "work in progress". Examples of business cases: an insurance claim, a mortgage application, a course of treatment in a hospital. Each case is uniquely identified.
Business Process #
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, a new impetus based on the advent of software tools (business process management systems or BPMS) which 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 the original 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.
Company Interface #
The Company Interface is an enactment component, corresponding to the "run-time system" which has a workflow engine to coordinate process steps, and an execution interface for use by the distributed end-users.
(See Business Case)
Case Status #
A case status defines the current state of a given business case. The status can be one of the following: Pending, Draft, Paused, Cancelled or Completed.
Before a task can be performed as part of a particular business case, the latter must fulfill certain conditions. A condition therefore is a necessary requirement that must be met before an activity can take place. Once all the conditions for a task in a particular case are met, that task can be carried out.
Cancelled case #
A case is said to be cancelled when any remaining activity will no longer take place. For an open case to be cancelled, the current activity must have the "Permission to cancel case" property set to Yes. This property is part of the task definition.
Completed case #
A case is said to be completed when it has reached the instance of an ending task (an ending activity). A process definition may contain one or more ending tasks.
A department, also known as an organizational unit, is a specialized division within an organization. From the organizational chart perspective, a department may be sub-divided into one or more departments.
Draft case #
When a new business case is opened by executing any associated starting task, and before such first activity is finished, the case's status is set to Draft. This term is analogous to a new e-mail message: it's status is set to draft until the message is sent. In the same way, a new business case is set to Draft status before being sent to next user in charge.
DynaForm Type #
A DynaForm can be of two types: Master or Grid. A Master DynaForm can be displayed one at a time in every activity. A Grid can only exist as a sub-form or child form inside a Master DynaForm. A Grid can store information much like a spreadsheet does, thus allowing to store information with a one-to-many relationship.
An employee corresponds to an internal account. As such, and given the appropriate permissions, an employee can open new business cases or participate in existing ones.
Ending task #
An ending task allows an instance of a process definition (a "case") to terminate. A process definition may contain one or more ending tasks. This symbol identifies an ending task in the Process Map.
External User #
An external user account has a very limited scope. Given the appropriate permissions, such an account can participate in business cases. But this type of account doesn't have a Dashboard, can't run reports and doesn't have access to the organizational chart. An external user account is well suited for users whom may become part of the organization, down the line. Examples of processes involving external users: Job Application, New Customer On-Boarding, External Consultants.
Factory Interface #
The Factory interface is a modeling component used for the definition, analysis and restructuring of business processes.
Operator Account #
Operator accounts are meant for production mode, using the ProcessMaker Company interface, which corresponds to the Cases tab. Depending on their permissions, these accounts can: participate in business processes; have customized Dashboards; run reports through the Reports interface; access the Users interface.
Organizational Chart #
An organizational chart is a graphic presentation of the relationships and interrelationships within an organization that identifies the lines of authority and responsibility in an organization.
Output Documents #
Output Documents are either PDF (Portable Document Format) or RTF (Rich Text Format) documents automatically generated in a given activity context. An Output document can be generated from any existing DynaForm. It can use fields from any DynaForm of the process definition and can place them in a formatted output file, applying a PDF or RTF template definition.
A Process, which is the term we use to refer to a Business Process, is a collection of tasks that takes one or more kinds of input and creates an output that is of value to the customer or to an end user within the organization. The process output can be a tangible good or a service.
Parallel Join #
A task of parallel join type is such that it comes after two or more parallel tasks. It is also known as AND-join, or synchronous join, meaning that all preceding parallel tasks must attain completion before the task of parallel join type can begin.
This symbol identifies a parallel join. All preceding tasks are said to be parallel tasks.
Parallel Fork #
A task of parallel fork type is such that it precedes a series of two or more parallel tasks. It defines the point at which parallel task instances (or activities) must begin.
This symbol identifies a parallel fork, thus meaning that subsequent tasks are parallel ones.
Parallel Tasks #
Parallel tasks can take place simultaneously. The task preceding two or more parallel tasks must have defined a derivation rule of type Parallel (Fork).
Pending Case #
A pending or To-Do case is a business case waiting for the next activity to be performed. The amount of time elapsed since the completion of the preceding one will allow the WMS to classify any pending case in one of three possible alert zones: green, yellow or red zones, as shown below.
The number of days permitting the calculation of these alert areas can be configured on a per-users basis, as part of the user profile settings.
Paused Case #
An open case can be paused by any user involved in the workflow for an arbitrary amount of time. Once this period expires, the case status switches back to a "pending" case.
Process Map #
A Process map is a dynamic visual representation of the tasks and derivation rules associated with a business process. An Admin user can add new tasks and derivation rules, and modify existing ones directly from the process map.
A step is a piece of work that forms a clearly defined action. A step may be a manual action, or a workflow (automated) action. A task is composed of one or several steps. Examples of steps: upload a document, fill a DynaForm, produce a RTF document.
Starting task #
A starting task allows an instance of a process definition (a "case") to begin. A process definition may contain one or more starting tasks. The Task Order property must be set to Starting Task. This symbol identifies a starting task in the Process Map.
A task is the definition of a logical group of sequential steps, sharing a common goal. A collection of tasks constitutes an actual business process. Note that there is a slight difference between a task and an activity; an activity being an instance of a task definition. Thus, a task is to an activity what a business process is to a case.
Unified Resource Name (URN) #
A Uniform Resource Name (URN) is a Uniform Resource Identifier (URI) that uses the urn scheme, and does not imply availability of the identified resource. Both URNs (names) and URLs (locators) are URIs, and some URI may be a name and a locator at the same time.
A WebBot is a small program that performs an action inside the WMS system. Usually, a WebBot will retrieve information from an external data repository. A WebBot can be a script or a Web Service.
The automation of a business process, in whole or part, 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.
Workflow Management System (WMS) #
A WMS is a software system that manages the execution of workflows by interpreting process definitions allowing interaction with workflow participants. A WMS supports the definition and administration of workflow schemes as well as the execution and monitoring of workflow instances. A WMS is meant to control business cases.
A WMS does not actually perform any of the tasks of a process. What a WMS does is to ensure that the right information reaches the right person at the right time, or is submitted to the right computer application at the right moment.
Web Services Description Language (WSDL) #
WSDL is a language for describing how to interface with XML-based services. To invoke a service, a consuming application must know the service's interface, including how to structure content and which transport protocol to use.
- 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
- Workflow: An Introduction, Rob Allen, © 2001 – Open Image Systems Inc., WfMC External Relation Committee
- Wikipedia – the Free Encyclopedia, http://www.wikipedia.org
- Introduction to BPMN, Stephen A. White, IBM Corporation