Working with Data Paths

Data paths are a way to define read and write accessors to workflow data of a process instance. For general details on using data paths in IPP please refer to section Data Paths of chapter Workflow Data in our Key Concepts section.

You can use data paths programmatically during runtime via the provided WorkflowService. Please refer to the chapter Infinity Process Platform Services for detailed information on the embedded usage of Infinity Process Platform services. If defined as descriptors, data paths can be also used to visualize process data in the Infinity Process Platform Portals. Note that only data paths defined as descriptors are visible in the Infinity Process Platform Portals.

Creating Data Paths for Process Definitions

To add a data path, select Data Path in the Overview tree on the left side of the properties dialog pertaining to the chosen process definition. In the right pane, click the Add button.

Creation of a Data Path
Figure: Adding a Data Path

The Data Path property pane opens.

Creation of a Data Path
Figure: Adding a Data Path

You can specify the following attributes:

The created data path is visualized in the Outline view.

Data Path visualized in Outline View
Figure: Data Path visualized in Outline View

Setting Descriptors

To define a descriptor for a process definition, select the Descriptor radio button in the properties page. By default, Not a descriptor radio button is selected. Select a data to use as the process data. Note that timestamp data types like datetime, date and time are currently not supported as descriptors. It is also recommended to avoid using Object types like Serialization, Entity Bean or Hibernate as this can lead to performance problems during queries.

Define a Data Path as Descriptor.
Figure: Define a Data Path as Descriptor.

The descriptor is visualized in the Outline view by a red color.

Descriptor visualized in Outline View
Figure: Descriptor visualized in Outline View

Descriptors and Subprocesses

Process descriptors attached to a main process do not apply to its sub-processes. If you like to apply the same descriptor, you have to set it explicitly for the sub-process itself.

Descriptor Use Cases

A data path defined as descriptor can be used in the Infinity Process Platform Portal to visualize data relevant for work items in a participant's worklist or to filter displayed entries by these values, for example:

Providing the total Count of attached Documents as Descriptor

You have the option to provide the total count of attached documents for a process definition as descriptor. To make the number of attached documents available as descriptor perform the following steps:

  1. Make sure the Process Supports Attachments option is selected for your process. Please refer to section Process Attachments in chapter Working with Process Definitions for details on how to support process attachments in your process.


    Figure: Support process attachments

  2. Add a new In-data path
  3. Select Direction IN
  4. Select Descriptor
  5. In the Data drop-down list select Process Attachments


    Figure: Select process attachments

  6. Click Browse to select the Data Path
  7. In the Data Path dialog select the predefined access point documentCount


    Figure: Select access point for document count

Now the count of process attachments is displayed in the Descriptor column in your Portal process tables, e.g.:

Document count
Figure: Document count displayed in a Process Table

You can view it also in the specific document count descriptor column, e.g.:

Document count
Figure: Document count displayed in a Process Table

Providing the total Count of Documents in a Document List

Similar as for attached documents, you can also provide the number of documents in a Document List as descriptor. To make the number of documents in a document list available as descriptor, perform the following steps:

  1. Add a new In-data path to your process definition
  2. Select Direction IN
  3. Select Descriptor
  4. In the Data drop-down list select the document list
  5. Click Browse to select the Data Path
  6. In the Data Path dialog select the predefined access point documentCount


    Figure: Select Data Path for Document Count

     Document Count descriptor for a Document List
    Figure: Document Count descriptor for a Document List

Now the count of documents in the referenced document list is displayed in the column for the above descriptor in your Portal process tables.

Using Key Descriptors

Key descriptors allow designating special descriptors to support searching related processes with matching key descriptors. To define a key descriptor for a process definition, select the Key Descriptor radio button.

For more information, please refer to the Case Descriptors section of the Case - Grouping Processes chapter of the Concepts handbook.

Key Descriptor
Figure: Defining Key Descriptor

When defining key descriptors, the following rules are applied for IN data path as well as OUT data path:

Key Descriptors in the Infinity Process Platform Portal - Use Cases

A data path defined as key descriptor can be used in the Infinity Process Platform Portal to search for related joined processes or cases. For more information, please refer to chapter Searching for related Processes or Cases of the End User Handbook.

Key descriptor usage example

The following example demonstrates how key descriptors can be used to identify a specific process instance in an abort and join scenario: