CTO Tuesdays

Most Tuesdays, Active Endpoints' CTO (Chief Technical Officer) Michael Rowley, presents a topic of interest to BPM users. Our popular web series covers a wide variety of issues that will engage both BPMN 2.0 enthusiasts and technical professionals.


41 mins
BPMN was designed for the generally modeling (and documenting) the processes of businesses and in this episode of CTO Tuesday Dr. Michael Rowley discussed the kind of people who are most likely to be successful at using the constructs. He argued that general purpose concepts of BPMN process modeling are probably too much for the typical business user, but proposed that BPMN can be used ONLY if the problem is significantly narrowed down. He explained that this is the exact approach that drove the requirements for the Web-based Screenflow Designer (formerly Socrates). Dr. Rowley then described how screenflows narrow the scope and use a small subset of BPMN that business users can easily manage. To further illustrate his point he demonstrated the creation of screenflows with a subset of BPMN. Michael also briefly demonstrated some of the more sophisticated BPMN capabilities and explained why they are needed for general purpose process modeling.

42 mins
In previous episodes, Michael Rowley explained how the Web-based Screenflow Designer (formerly Socrates) simplified the design of screenflow applications through the innovative concept of guidance trees. In this episode, Michael also demonstrated how the Web-based Screenflow Designer also simplifies how the data is used. We saw how screenflows could call automated steps, but unlike technologies that have come before, did not require the designer to map input and output parameters to variables. This unique approach allowed the domain expert to focus on creating the guidance tree logic and delegated the complexity of data mapping to the developer instead.

53 mins
In this episode of CTO Tuesdays, Michael Rowley debated how guidance trees offered a new paradigm for creating guided applications. He discussed what could be done with a guidance tree and explained how the metaphor simplified the design process over other approaches such as workflow and process modeling. Michael also demonstrated how the new paradigm could be leveraged in a powerful yet elegant manner to simplify the creation and manipulation of these trees. We ended the session with a very lively Q&A with the audience offering lots of comments, questions and viewpoints.

42 mins
In episode 50 of CTO Tuesday Michael Rowley introduced the Web-based Screenflow Designer (formerly known as Socrates), a new technology for creating Screenflows and demonstrated the guidance trees used to create them. In this episode, Michael postulated whether screenflows really are "business processes". It’s not surprising to discover that the answer is more complicated than a simple yes or no. During the talk, Michael spent time diving into how you could integrate screenflows with what would be unhesitatingly called a business processes.

48 mins
CTO Tuesdays reached a significant milestone this week with its 50th episode. So to commemorate this occasion Michael Rowley unveiled a brand new capability called the Web-based Screenflow Designer (formerly Socrates). This innovative feature was designed to enable business users and domain experts to build simple, yet powerful web applications that guide to successful outcomes. These applications can be used for troubleshooting, diagnostics, up sell promotions or refund processes. In fact screenflows are useful for any customer service situation that requires a user to ask questions and receive answers in order to reach a good resolution. So sit back and watch how Michael effortlessly puts this innovative capability through its paces during its world premiere.

43 mins
CTOT #49: Approval Task Patterns
Tuesday, February 15, 2011
Approvals are one of the most common tasks performed by people in every organization and can range from a simple single person, sequential approval, to a complex parallel group voting process. The WS-HumanTask specification doesn’t explicitly describe how different types of approval patterns can be implemented. In this episode Michael explained how these different types of approval patterns can be supported. Michael also demonstrated how to use the ActiveVOS designer, the WS-HumanTask activity and the ActiveVOS Central task list system to show you how it’s done!

46 mins
The WS-HumanTask standard doesn’t explicitly talk about how people can work together on a task or how someone can delegate another person to temporarily work on all of their tasks. However, these situations were considered during the development of WS-HumanTask specification and there are features in the standard that were designed to support them. In this week’s episode, Michael Rowley described how collaboration and delegation can be supported using the WS-HumanTask standard and demonstrated how it works using the ActiveVOS Central task list system.

42 mins
CTOT #47: Compensation
Tuesday, February 1, 2011
In this week’s episode, Michael Rowley covered one of the most widely requested topics of the CTO Tuesdays series and discussed how to use compensating transactions for long-running business processes. In addition to comparing and contrasting transaction managers with BPMS’s, he also showed how to use compensating processes to undo work when things invariably go wrong. As always the episode ended with a lively Q&A session with great participation from the audience.

44 mins
CTOT #46: ESBs and BPMSs
Tuesday, January 25, 2011
In this week’s episode of CTO Tuesdays Michael Rowley did an excellent job comparing and contrasting scenarios for using ESBs and BPMSs. He provided answers to many popular questions including: If you have a service-oriented BPMS, do you also need an ESB? Are ESBs completely unnecessary? Michael Rowley explored situations where BPMS functionality is all that’s needed and where it was appropriate to use an ESB. So whether you own both of these technologies, just investigating one or the other, or looking to leverage the best attributes of each, then I’d strongly suggest watching this episode.

39 mins
An important aspect of business processes is who is allowed to start them. Not everyone is allowed to initiate every kind of process, and it is not just a matter of presentation. If you aren’t allowed to start a process, there should be no way of going around the UI in order to kick it off anyway. Proper authorization should be guaranteed at runtime. In this week’s episode, CTO Michael Rowley will discuss different strategies for process authorization. He will describe standard authorization features that support simple authorization tests as well as architectural patterns that can be used to support more complex authorization scenarios.

48 mins
Active Endpoints CTO Michael Rowley delivers a great introduction to the different types of expression languages for business processes.

45 mins
Michael Rowley describes how to use test suites to ensure that our critical business processes continue to work as expected over time. The key to success is to take a leaf from the book of software engineering and regression testing best practices. This is because an executable business process is just like any other form of good code after all. Business processes should therefore have tests that guarantee they work as expected the first time, and suites of tests to ensure that changes to processes do not unintentionally break working aspects. Michael Rowley also explains both black box and white box testing approaches that should be used when we develop and deploy any business process.

48 mins
CTOT #42: Should you bet on jBPM?
Tuesday, November 2, 2010
jBPM v3 is a mature technology that has continued to get new releases, so it seems to be the most relevant. The kinds of issues I looked into included the following:

26 mins
In this episode of CTO Tuesdays, Michael Rowley discusses the similarity between sequence flows (arrows) in a business process and the old GO TO statement from programming languages.

38 mins
In this episode of CTO Tuesdays, Michael Rowley talks about single sign on (SSO) and how the application that presents task lists to users should be able to fit into a SSO framework.

51 mins
In this week's CTO Tuesday's webcast, Michael Rowley argues (and demonstrates) that any web service created using calls to other web services, even when the service being created is entirely synchronous, is best created using a BPEL-based BPMS (preferably with BPMN 2.0 notation).

31 mins
In this week's CTO Tuesday Michael Rowley discusses how WS-HumanTask standardizes the concepts and APIs for worklist systems. These concepts provide some organizational and searching capabilities, but also provide extensibility points to allow vendors to add additional capabilities in these areas.

38 mins
Handling versioning issues correctly in a service-oriented architecture is hard to do right. It is easy to inadvertently deploy new versions of schemas, WSDLs or process definitions that interfere with existing working services. In this week's CTO Tuesday, Michael Rowley describes an approach to versioning that makes it much easier to avoid such conflicts.

38 mins
CTOT #36: Using BPMN's Swimlanes
Tuesday, September 14, 2010
In this CTO Tuesday episode, Michael Rowley describes BPMN's concept of swimlanes for representing

40 mins
This talk describes BPMN's concept of boundary events, how they should be used, and how they are related to events that are in the normal sequence flow and to event subprocesses.

48 mins
Service-oriented BPM is all about using and providing services. Even tasks done by people are modeled as services. Services use and return XML documents. This means that every decision, every loop condition and generally every use of data has to be able to pull the appropriate data out of XML documents. This is the job of XPath. Many people only have a rudimentary knowledge of XPath, letting their tools generate it for them, but a more complete understanding of the language can help you make simpler processes and allow you a greater understanding is what is going on at runtime.

35 mins
CTOT #33: Is REST Right for BPM?
Tuesday, August 10, 2010
In this week's CTO Tuesday, Michael Rowley addresses the question of whether the architectural style called "REST" is well suited to BPM. To save you the suspense, the answer is no. That isn't to say that ActiveVOS doesn't support REST. It does. But if you have a choice, should you follow that style? That is where the answer is no.

50 mins
CTOT #32: BPM Standards Update
Tuesday, August 3, 2010
A number of standards efforts related to BPM are nearing completion of major milestones. In this week's CTO Tuesdays, Michael Rowley describes the current state of each of these efforts along with a brief description of the history and main goals of these standards.

55 mins
In this recording Michael Rowley describe the history of the key standards that are important for SOA, such as XML (starting back with SGML), XML Schema, SOAP, WSDL and BPEL. He also describes some of the key architectural characteristics of SOA that drove the standards, as well as some of the standards-making politics that was peculiar to service-oriented standards.

51 mins
In this recording of CTO Tuesdays, the BPMS podcast, Michael Rowley describes how we got here - taking a special look at previous attempts to solve some core development problems. Whatever your interest: SOA, BPM, application development, even just a passing historical curiosity, you will want to watch this (and future) episodes.

41 mins
We are, to put it bluntly, very concerned that the marketplace is receiving - and accepting - incorrect information about the real relationship between BPEL and BPMN 2.0. Last week, Michael Rowley dispelled this myth in the abstract. This week, Michael Rowley has gone further: he actually shows what a two-toolset, two-engine BPMS environment with only a fig-leaf of integration looks like, using Oracle's BPM Suite 11g and SOA Suite 11g as the poster children.

56 mins
As we all know, in politics, negative campaigning works. "BPEL is dead;" "BPMN 2.0 execution obviates BPEL." These misstatements have gained far more attention than they deserve. They have escalated to the level of myth - or worse, conventional wisdom - both of which can have lives very separate from reality. Watch this podcast replay to see and hear Michael Rowley debunk these myths - passionately and accurately.

35 mins
In this talk, Michael Rowley, Active Endpoints' CTO discusses how a business process management suite (BPMS) can provide the infrastructure necessary to survive serious disruptions.

44 mins
Michael Rowley discusses how WS-HumanTask, coupled with capabilities provided by JSON and AJAX make it possible to eliminate presentation tier services on application servers for worklist management and process initiation in BPMSs.

33 mins
Active Endpoints CTO Michael Rowley discusses BPMS alert monitors and services which can be used when the BPMS detects issues in running processes.

46 mins
Michael Rowley delivers a very interesting talk on how to manage services that might be unavailable when your process is running.

45 mins
This episode of CTO Tuesdays details with how escalation works in a BPMS. In particular, the discussion and demonstration tackle how to use process-level and task-level escalation, including deadlines, in the design and deployment of processes.

42 mins
Michael Rowley tackles a complex case for correlation: when you can't use engine-managed correlation because the developer doesn't have control of the client in a business process. This episode reviews the terms used in correlation and then walks through a simplified procurement process to illustrate the concept.

52 mins
Michael Rowley turns the con over to Rob Morris and Dusty Rivers of GT Software, who describe an elegant and practical way of linking everything on a mainframe - CICS transactions, IMS queues, VSAM keyed datasets, raw 3270 data stream...you name it - to a modern BPMS like ActiveVOS. This is done via standard web services, using WSDLs to define available mainframe services.

57 mins
Completing a "trilogy" of sorts that started with CTOT #18 and continued in CTOT #19, Michael Rowley covers the concepts - and politics - behind REST, the representational state transfer protocol.

46 mins
In this very interesting episode, Michael Rowley covers the (somewhat sad) history of URNs (complete with a screen shot of the entire web, circa 1991). Rowley then details how and why URNs are useful in process applications. A panel discussion follows the formal presentation.

42 mins
Episode 18 of CTO Tuesdays, covers using email for simpler workflows. Michael Rowley compares and contrasts using worklist management versus email for certain kinds of tasks and makes recommendations on when to use a BPMS's worklist capabilities and when email might be acceptable.

48 mins
This episode covers BPMS support for long-running business transactions and compensation. Michael Rowley compares and contrasts BPMS support for transactions with that of transaction managers and describes how compensation can be applied to business transactions.

50 mins
Michael Rowley Rowely, host of the podcast and CTO at Active Endpoints discusses what persistence is, how it works and what the potential performance costs might be.

37 mins
Active Endpoints CTO Michael Rowley discusses an elegant way of bridging the world of BPEL and the Java world. Then, after the technical presentation, Rowley discusses in the Q&A how, when and why process developers might want to use Java in their processes and warns against "speaking BPEL with an accent."

37 mins
This week Michael Rowley tackles bugs in BPMSs. Bugs are just a part of life when creating business applications. But what about when you are creating process applications using a model-based BPMS? What happens then? How does the BPMS help you identify - even prevent and eliminate - bugs? Watch this episode to find out how standards like BPMN 2.0 and BPEL work together to help make designing and executing process applications more error-free.

43 mins
One of the most important - and useful - capabilities of a BPMS is its ability to view, alter and fix running processes. In this edition of

47 mins
This episode of CTO Tuesdays features our first guest CTO. John Newton, CTO and chairman of Alfresco Software, joins Michael Rowley to discuss how enterprise content management systems (ECM) can be combined with business process management systems BPMS) to create compelling end-to-end business applications. ActiveVOS and Alfresco implement the new Content Management Interoperability Standard (CMIS), enabling these two important technologies to work together to produce a new generation of business process applications.

46 mins
On this episode of CTO Tuesdays, we explore an important concept in software modeling: structured vs.unstructured modelers. Examples of both types are compared and contrasted. Also, the ActiveVOS BPMN 2.0 modeler, which blends the best of both types of modelers is demonstrated.

41 mins
This week, Michael Rowley presents "Using requirements gathering tools with a BPMS," an interesting look at the relationship - and the possibilities - of using model-based BPMSs with requirements gathering tools.

43 mins
Michael Rowley covers some basic theory of how complex event processing (CEP) works and makes the case for integrating a CEP engine directly into the BPM engine. Topics covered include the Event Processing Language (EPL), time windows as a method of correlating disparate events and event streams. In short, a fascinating - and accessible - introduction to a hot technical topic.

61 mins
CTOT #8: An Introduction to BPMN
Tuesday, December 15, 2009
In this episode, Active Endpoints CTO Michael Rowley gives what might be the most concise, "digestable" overview of BPMN 2.0 available on the Web. If you are new to BPMN and want to see what it can do for you and your organization, this content is for you. In this webinar, Rowley discusses basic BPMN notation, including activities, events and gateways. And, in an expansive Q&A following the presentation, Rowley answers questions about the use and capabilities of BPMN.

45 mins
CTOT #7: Adding Looping Links to BPEL
Tuesday, December 8, 2009
This episode takes a look at how it is possible to meld the "Wild West" control flow of BPMN 2.0 with the more buttoned-down control flow of BPEL. Rowley gives an example of a BPEL extension that effectively marries these two standards in a way that preserves the best of both BPMN modeling and BPEL execution.

51 mins
This time, Active Endpoints CTO Michael Rowley discusses BPMN 2.0 and BPEL control flows, pointing out the ":trap doors" in BPMN 2.0 notation that can, for example, lead to unintended simultaneous downstream process execution and how BPEL (still using BPMN 2.0 notation) can effectively prevent hard-to-understand and -debug process applications in a BPMS.

30 mins
CTOT #5: Engine-managed correlation
Tuesday, November 17, 2009
Dr. Michael Rowley, CTO, Active Endpoints compares and contrasts two different styles of message correlation. In episode #4, Michael Rowley outlined message correlation as defined by the BPEL standard. In this episode, Michael Rowley illustrates a different style of correlation, which relies on the execution engine to correlate incoming messages to specific processes. Michael Rowley also describes when and how each style (BPEL-managed vs. engine-managed) can be used and notes some pros and cons for each style.

36 mins
CTOT #4: Message correlation
Tuesday, November 10, 2009
The subject of this webinar is message correlation, an interesting topic that details how systems match up running processes and the messages for those running processes.

44 mins
CTOT #3: BPMN and BPEL events
Tuesday, November 3, 2009
This week on CTO Tuesdays Active Endpoints CTO Michael Rowley presented how events are represented in BPMN 2.0 and BPEL.

49 mins
CTOT #2: Introduction to WS-HumanTask
Tuesday, October 27, 2009
This week's topic on CTO Tuesdays was an introduction to the new WS-HumanTask standard for workflow. In this informative session, Michael Rowley describes the importance of the new standard for workflow, how it separates tasks from processing and how WS-HumanTask enables human activities to be seen as services in a process application.

40 mins
CTOT #1: The BPMN diamond
Tuesday, October 20, 2009
Our inaugural topic was an explanation of the meaning and uses of the BPMN 2.0 diamond symbol. If you are interested in learning BPMN 2.0 - or if you just want to brush up on some of the more advanced considerations in using this basic BPMN symbol - you will find this recording very instructive. Concepts are demonstrated in ActiveVOS 7's new BPMN 2.0 modeler.