YAWL Visualiser

It aims to overcome current limitations of work-list handlers of the state-of-the-art in Process-aware Information Systems. These work-list handlers typically show a sorted list of work items comparable to the way that e-mails are shown in mail agents. Since the work-list handler is the dominant interface between the system and its users, it is worthwhile to provide a more advanced graphical interface that uses information about work items and users as well as about process cases which are completed or still running. The work-list handler proposed aims to provide process participants with a deeper insight in the context in which processes are carried out. This way, participants can be assisted with the selection of the next work item to perform. The approach uses the “diagram metaphor” to visualise work items and resources (e.g., participants) in a sophisticated manner. Moreover, depending on the “distance notion” chosen, work items are visualised differently. For example, urgent work items of a type that suits the user are highlighted. The underlying map and distance notions may be of a geographical nature (e.g., a map of a city or an office building), but may also be based on the process design, organisational structures, social networks, due dates, calenders, etc. The approach is supported by a visualisation framework implemented in the context of YAWL.

However, the framework is set up in such a way that it can easily be combined with other workflow systems. The ideas behind the tool can be beneficial for BPM practitioners willing to improve the way of executing processes in their own organisations as well as for researchers/technicians working on business process visualisation and human-computer interaction.

On-line resources

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How to download and install this component

In order to use the YAWL Visualisation Framework, one needs firstly to install some web applications in the webapps directory of Tomcat. Moreover, it is needed to enable this framework in YAWL, which is disabled by default.

The following steps need to be done on the machine that hosts the tomcat installation used for the YAWL Server.

Please click on the link below to download the installer that will perform some operations automatically. The only required information is to specify the webapps directory of the tomcat installation.

The next step is to enable the framework in the YAWL Resource Service. In order to do so, the parameter EnableVisualizer needs to be changed to true in the file webapps\resourceService\WEB-INF\web.xml as highlighted in red:

- <context-param>
  <description>When set to true, a button to show workitems via the Visualizer applet will display on user work queues (assumes the visualizer applet is available). The default setting is false.</description>

Once the framework is enabled in the YAWL, database visualization needs to be created in the local installation of PostgresSQL. The Visualisation Designer takes care of this operation. When the designer is launched the first time and the database is not found on the local machine, this will attempt to create the database on the local host.

At this point in time, the installation is completed. From this moment on, users can use the Visualisation Designer to create maps, define positions for tasks. Moreover, they can find in the standard work-list handler the button to launch the Visualisation Applet and, hence, take advantage of this new visualiser.

Please, write to m.d.leoni [at] tue.nl in case of troubles during the installation or usage.

The Installer The Visualisation Designer