Handling Data and Data Flows in the Process

Activities manipulate workflow relevant data. In the support case management process of ACME, a set of data items describes the support case. For example, a description of the problem, a reference to the customer reporting the problem, etc. is created by the Create Case activity and then passed to other applications to be changed or augmented with other data items related to the support case. The data structures or variable definitions used in this process must now be defined in the model. This tutorial uses the Structured Data type to represent the case data.

To start with:

  1. Drag the Support Case Data from the Data node


    Figure: Drag Support Case Data

  2. Drop it in the Collect Details swim lane


    Figure: Drag Support Case Data

Setting up Data as Output of a non-interactive Activity

The Support Case data keeps the information and makes it available for all activities in the process. The difference consists in the relationships between the support case data and the diverse activities. First, an instance of the Support Case Data needs to be created so it can be used by other activities. Init Data performs the object instantiation. In Enter Data the activity gives output of case information to the Support Case Data object instance. Then the activity Analyze To Solve uses the data (modified or supplemented within this activity) as both input and output. Finally, the remaining activities in the process use the same data element as the input data only.

To achieve this, you need to create data flows between data and activity. Then, you need to specify data paths for these activities.

So, let's start with creating a data flow between the data element and the Init Data activity

  1. Hover the mouse over the Init Data activity and select Create Connection icon from the flyout menu of the activity
  2. Click the Support Case Data. The output data mapping is created.


    Figure: Create Data Flow - Init Data and Support Case Data

Now you have created a data flow between an activity and a data.

Specifying Data Flow Properties

The next step is to specify data flow properties.

  1. Click the data flow


    Figure: Click Data Flow

  2. In the Data Flow properties panel, select CustomerOutData from the Output Access Point drop-down list


    Figure: Data Flow Properties - Output Access Point

Setting up Data as Input and Output of the Interactive Activity Enter Data

The Enter Data is the first activity in the process to interact with a human. The steps are similar to those used for the non-Interactive application.

  1. Hover the mouse over the Enter Data activity and select the Create Connection icon from the flyout menu of the activity
  2. Click the Support Case Data. The output data mapping is created.


    Figure: Output Data Mapping

  3. Hover the mouse over the Support Case Data and select the Create Connection icon from the flyout menu of the data


    Figure: Support Case Data - Create Connection

  4. Click the Enter Data activity. The input data mapping is created.


    Figure: Input Data Mapping

Specifying Data Flow Properties for Enter Data

However, as Enter Data is a Manual activity you need to provide additional detail, so that later, the Infinity Process Platform features can automatically render a user interface to present the data.

  1. Click the data flow created between the Support Case Data and Enter Data activity


    Figure: Data Flow between Data and Activity

  2. The Data Flow properties are displayed. Ensure that the Output Access Point is set to Default.


    Figure: Data Flow Property

  3. Click the Add icon to add a new data flow.
  4. In the Name field, specify CustomerID.
  5. Make sure that the Input and Output check boxes are selected.
  6. Specify Id in the Input Data Path and Output Data Path fields.
  7. Make sure that the Output Access Point is set to Default.


    Figure: Data Flow - Customer ID

Similarly, add the following data mappings for the Enter Data activity.

Name Input/Output Data Mapping Input/Output Data Path
CustomerName Input and Output Name
eMail Input and Output Email
ProductName Input and Output Product/Name
Synopsis Input and Output Product/Synopsis

The Data Flow is created as shown in the following screenshot:


Figure: Data Flow - Enter Data

Setting up Data as Input and Output of the Interactive Activity Analyze to Solve

The second human activity, Analyze To Solve, needs both input and output data mappings. The procedure is very similar to the one used for Enter Data activity.

  1. Hover the mouse over the Analyze To Solve activity and select the Create Connection icon from the flyout menu of the activity
  2. Click the Support Case Data. The output data mapping is created.


    Figure: Output Data Mapping

  3. Hover the mouse over the Support Case Data and select the Create Connection icon from the flyout menu of the data


    Figure: Support Case Data - Create Connection

  4. Click the Analyze To Solve activity. The input data mapping is created.


    Figure: Input Data Mapping

Specifying Data Flow Properties for Analyze To Solve

However, as Analyze To Solve is a Manual activity you need to provide additional detail, so that later, the Infinity Process Platform features can automatically render a user interface to present the data.

  1. Click the data flow created between the Support Case Data and Analyze To Solve activity


    Figure: Data Flow between Data and Activity

  2. The Data Flow properties are displayed. Ensure that the Output Access Point is set to Default.


    Figure: Data Flow Property

  3. Click the Add icon to add a new data flow.
  4. In the Name field, specify CustomerID.
  5. Make sure that the Input check box is selected.
  6. Specify Id in the Input Data Path and Output Data Path fields.
  7. Make sure that the Output Access Point is set to Default.


    Figure: Data Flow - Customer ID

Similarly, add the following data mappings for the Analyze To Solve activity.

Name Input/Output Data Mapping Input/Output Data Path
CustomerName Input Name
eMail Input Email
ProductName Input Product/Name
Synopsis Input Product/Synopsis
State Input and Output Product/State
Analysis Input and Output Product/Analysis

The Data Flow is created as shown in the following screenshot:


Figure: Data Flow - Analyze to Solve

Setting up Data as Input of the Interactive Activity Deliver Patch

Deliver Patch is also an interactive activity which needs an In Data Mapping for e-mail (allowing the customer to be sent a software patch in this example).

  1. Hover the mouse over the Support Case Data and select the Create Connection icon from the flyout menu of the data.
  2. Click the Deliver Patch activity. The input data mapping is created.
  3. Click the data flow created between the Support Case Data and the Deliver Patch activity. The data flow properties are displayed.
  4. In the Input Data Path text box, specify Email..


    Figure: Data Flow Property - Input Data Path - Email

Setting up Data as Input of a non-interactive Activity Notify Customer

  1. Hover the mouse over the Support Case Data and select the Create Connection icon from the flyout menu of the data.
  2. Click the Notify Customer activity. The input data mapping is created.
  3. Click the data flow created between the Support Case Data and the Notify Customer activity. The data flow properties are displayed.
  4. Select customer from the Input Access Point drop-down list.


    Figure: Data Flow - Input Access Point