Frank's Blog

Commercial: OOP 2009 presentation 

I'm giving my first public presentation this year at the OOP 2009 conference taking place next week in Munich. In contrast to the last years scientific talks, this will be my first industry (say commercial) talk.

So, if you're around, I happily invite you to learn about the inubit way of practicing holistic business process management. I will guide you through the 45 minutes with a show case based on an HR process. Besides slides, I will also give a life demonstration.

Date: Tuesday, Jan 27, 2009 13:00 - 13:45
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Happy new Year! 

Today I just wish you all a happy new year! May all of your dreams, wishes, and hopes come true.

And yes, I promise again, that the things I promised in some of the last blog entries might be come true next year.
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BPMN and the Event-based Gateway 

Today I would like to tell you something about BPMN's Event-based Gateway. If you don't remember it by now, maybe you do by taking a closer look:

The shape of the Event-based gateway changed from BPMN 1.0 to BPMN 1.1. Both types of Gateways (Event-based or Exclusive) make a decision, i.e. only one of the outgoing Sequence Flows is taken. Only one of the Gateways, however, is used for joining Sequence Flows. That one is the Exclusive Gateway (please keep this in mind when modeling).

But what are the differences between the two types of Gateways, which make a decision leading to the activation of exactly one of the outgoing Sequence Flows? Here are the golden rules:

1. An Exclusive Gateway is always used when the decision is internally (up to you, based on locally available information).
2. An Event-based Gateway must be used when the decision is externally (up to others, based on distributed events).

Consider for instance a simple business process of getting in touch with a friend:

You could either choose to write a letter or make a phone call. The decision on how to get in touch is made in the Exclusive Gateway numbered with (1). Please note, that the decision on how to get in touch is completely up to you. The Sequence Flows are joined with Exclusive Gateway numbered with (2).

The corresponding business process of your friend, however, can not anticipate how you will get in touch with him. He needs to support both cases, where the decision is triggered externally:

The decision is made in the Event-based Gateway (3), based on the directly following Event that is triggered first. The flows are joined, once again, by an Exclusive Gateway, in (4).

The difference becomes immediately visible when the two business processes are brought together to form a choreography:

It can be clearly seen that the decision is made in the upper Pool, whereas the lower Pool can only react to that decision.

Now, hopefully, I will never see a BPD with a wrong use of the Event-based Gateway anymore (and I've seen way too much).
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BizAgi Process Modeler with Frapu Stencils 

The BizAgi Process Modeler now sports an import option for Visio files using the BPMN 1.0 stencils that I offer here.

Thanks to Matthias Weidlich for pointing me to this feature of BizAgi Process Modeler.
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Time Machine with FireWire 800 

A few days ago, my old 2.5" external HDD used for Time Machine died once again. So I decided to replace it with a robust (5 year warranty) My Book Studio Edition 500GB from Western Digital.

I selected this (a bit more expensive) model, since it had a FireWire 800 port. It came preconfigured for the Mac, formated with Mac OS Extended (Journaled) file system. Furthermore, it looks very Mac-stylish, especially with the white LCD-effects in front. It shuts down and powers up with the Mac (also in sleep mode). The device remains cool, but is a little louder than my Alu iMac. It will return to sleep mode, however, if not used for 10 minutes.

The whole thing was installed quickly, and my 80 gigs of stuff were backed up within an hour. This was also a reason why I decided against getting a Time Capsule from Apple. All the boards are full of discussions about slow speeds, blocking the internet access, and quite much heat produced.

Of course, I started up XBench and measured the performance using USB 2.0, FireWire 400, and FireWire 800. The 256K block performance is shown below:

The first two blocks show sequential write and read access with 256k blocks, whereas the last two blocks show random access. The vertical axis denotes the transfer speed in MB per second. As can easily be seen, USB 2.0 is quite close to FireWire 400. What can not be seen, however, is that USB produced much more CPU usage on a Mac. FireWire 800 is a good leap ahead.

The figure above shows the 4K block performance. The sequential writing of 4K blocks seems to be even faster than 256K blocks, with FireWire 800 leading once again. The results are closer for the last three blocks, obviously since the transfer speed is no longer an issue in this kind of benchmark.

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