With hopes to accommodate all our new users and their requirements, we have planned an exciting set of new features to be rolled out during the course of year 2010. Our new ProcessMaker Development Road Map lays out what our developers will be working on in each quarter of 2010, so you will know what to expect from your favorite workflow and business process management application.
ProcessMaker is a rapidly evolving piece of software, but sometimes all that code churn creates problems for organizations who value stability and reliability over bleeding edge features. They do not want to be constantly upgrading and they certainly don’t want to waste time testing bugs and figuring out the new undocumented features. For these users, ProcessMaker will be releasing a stable version every couple months which should provide the rock-solid stability which users expect.
The rapid pace of development in ProcessMaker will continue apace. Nonetheless, we will shield most of our users from the random hiccups which rapid development inevitably causes by creating a development version of ProcessMaker. Adventuresome users who want the chance to try out the latest code as soon as it rolls out of development will still be able to try out ProcessMaker’s bleeding edge features by either using our public Subversion repository or by applying frequent upgrade patches which will be released every 3 to 4 weeks. In this way, we hope to accommodate users who need the latest functionality and are willing to help us iron out any bugs in the software.
In addition, to the free and open source versions of ProcessMaker, plans are afoot to release a new Enterprise Edition in the first quarter of 2010. Like the stable version, the Enterprise Edition of ProcessMaker with be subjected to more thorough testing to ensure greater stability and reliability. Enterprise users will be shielded from the hassle of frequent upgrades and the added risk of a breaking something with each new patch. In addition, the Enterprise Edition will offer a number of exciting new features needed in enterprise, such as self-selection of cases, digital signatures, advanced integration with LDAP and integrations to offer advanced reporting capabilities. For users who need the special capabilities of the Enterprise Edition, it will be made available for a reasonable licensing fee or as part of a support package. Our clients on a commercial support plans will be offered an easy migration path to begin using the Enterprise Edition. Look for more details as we get closer to release.
For users of the open source versions of ProcessMaker, never fear that we have forgotten you. We have over a dozen new features scheduled for the first quarter, such as a wizard for creating triggers so you can avoid the hassle of customizing your processes and a scheduler for initiating cases automatically. In addition, ProcessMaker will be adding important new abilities to backup and restore workspaces, to ensure the safety of your processes and cases. ProcessMaker understands that the business rules and information stored in a workspace are vitally important for the functioning of your organization. ProcessMaker will make it easier to keep backup copies, so your organization can avoid catastrophic losses of data which threaten to bring your operations to a grinding halt.
Organizations which store their information in a database other than MySQL have long commented on the inconvenience of being forced to maintain a separate MySQL database just to run ProcessMaker. With an eye toward helping these organizations achieve tighter integration of their data, ProcessMaker will offer the option in the second quarter to run ProcessMaker on top of PosgreSQL, Oracle or SQL Server. The new database independence along with the addition of customizable user fields will allow your organization to use ProcessMaker as the primary repository of information about your employees and avoid duplication of user lists in multiple databases. In addition, ProcessMaker will offer improved dashboards and output documents with Jasper Reports, so that better records and monitoring can be maintained.
Although ProcessMaker maintains its data in an open format which can be readily obtained with simple SQL queries, it currently has little ability to import and export data from other business intelligence and business process management systems. This lack of compatibility with other systems encourages the development of data silos and other bad habits which keep your organization divided and unable to collaborate across organizational and geographical boundaries.
To help promote interoperability and the breakdown of silos in your organization, ProcessMaker will become compatible with existing standards in BPM. During the third quarter, ProcessMaker will become conformant with the XML Process Definition Language (XPDL) and develop an standard XPDL designer and diagrammer so processes can easily be shared with other workflow management and business process management systems. In addition, ProcessMaker will begin using standard Business Process Modeling Notation (BPMN), so its processes can be created and maintained with a minimal learning curve by experienced BPM modelers.
The fourth quarter will add the finishing touches on a number of ProcessMaker functions. A new DynaForm designer with drag-and-drop editing will make DynaForms much more intuitive and easy to build and rearrange. A new WYSIWYG HTML editor will greatly enhance the quality of Output Documents and Email Notifications, while a new code editor will give you the full power to customize your document’s HTML code. Process designers will have greater power to experiment with their processes, since different versions of processes can be saved and restored. Finally, the export and import of cases will be added so that not only processes, but also cases can be easily transferred between installations of ProcessMaker.
With this exciting set of new features planned for the coming year, ProcessMaker strives to remain your preferred business process management solution. As always, we look forward to your collaboration in improving our open source product and welcome your feedback as we roll out these new features.