History of GalaxiaTutorial

Version 20


Created by: Stephan Borg, Last modification: 20 Jun 2004 (08:52 UTC) by Stephan Borg
Workflow refers to procedures for processing documents, such as requiring an editor to review and approve a story.

Pre Requisites
  • Its presumed that you have basic programming knowledge including the assignment and use of variables.
  • Please note - the workflow system greatly simplifies the amount of work needed to create a workflow application. You will require very basic knowledge of PHP and Smarty, so do not delve too deeply and get discouraged.
  • PHP will be used for the coding part of workflow generation. If you don't know what PHP is, take a look at What can PHP do?. If you are unfamiliar with PHP and would like to learn more, its recommended that you read the PHP Tutorial.
  • Smarty Template Engine will be used for the displaying of information in workflow generation. If you are unfamiliar with Smarty, it is also recommended that you read Codewalkers Smarty Tutorial.


Tikipro, has inherited a Workflow Engine from TikiWiki called Galaxia. This engine is quite powerful and easy to use once the basic concepts have been mastered. Rather than give you all the concepts now, I will introduce them throughout the tutorial to help understand their use and context in the scheme of workflow generation.
Ensure Workflow is enabled on your website. If you have the permissions, you can visit Administration / Administer Packages / Features and check the Workflow feature. Click Change Preferences to save your change.

Admin Processes

Add or edit a process
The first part of creating a workflow is to create a Process. A process is usually the objective of the workflow. A process is defined as a set of activities that must be done to achieve some goal. Business circuits are mapped to processes to automate them. Be careful not to confuse a specific Activity with the Process. Some example Processes are:
  • Tracking Employee Holidays
  • Approval for department budget requests
  • Tracking a CD Library

To create our Test Process, open the Workflow / Admin Processes section of Tikipro.
You notice at the top of the page are 4 icons.
  • Image monitor processes - Shortcut to Monitor processes
  • Image monitor activities - Shortcut to Monitor activities
  • Image monitor instances - Shortcut to Monitor instances
  • Image monitor workitems - Shortcut to Monitor workitems
These icons are shortcuts to monitor other parts of workflow generation. For now know that they represent monitoring processes, activities, instances and work items.

In Process Name, enter the title of your process. As an example, we will do Hello World Process.
Optionally in the Description, enter a short description about the process.
Is active? indicates that the process is available for users. Leave this unchecked, as nothing will work while the process is blank.
Now click Create.

Uploading Process XML Files
Just below the Create button are Browse and Upload buttons. Later in the tutorial, we will export our process to an XML file which can be later uploaded here or used on other Tikipro installations.
To use, just Browse to your XML Process file and click Upload to create the process.

List of Processes
Once you've created or uploaded your new process, you'll find it listed at the bottom of the Admin Processess page.
Adjust the Find filter to find your process, if there are a lot of processes in the list - and click Filter to search.

Our Hello World Process should appear in the list.
The checkbox at the beginning is used if you wish to delete the process. Just check the checkbox and press the Delete button. If you do this now, be sure to recreate the process as shown above.

Next is the process name. Click on the process name and you'll find the details are entered in the form above to allow editing of the title or description. Also note the icons have changed as well as the errors shown below This process is invalid:. Don't worry about these for now, as we will get to them later in the tutorial. Click Update to save changes.

Next column is the Version. As you improve on your processes, you can create new versions to work on while leaving existing users on the previous stable version. Once you are convinced that the updated version is suitable for public use, you can make it the default process. All existing user instances of the previous version will continue to completion and not be affected by the new version. This ensures that your workflow functions correctly during upgrades.

Active indicates if the process is free from errors and available for public use.

Valid is a Image green or Image red circle indicating whether the process can be activated or not. This is dependent on whether it has any errors - mentioned above.

Lastly, the Action icons are shortcuts to administer the process's activities, instances and other components. These are:
  • Image activities - This is a shortcut back to the Admin process activities page.
  • Image code - This is a shortcut back to the Admin process sources page.
  • Image roles - This is a shortcut back to the Admin process roles page.
  • Image export - This allows you to save a process to an XML file for later uploading.

Click on the first Action icon - activities Image.

Admin Activities

Activities are actions that are performed during your process. A process can consist of many activities. By default, a start and end activity are created for you, but these can be renamed or deleted at a later stage. I'll define two other terms so you can understand their context later.

An instance is a particular process currently being executed. An activity can have many instances associated with it at any time. An instance is created when a process is initiated by a user and the instance will pass through the process activities until the process is terminated or completed.

A transition is the path between two or more activities. A transition defines what has to be done after each activity is completed.

Activities are broken up into different types. Here are two types listed below:
  • Image start - This activity type marks an entry point into the process. A process can contain many start type activities allowing for multiple ways to begin a process. Processes with many start activities are very strange but possible. Every process must contain at least one start activity. Instances are created when a start activity is executed. No transitions can lead to a start activity and only one outgoing transition is allowed per start activity.
  • Image end - This activity type marks the end point of the process. When an instance reaches the end activity the process is considered completed. A process can must contain only one end type activity. This doesn’t mean that processes can’t end in different ways. Since the end activity represents the process end, how the process ends depends on the activities visited beforehand. The end activity can have many inbound transitions but Outbound transitions are not allowed.
  • Image activity - Normal activities don’t have any special meaning so they are used to represent things that should be done as a part of a process. Normal activities can receive many inbound transitions but can only have one outbound transition.
  • Image switch - A switch activity represents a point of decision in a process. Instances reaching a switch activity are evaluated and depending on programmed conditions, the instance is routed to different activities. Switch activities can have many inbound transitions and many outbound transitions.
  • Image split - When two or more activities in a process can be performed independently in paralell - a split activity is used to split the an instance, routing the same instance to many activities. This allows an instance to be in many activities at the same time. Split activities represent subflows in a workflow. A split activity can receive many inbound transitions and can have many outbound transitions.
  • Image join - A join activity is used to re-group multiple instances from a split activity. When an instance reaches a join activity, it is verified that all other related instances have reached the join activity. At this point, the instance can be directed to the next activity. Join activities can have many inbound transitions (more than one is expected) and can only have one outbound activity.
  • Image standalone - A standalone activity is not part of the normal flow of the process and are not related to process instances. A standalone activity can be executed any time by a user with the right permissions. These activities are ideal for data management related to the process, listings, adding items, removing items, etc. If there is no order relationship between different activities in a process, it can be designed as a set of standalone activities. Otherwise a processes will consist of a route of activities and a set of auxiliar standalone activities. Standalone activities can not have inbound or outbound transitions.
In our first example, we will only use the defaults, start and end.

Add or edit an activity
You can see on our Admin process activities page, at the top is the shortcut bar, similar to the previous page. Below that you will see errors shown below This process is invalid:. We will review these later.

In the Add or edit an activity form, you are able to add new activities or by clicking on the names of existing activities, edit their properties. Apart from Name and Description, there is a Type drop down. From here, you are able to select different activity types as was shown above.

Next there are two check boxes.

Interactive: - Activities can be programmed or user interactive. Interactive activities are activities requiring some kind of interaction with the user and these activities usually present a form asking the user to fill information. After the information is submitted, the instance is ready to move on to the next activity. Automatic activities in contrast are executed automatically without any user interaction. Data manipulation and programming is the most common use of an automatic activity.

Auto-Routed: - When an activitiy is completed, the instance may or may not automatically route to the next activity in the process. Activities with the Auto-Routing setting activated automatically route the instance to the next process activity on completion. If the activity is not Auto-Routing, the user must send the activity to let the process continue. This can be used in activities where the user can edit information and review it many times before deciding that the activity is completed.

Next, there are two boxes in the section Add transitions. These two boxes allow you to highlight, what previous activities lead to the current activity and what activities can be reached from the current activity.

At the bottom of the Add or edit an activity form, there are the roles associated with this activity.

Roles: Activities are asocited to roles which define who can perform certain activities. Roles are defined at a per-process level and assigned to Tikipro groups. This allows simplified administration of particular activities and processes.

Process activities
In our first example, we will use just the start and end activities. In the start activity we will display our name.

By default, two activities are created for you start and end. If you refer now to the This process is invalid: section at the top of the page, we can see what is left to edit before this activity becomes valid.

The first line should say End activity is not reachable from start activity.

Lets start by editing the end activity. Note that the end acitivity is 0 in the list. The list indicates the sequence in which the activities are performed. In the Process activities list, click on 0 end (no roles). This places the end activity in the edit form.

You can see the details are entered into the Add or edit an activity form. The first step is to create a transition between the end and start activities and resolve the error. Once the start activity is completed, we wish to move to the end activity. Do this by highlighting the start activity in the Add transition from: list. As this is a end type activity, it does not allow anything selected in the Add transition to: box (see above). Click save to save changes.

Check the This process is invalid: section and you will notice one of the errors has disappeared.

Process Transitions
In this section, you can now see a transition from start => end. You can quickly add transitions from here using the two dropdown boxes on the right and clicking add

Look at the Process Activities list and notice that the start activity is now 0 in the list. Since we have edited the end activity to follow the start activity, the list has been sorted accordingly. Click on the start activity 0 start (no roles).

Look at the Add transition to: box and note that end is already highlighted and is a result of our previous transition setting.

Now lets refer to the next error Activity: start is interactive but has no role assigned. As the start is marked as an Interactive activity, we need to assign a role to the activity. In the Add role, enter testuser and press add role. You can see the screen update and testuser appears in the list of assigned roles. If you wish to remove an assigned role, click on the x next to the name.

At this point, I will introduce you to the rest of the shortcut toolbar at the top of the page.
  • Image invalid - This indicates that the process currently contains errors and cannot be activated or started.

  • Image activities - This is a shortcut back to the Admin process activities page.
  • Image edit - This is a shortcut back to the Admin processes page.
  • Image code - This is a shortcut back to the Admin process sources page.
  • Image roles - This is a shortcut back to the Admin process roles page.
  • Image graph - This creates a flow chart of the process in graphical form.
  • Image export - This allows you to save a process to an XML file for later uploading.
  • Image monitor processes - Shortcut to Monitor processes
  • Image monitor activities - Shortcut to Monitor activities
  • Image monitor instances - Shortcut to Monitor instances
  • Image monitor workitems - Shortcut to Monitor workitems

Click on Image roles to map a user.

Admin Roles

Admin process roles
Look at the This process is invalid: section and you will notice a new error has appeared - Role: testuser is not mapped.

If you look at the Process roles section of the page, you will see our testuser role that we created previously.

Below that, you will see the Map groups to roles section. In our example we will map a group we belong to our role. If you are logged in as Admin, your group will be Admins or Administrators - otherwise, it is likely to be Registered. In the left Groups list, select your group and in the right Roles list, select the testuser role. Click map to save changes.

List of mappings
You can now see an entry in the List of mappings. Shown here is the association between the group we just selected and our role. Notice there is only one error left.

Admin Code

Look at the This process is invalid: section and you will notice one error left - Activity start is interactive so it must use the $instance->complete() method.

Now we are ready to code some functionality. Click on Image code in the toolbar to begin coding.

Admin process sources
You will see a edit window with the start of a PHP script.

<?php and ?> signify the start and end of a PHP script respectively. If you've never programmed in PHP before, don't panic - its quite simple. Take a look at the tutorials mentioned at the start of this document.

Look at the Select source dropdown list - this is used to quickly jump to different activity code and templates. Currently, this should be set to Shared source which is a holding place for activity related common or library code.

Next you see the words Non Interactive - this indicates that the activity requires no user intervention and therefore does not display anything. If an activity is interactive, this will change to a template or code button to allow you to quickly swap between the two.

Lastly are the save and cancel buttons.

In Process activities you will see links to code and template for every activity. You can click on these links to jump straight to the relative code or template for modification.

From the Select source dropdown, choose start.

First thing we want to do is set some text to be displayed on the screen. Enter this in the edit window.
$smarty->assign('display_text', 'Hello world!');
You will notice that along the right side of the edit form are a number of links. These are coding shortcuts that allow you to quickly insert commonly used code.

Let me explain these two lines.
The first line $smarty->assign('display_text', 'Hello world!'); is used to assign text to a variable which is used in template. Here we are assigning the variable display_text with the words 'Hello world!'. You will see this used when we edit the template section.

The second line $instance->complete(); is telling the workflow, that we have finished the activity and are ready to move to the next actitivity - in our case end.

Press save when finished editing. Press template to edit the display template.

You will see a edit window with the start of a Smarty template.
{*Smarty template*}

Both {* and *} are used for comments in Smarty, so this first line is effectively ignored.

You will remember that in the previous PHP code, we assigned the variable display_text with some text. To display this variable, enter the following in the edit window.
{*Smarty template*}
Ready to display text: {$display_text}

Anything surrounded by curly braces { and } are checked by Smarty and modified accordinly. Smarty provides many different functions using this method. Check the Smarty tutorial at the start of this document for more information. Agin you will notice that along the right side of the edit form are a number of links. These are Smarty shortcuts that allow you to quickly insert commonly used code.

Press save when finished editing.

Look at the toolbar, and you will see two new icons - a Image green valid dot and an Image activate icon. These indicate that all errors have been resolved and by clicking on the activate icon, you will activate the process. Click the Image activate icon.

Starting an instance

Click on Admin Processes and you will see the two columns Active and Valid have now changed. These indicated that the workflow appears to be complete and is ready for execution.
User Processes
The User Processes menu item shows all available processes and their number of activities and current instances.
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18 Nov 2005 (17:44 UTC)
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