Red Hat
Jan 20, 2014
by Maciej Swiderski
As some of you might noticed jBPM got quite few improvements for version 6.0, to just name few:

  • RuntimeManager
  • enhanced timer service
  • new deployment model - based on kjar and maven
  • brand new tooling 
  • see release notes for more
there is (as always) still room for improvements. After 6.0 went out, we started to look at how we could ease the usage of jBPM in Spring based applications on top of the new API. Lots of the API is now based on the concept of fluent API which is not really Spring friendly.
Before we dive into details of the API and how it can be used in Spring let's look at possible usage scenarios that users might be interested in:

  • Self managed process engine
This is the standard (and the simplest) way to get up and running with jBPM in your application. You only configure it once and run as part of the application. With the RuntimeManager usage, both process engine and task service will be managed in complete synchronization, meaning there is no need from end user to deal with "plumbing" code to make these two work together. 
  • Shared task service
There could be a need in certain situations, that a single instance of a TaskService is used. This approach give more flexibility in configuring the task service instance as it's not behind RuntimeManager. Once configured it's then used by the RuntimeManager when requested. RuntimeManager in such situation will not create new instances of task service as it's done with self managed process engine approach.

To provide spring based way of setting up jBPM, few factory beans where added:

org.kie.spring.factorybeans.RuntimeEnvironmentFactoryBean


Factory responsible for producing instances of RuntimeEnvironment that are consumed by RuntimeManager upon creation. It allows to create following types of RuntimeEnvironment (that mainly means what is configured by default):
  • DEFAULT - default (most common) configuration for RuntimeManager
  • EMPTY - completely empty environment to be manually populated
  • DEFAULT_IN_MEMORY - same as DEFAULT but without persistence of the runtime engine
  • DEFAULT_KJAR - same as DEFAULT but knowledge asset are taken from KJAR identified by releaseid or GAV
  • DEFAULT_KJAR_CL - build directly from classpath that consists kmodule.xml descriptor
Mandatory properties depends on the selected type but knowledge information must be given for all types. That means that one of the following must be provided:
  • knowledgeBase
  • assets
  • releaseId
  • groupId, artifactId, version
Next for DEFAULT, DEFAULT_KJAR, DEFAULT_KJAR_CL persistence needs to be configured:
  • entity manager factory
  • transaction manager
Transaction Manager must be Spring transaction manager as based on its presence entire persistence and transaction support is configured.  Optionally EntityManager can be provided to be used instead of always creating new one from EntityManagerFactory - e.g. when using shared entity manager from Spring. All other properties are optional and are meant to override the default given by type of the environment selected.

org.kie.spring.factorybeans.RuntimeManagerFactoryBean

FactoryBean responsible for creation of RuntimeManager instances of given type based on provided runtimeEnvironment. Supported types:
  • SINGLETON
  • PER_REQUEST
  • PER_PROCESS_INSTANCE
where default is SINGLETON when no type is specified.  Every runtime manager must be uniquely identified thus identifier is a mandatory property. All instances created by this factory are cached to be able to properly dispose them using destroy method (close()).

org.kie.spring.factorybeans.TaskServiceFactoryBean

Creates instance of TaskService based on given properties. Following are mandatory properties that must be provided:
  • entity manager factory
  • transaction manager
Transaction Manager must be Spring transaction manager as based on its presence entire persistence and transaction support is configured. Optionally EntityManager can be provided to be used instead of always creating new one from EntityManagerFactory - e.g. when using shared entity manager from Spring. In addition to above there are optional properties that can be set on task service instance:
  • userGroupCallback - implementation of UserGroupCallback to be used, defaults to MVELUserGroupCallbackImpl
  • userInfo - implementation of UserInfo to be used, defaults to DefaultUserInfo
  • listener - list of TaskLifeCycleEventListener that will be notified upon various operations on tasks
This factory creates single instance of task service only as it's intended to be shared across all other beans in the system.


Now we know what components we are going to use, so it's time to look at how we could actually configure our spring application to take advantage on jBPM version 6. We start with the simple self managed approach where we configure single runtime manager with inline resources (processes) added.

1. First we setup entity manager factory and transaction manager:

  <bean id="jbpmEMF" class="org.springframework.orm.jpa.LocalContainerEntityManagerFactoryBean">
<property name="persistenceUnitName" value="org.jbpm.persistence.spring.jta"/>
</bean>

<bean id="btmConfig" factory-method="getConfiguration" class="bitronix.tm.TransactionManagerServices">
</bean>

<bean id="BitronixTransactionManager" factory-method="getTransactionManager"
class="bitronix.tm.TransactionManagerServices" depends-on="btmConfig" destroy-method="shutdown" />

<bean id="jbpmTxManager" class="org.springframework.transaction.jta.JtaTransactionManager">
<property name="transactionManager" ref="BitronixTransactionManager" />
<property name="userTransaction" ref="BitronixTransactionManager" />
</bean>
with this we have ready persistence configuration that gives us:
  • JTA transaction manager (backed by bitronix - for unit tests or servlet containers)
  • entity manager factory for persistence unit named org.jbpm.persistence.spring.jta
2. Next we configure resource that we are going to use - business process

<bean id="process" factory-method="newClassPathResource" class="org.kie.internal.io.ResourceFactory">
<constructor-arg>
<value>jbpm/processes/sample.bpmn</value>
</constructor-arg>
</bean>
this configures single process that will be available for execution - sample.bpmn that will be taken from class path. This is the simplest way to get your processes included when trying out jbpm.

3. Then we configure RuntimeEnvironment with our infrastructure (entity manager, transaction manager, resources)


<bean id="runtimeEnvironment" class="org.kie.spring.factorybeans.RuntimeEnvironmentFactoryBean">
<property name="type" value="DEFAULT"/>
<property name="entityManagerFactory" ref="jbpmEMF"/>
<property name="transactionManager" ref="jbpmTxManager"/>
<property name="assets">
<map>
<entry key-ref="process"><util:constant static-field="org.kie.api.io.ResourceType.BPMN2"/></entry>
</map>
</property>
</bean>
that gives us default runtime environment ready to be used to create instance of a RuntimeManager.

4. And finally we create RuntimeManager with the environment we just setup

<bean id="runtimeManager" class="org.kie.spring.factorybeans.RuntimeManagerFactoryBean" destroy-method="close">
<property name="identifier" value="spring-rm"/>
<property name="runtimeEnvironment" ref="runtimeEnvironment"/>
</bean>

with just four steps you are ready to execute your processes with Spring and jBPM 6, utilizing EntityManagerFactory and JTA transaction manager.

As an optional step, especially useful when testing you can create AuditLogService to get history information of your process executions.


<bean id="logService" class="org.jbpm.process.audit.JPAAuditLogService">
<constructor-arg>
<ref bean="jbpmEMF"/>
</constructor-arg>
</bean>

Complete spring configuration file can be found here.

This is just one configuration setup that jBPM 6 supports - JTA transaction manager and EntityManagerFactory, others are:
  • JTA and SharedEntityManager
  • Local Persistence Unit and EntityManagerFactory
  • Local Persistence Unit and SharedEntityManager
What is important to note here is that there is no need to setup TaskService at all, some part of it like user group callback, can be configured via RuntimeEnvironment but the whole setup is done automatically by RuntimeManager. No need to worry about that.

Although if you need more control over TaskService instance you can set it up yourself and let RuntimeManager use it instead of creating its own instances.

To do so, you start the same as for self managed process engine case, follow step 1 and 2. Next we configure task service

<bean id="taskService" class="org.kie.spring.factorybeans.TaskServiceFactoryBean" destroy-method="close">
<property name="entityManagerFactory" ref="jbpmEMF"/>
<property name="transactionManager" ref="jbpmTxManager"/>
<property name="listeners">
<list>
<bean class="org.jbpm.services.task.audit.JPATaskLifeCycleEventListener" />
</list>
</property>
</bean>
with that we add an extra task life cycle listener to save all task operations as log entires.

Then, step 3 needs to be slightly enhanced to set task service instance in the runtime environment so RuntimeManager can make use of it


<bean id="runtimeEnvironment" class="org.kie.spring.factorybeans.RuntimeEnvironmentFactoryBean">
<property name="type" value="DEFAULT"/>
<property name="entityManagerFactory" ref="jbpmEMF"/>
<property name="transactionManager" ref="jbpmTxManager"/>
<property name="assets">
<map>
<entry key-ref="process"><util:constant static-field="org.kie.api.io.ResourceType.BPMN2"/></entry>
</map>
</property>
<property name="taskService" ref="taskService"/>
</bean>
that will disable task service creation by RuntimeManager and always use this single shared instance.
Step 4 (creating RuntimeManager) is exactly the same.

Look at the example configuration files and test cases for more details on how they are utilized.

Please also note that factory beans for spring integration are currently scheduled to be released with 6.1.0 version of jBPM but I would like to encourage you to give it a try before so in case something is not working or missing we will have time to fix it and let it out with 6.1.0.Final. So all hands on board and let's spring it :)