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Effektif Open Sources BPM Software with an Emphasis on Developers

| by Victor Grazi Follow 21 Followers on Mar 16, 2015. Estimated reading time: 3 minutes |

Business process management software provider Effektif today announced the open sourcing of their workflow engine.

InfoQ spoke to Effektif founder and CEO Tom Baeyens about this strategic move.

InfoQ: What makes Effektif unique?

Baeyens: My past is building open source business process management software. A while back I realized I wanted to make it easier to create and manage something to make workflow accessible to developers. You see, simplicity is key for targeting the developer community and they just never before had the proper tooling for it.

The key as a developer is that it can be tricky to coordinate user tasks, automatic actions and timers. That is the benefit of a workflow engine. You can compose workflow diagrams with blocks and arrows and let the workflow engine keep track of each workflow execution.

Signavio is a co founder of Effektif and their intuitive, web based process builder is included in Effektif, allowing users to create BPMN workflows and execute them.

Effektif has been focused mainly on making it easier to build and run workflows. That's where we make a difference. If This Then That is a great metaphor;. iIt shows how complex integrations can be created by non technical people.  BPM tools have been traditionally notorious for being hard to use, so our first year focus has been simplifying the user experience.

At Effektif, we think cloud-first.  We host our software as a service.  So we must ensure it scales and we incorporate the experience we get from hosting it.

InfoQ: Now that you’re done with that, what do you have on the horizon for year two and beyond?

Baeyens: The second phase is really a new category. The BPM solutions of other big players are essentially graphical application development environments. But you need an IT person to develop with it. And for some developers this is suboptimal because they can’t choose the architecture and technologies they want. That’s the main reason open source is better. Our process engine runs in your own application as a library, via REST or via drivers in any language. An activity adapter is like a microservice that you write yourself. It performs an action that you want to use in your workflows.  You plug a new activity type into the engine by connecting the adapter in the workflow engine.

Let me give you an example. In your role at InfoQ as a publisher, let's say you use a service to publish articles. You can write the code to publish articles as an adapter. That adapter that you wrote yourself is then exposed as an activity in our workflow builder.  So then you can include “Publish article” activities as part of your workflows.

InfoQ: So you are not targeting the business process manager but the developer?

Baeyens: We target both business managers and developers. Originally, we only had an open REST API and it turned out that was not sufficient for most developers;.  they want to run it locally as part of their own application. That's why now, by open sourcing the engine, we opened it up for developers.

InfoQ: What is your business model?

Baeyens: Now that it is open sourced, we are giving the full engine away, with a liberal Apache license. We keep the tooling for ourselves, including the UI. But even there, in the online version we allow the users to create workflow models, export them and then use them in a free online account.

The restrictions on the free developer account are maximum one user, and cases are only stored for 30 days.   The exported workflows can then be run anywhere on the open source engine without limitations.

Monetization comes in when you want support or if you want to run the process builder locally, or if you want to run our SaaS product.

The core engine is written in Java, but in previous projects we started with the Java interface. Now we start with the REST API in mind.

Effektif encourages people to participate and get involved.  The open source project can be found at GitHub:  https://github.com/effektif/effektif

To try it out online, register an account here: https://app.effektif.com/registration

Pricing information has just been published: http://www.effektif.com/pricing-cloud/

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jbpm and activiti and ... by Mark N

So it seems this is the 3rd BPM product Tom has created (been involved with creating). Why this over those two?

Re: jbpm and activiti and ... by Tom Baeyens

Hi Mark,

I've summarized the motivations in our wiki: github.com/effektif/effektif/wiki/Introduction, section "Why we created Effektif"

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