Chapter 2: Loading the demo app
One of the best ways to get an understanding of what Flowable can do for you is to run an example that shows some of its key features. We’ve created a sample application that you can import and try out; a simple loan application. The example has a case with three stages that launches a process and some tasks. Usually, to import, modify or create case and process models you will use Flowable Design. If you didn’t download the trial you can get the demo app here.
If you still have the Flowable Design sign-in page open from checking it’s working above, switch to it. Otherwise, start Flowable Design again from that page or using http://localhost:8080/flowable-design. Sign in with
test and you’ll be taken to the Apps page below.
The first time you use Flowable, you will get a warning that you need to add a valid license in order to actually create or start anything.
To add a license, click on the Admin User menu at the top right of the page. This will show the menu below with some options that includes License management, which you should select.
You can add or update the license by dragging and dropping a license file here, or by clicking the
Browse/Choose file button and locating the trial license file you downloaded from the link in your trial email. You should now see the details of the license in the menu and actually be able to start doing stuff.
On the Apps page, click the
Import app button and you be presented with the import dialog, leave it with the default options and click the Browse/Choose file button. In the file picker that pops up, navigate to
Models in the
Examples folder and select
You should now see the details view of the imported app. There’s lots going on here but for now we just want to make this app active by deploying it using the Publish button in the top set of action buttons for the app.
Confirm publishing the app and it will now be available to run any of its case or process definitions. The trial has been configured so that the models are deployed directly to the Flowable engines, although typically this is only how you’d configure it for development and test purposes, not for production set ups.
Chapter 3: Creating tasks
Flowable Engage and Flowable Work are the standard user interfaces for people working with cases and processes, with Flowable Engage having all the capabilities of Flowable Work as well as chat features. We’re using Flowable Engage for this tutorial, so switch back to that application if you still have it open (or go to http://localhost:8080/flowable-engage).
Signing in as a normal user
By default for the trial, some demo users are created automatically and we’ll use these throughout the tutorial. As the
admin user has special capabilities, we’ll switch to one of these demo users, Kenny Cole, throughout the following as the primary user, so sign in as user
kenny.cole with password
On the left-hand side you’ll see a list of application areas, also known as
FlowApps. Initially, the Conversations FlowApp should have been selected (for Flowable Work it will be the Work FlowApp). It is possible to add new FlowApps and change which FlowApps are available to different users.
The default FlowApps available in Flowable Engage and Flowable Work are largely the same, with Flowable Engage having the extra
Conversations. Which ones are available to a specific user depends on their role and permissions. The FlowApps you can see as a normal user include:
New: create new items, such as cases, processes and tasks
Conversations: real-time chat with other users or digital assistants (Flowable Engage)
Work: see, start and update the cases and processes you’re involved in
Tasks: your inbox of tasks assigned to you or one of your groups
Contacts: other users you can work with
Documents: enterprise content services for working with files and their properties
If you want to run the tutorial as another user than Kenny, select Contacts in the left-hand menu and choose one of the demo users who is a
If you want to change your profile picture or password, you can click the Settings for your user in the Contacts view, or from the user menu in the bottom left-hand corner of the page.
We will eventually go through the different FlowApps available but first we’re going to start by creating an ad hoc task. Select the New FlowApp and then the Tasks option.
You will be presented with the default form for creating a task. Fill in some details and create the task.
The task will be assigned to you by default, so you’ll now see the new task in your Tasks list. The currently selected task’s details are shown as well, but again, there’s very little to see here at the moment. The color of the task header will indicate if the task is overdue.
If you’ve a short attention span, you could just click the Complete button and feel a certain pride in finishing another job. Then again, it might be more interesting if you were to do some additional things with the task. With the default trial setup, there are other users in the system, so you can click on the Assignee link in the header to pass the task onto one of them, but then you’d have to sign in as that user to see the task. For now, leave it assigned to yourself. You can also set or change the due date – just click on the Due value and select a date from the calendar.
There are a number of tabs available for adding or viewing extra details. For example, as part of this task, maybe you want to attach a number of documents either for reference or as supporting material. Click the Documents tab and try adding a file to the task – there’s some example Microsoft Word, PDF and image files in the
Examples folder where the trial was installed, although any file will work. You can use this when you want to attach some documents, images or videos that may help the person working on the task. We’ll spend more time of the document and content management features later on. For now, if you upload the
CaseManagement_Overview.docx file from the
Examples folder you’ll see it added to the list of documents attached to the task.
Click on the document name and you’ll see a preview of the document (if possible for the type of file), as well as other details that we’ll come back to. Click the X in the top right of the page to close the preview and return to the task view.
You can involve other people to help on the task by giving them access to the task through the People tab. The assignee will still always be the person that has to complete the task. By default with the trial installation, a set of users has been automatically created, so you can add
Lilly Garden by starting to type her name. She will now be able to see this task in her task view but without a Complete button.
There’s also the Conversation tab (Comments tab in Flowable Work) that is a good way of communicating with other people if you need to get help from them while working on the task.
Another tab you’ll see is Subtasks that allows you to add additional tasks that will become part of this overall task.
You can use this like a checklist, or even break a major task down into smaller tasks and assign them to other users to complete. Just to finish off, there’s also the History tab that shows all the audit events linked to this task.
If you would prefer to always start Flowable at the Tasks FlowApp or any other page, you can set your homepage from your user settings (click on the user menu in the bottom left of the page).
Now that we’ve given you a taste of what can be done with tasks you create by hand, let’s see how tasks can be used in the context of case and process management. To do that, we can use the demo app you published from Flowable Design.
Chapter 4: Running the demo app
Your first case
Stay in Flowable Engage to create your first case and process. From the New FlowApp select Work and you’ll be shown a list of apps available to you. You can select the case or process you want to create, which for this run-through will be
Loan case in the
Loan App section. Make sure you select the correct one – it has a briefcase icon to indicate it’s a case.
The case has a start form, which means you’re prompted for some information before the case is actually created. In this instance it’s just requesting the full name of the applicant, so fill in some name.
Congratulations, you have created your first case! For the purposes of this tutorial, all the tasks are assigned to you, so you can see how it progresses without having to keep signing in and out to switch between users.
You should now see the case details view, with a header that shows the stages of the case and which is the current stage. You will be at the initial stage,
Applying for a loan, and as you progress through the cases stages, this header gives you a quick visual cue to where things stand.
You’ll also notice there’s an action button in the header saying Abandon request, which is also part of the case model, so it’s only shown for
Loan case cases. We’ll come back to Actions when we dissect how this app works after we’ve run it through. There’s also a Terminate action button, which is shown for every case. Clicking it will terminate the case, effectively cancelling it, although everything that was done within the case is retained in the same way as any other completed case.
Like the task view, case and process views have a number of tabs for additional information – some should look familiar and we won’t go into further details now. The first thing you’ll see is the tab with the list of Open tasks (there may be more than one task active at a time in a case or process). For the
Loan App there should be a single task at this stage.
The case view gives you the overall picture of the case and is typically used by someone responsible for managing it. If you’re just involved in one task or other for a case created by someone else, you may not see the case in your Work FlowApp. If you click on the Tasks FlowApp you’ll see the same task. Click back to the Work FlowApp and we’ll continue there. From the Open tasks tab, select the
Get applicant details task. You should see the by now familiar task view but this time with a form showing in the Task tab.
Note that there are a couple of extra links in the task header for Loan case and Loan application. As processes and cases can start other processes or cases as part of an overall application, it can be useful to navigate to the parent that created the task. The first link is the overall case or process that the task is part of, the second if displayed, is the immediate parent process or case that created the task. Sometimes doing this tutorial you may find that the view doesn’t jump to a task just created (it depends on a number of factors). You can always use the first link in the task header to go back to the top-level case view.
The name you entered when you created the case should be there, along with some required fields to fill in. Give Age as 62, Home as
Mortgaged, Requested loan as
9200, Salary as
35000, and pick whichever Nationality you like.
As you filled in the required fields you will have noticed the Complete button in the header became enabled. This means you have given enough information for this task to finish. If you need to break off part way through, you can use the Save button in the header to store all the filled-in fields so far and come back to the task another time. If you’ve been clicking about, you’ll have also found an Add identity check action in the action menu – don’t click that yet - we’re definitely going to come back to it! For now, click the Complete button to finish the task. You’ll see there’s now a new open task:
Loan review`. Select that and you’ll see the task view for it.
This time there’s not a Complete button but a set of outcome buttons, Accept, Reject and Escalate. There’s also a form that presents the information we entered before plus an additional field,
Advice. You’re wondering where that came from, so let’s find out by clicking on the Loan application parent link that’s in the task header (it was the
Loan application process that created this task). You’ll now be looking at the process view for this instance, which follows the same style as case views.
You can see the
Review application task listed here but where did that extra advice come from? Click on the History tab and you’ll see a diagram of the
Loan application process. The first two steps are shown in blue to indicate they’ve been completed. The third step is in green to show it’s the active step.
You saw user tasks for the
Get applicant details and
Review application steps, so what was the
Credit advice step? It’s a set of business rules in a Decision Table that gives an output of the credit advice based on the form details. Click on the Decisions tab in History and you’ll see which rules were tried and which succeeded.
You’ll see that the third rule succeeded because the age was over 60 and the status was mortgaged. Now you know where the advice came from.
Let’s get back to the
Review application task by clicking on it in the Open tasks tab for the
Loan application process. We’re going to take the happy path and click the Accept outcome button, which takes us to the next step:
Assign manager. Select this task and you see a task with a form containing two fields. Fill in a name and then click on the
Loan manager photo field, which will pop-up a file-selector dialog. Navigate to
Photos in the
Examples folder where you installed Flowable and choose a photo. This will upload and attach it as part of the task.
This is different from uploading a file to the Documents tab of a task because is it attached as part of the form – it is now data needed for the process rather than just something that might be useful as background material. Complete the
Assign manager task to move on to the
Inform acceptance task (you may need to click the Loan case link). This may take a little extra time the first run through as there’s a step before it that creates a PDF document with the information collected in the process, including the loan manager’s photo that you uploaded. What you should see in the
Inform acceptance task tab is a thumbnail of the generated document.
Click on the thumbnail to see the document in more detail. There are all kinds of options in the full document preview. To go back, click the X in the top right.
Inform acceptance task and you’ll see that the
Loan Application case has now moved on to the second stage –
Managing loan. That means the loan application process and first stage has completed and the case now has a new task,
Get month 1 repayment, from a process started in this second stage.
Click on the
Get month 1 repayment task. There’s no form or different outcomes on the task, so just click the Complete button to signify that the first repayment has been made. You won’t be surprised to see a new task appear,
Get month 2 repayment`. Guess what? If you complete it, there will be tasks created all the way up to month 12, and if you have the time, you could click your way through them. Alternatively, have you noticed there’s a new action, Repay early, available in the case header? Select this action and another task is added to the case alongside the monthly task.
Click through the new
Repay early task and you’ll see a couple of fields to complete. Add some values if you wish, they aren’t mandatory fields.
When you complete the Repay early task you will then find yourself at the case view and notice that it’s now in the
Closing loan stage. There’s just one task remaining,
Give closing statement. The case was configured that if you repay early at any time then the monthly repayment tasks are stopped.
Select this task and again, it’s just a placeholder task to be done. Complete it and you’ll find that the whole case has been completed. Case closed. You can always look at closed cases by selecting the Completed filter in the Work FlowApp on the left-hand side. Select it now and then the case’s History tab. You can explore all the information about how the case was run, such as seeing all the Completed tasks.
You can see when a task was completed. Select a task and you can even see what information was added.
You may also be interested in a view of the case from its document and content perspective. If a file is added or generated as part of a process or case, you can also see this from the Documents FlowApp.
There’s a couple of default folders, Work and Personal. In the
Personal folder you can add folders and files as you wish, but we want to see the file view of the case and tasks we’ve been working on, so select the
Work folder. You’ll see a list that contains a folder with a name that starts
Loan case followed by a timstamp. This is the default naming scheme for the case content view. You’ll also see a folder with the name of the ad hoc task you created and added a document to earlier on in this tutorial.
Click on the loan case folder to navigate into it. You’ll then see a folder representing the process that was run as part of the case, named
Loan application including a timestamp. Navigate into this and you’ll see the generated letter and another folder for the task where you uploaded the photo of the manager. You can click on these to see more details and preview the contents. You don’t have to wait for a process or case to finish before using the content view. You can also use it to add or edit files on active tasks, cases and processes.
That finishes your first fly through this example along a simple, happy path. In the next run through, we’ll see some of the more sophisticated capabilities of Flowable come into play.