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K2 Fundamentals

K2 BLACKPEARL 101: MODULE 1

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K2 BLACKPEARL 101: MODULE 1
K2 FUNDAMENTALS

CONTENTS

WHAT IS K2 BLACKPEARL? .............................................................................................................................. 3


The K2 Platform ............................................................................................................................................ 3
Workflow Based Business Solutions .............................................................................................................. 4
Workflow Based Applications ......................................................................................................................... 5
Empowers people to take ownership.............................................................................................................. 5
Empowers people to change and optimize processes .................................................................................... 6

WHY IMPLEMENT K2 BLACKPEARL?................................................................................................................ 7


Increase efficiency in your organization.......................................................................................................... 7
Reduce development and maintenance time and costs .................................................................................. 8

K2 TERMINOLOGY ............................................................................................................................................. 8
Workflows...................................................................................................................................................... 8
Processes ..................................................................................................................................................... 8

LAB – K2 FUNDAMENTALS .............................................................................................................................. 10


Overview ..................................................................................................................................................... 10

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WHAT IS K2 BLACKPEARL?
K2 blackpearl is much more than a simple workflow solution. K2 blackpearl provides the platform for a new
generation of users to collaboratively assemble dynamic business applications from reusable items. This
approach properly enables teams to more quickly create business solutions.

THE K2 PLATFORM
The K2 solution is built to run on the Microsoft platform. It is built on and is extensible through the .NET platform.
It leverages Windows Workflow Foundation (WF), Windows Communication Foundation (WCF), and Windows
Presentation Foundation (WPF) to deliver business critical applications. Designers are available within common
Microsoft technologies such as the browser, Microsoft Office Visio, SharePoint and Visual Studio. Figure 1 shows
the various architectural components of the platform, and how they relate:

[FIGURE 1: SERVER ARCHITECTURAL COMPONENTS, MICROSOFT SERVER COMPONENTS (BLACK), THE K2 BLACKPEARL SERVERS (GREEN,
HORIZONTAL), AND OPTIONAL SERVER COMPONENTS FOR INTEGRATION (GREEN, VERTICAL)]

K2 blackpearl comes with many features that help automate the development process. The list below includes
many of the available features that will be discussed during this course:

 Process Instance Management


 Activity Wizards
 Event Wizards
 Process Wizards
 Role Management
 Actions and Outcomes
 Dynamic Routing
 Collaborative Process Modeling and Designers
 K2 Web Designer

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 K2 Designer for Visio


 K2 Designer for Visual Studio (Visual Studio 2005 integration)
 SmartObjects
 SmartObject Service
 SmartObject Broker
 Microsoft InfoPath 2007 Forms Support
 K2 for SharePoint (Windows SharePoint Services and Microsoft Office SharePoint Server 2007 Integration
and Support)

Additional topics that are not covered in this course but are part of the K2 platform include:

 Wizards Framework
 Rules and Policy Engine
 Event and Notification Engine
 Accessible Object Model from WinForms and Web based Applications
 .NET Framework 3.0 Support

WORKFLOW BASED BUSINESS SOLUTIONS


Business solutions often require the interaction of multiple backend systems surfaced through multiple front end
user interface solutions. Effectively modeling these solutions can be difficult. Collaborative Modeling is the
leading edge of next generation business process management. K2 is the first to bring this paradigm to our
customers and partners. Collaborative Modeling allows for a ―Big Picture‖ view of a business’s processes –
allowing end users, business analysts, and developers to work together to address a broad range of business
challenges.

[FIGURE 2: COLLABORATIVE MODELING]

The K2 solution platform provides full life-cycle analysis and development of your business solutions through a
truly unique modeling experience that supports multiple interchangeable modeling canvases (Process Design,
Documentation Based, or custom) and modeling tools (AJAX-based Web Designer, Visual Studio 2005 or
Microsoft Visio 2007). K2 ensures that the core process definition is the same regardless of the canvas or tool

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used to model the process. By abstracting the view information from the process definition, the result is a solution
platform that allows each participant in the process modeling experience, regardless of role (such as Business
User, Developer, Administrator) to use the modeling canvas and tool with which they are most comfortable. The
K2 process modeling life cycle will likely involve multiple participants using multiple modeling canvases from
multiple modeling tools; while all remaining in sync and producing a common process definition output.

WORKFLOW BASED APPLICATIONS


K2 blackpearl is an application that utilizes the Windows Workflow Foundation (WF) to provide a robust solution
platform; much the same way as Microsoft Office SharePoint Server 2007 is an application that utilizes the
ASP.NET Web Part Framework to provide a robust solution platform.

By abstracting the Workflow Foundation into a business-friendly process designer, K2 blackpearl can graphically
reflect entity relationships and processes. Once a workflow is created, K2 blackpearl can also manage any
associated scheduling of tasks.

[FIGURE 3: DYNAMIC BUSINESS APPLICATIONS BUILT ON REUSABLE ITEMS]

EMPOWERS PEOPLE TO TAKE OWNERSHIP


K2 blackpearl empowers users of all skill levels to take ownership of processes they are currently participating in
and automate them. K2 blackpearl provides a wide array of design tools to allow disparate stakeholders with
diverse backgrounds to actively participate in the creation of dynamic business applications. With K2 blackpearl,
anyone can participate in the design and creation of business processes, reports, and forms. They can even re-
use existing components to rapidly assemble applications that help drive business.

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[FIGURE 4: THE SPECTRUM OF COLLABORATION IN ASSEMBLING DYNAMIC BUSINESS APPLICATIONS]

EMPOWERS PEOPLE TO CHANGE AND OPTIMIZE PROCESSES


Building applications today typically requires the following steps:

 User Specifications
 Forms Development
 2nd tier code development (such as assemblies/COM components)
 Database Development (such as tables, stored procedures)
 Admin Code (such as user rights, lookups)
 Reports
 User Sign Off
 QA and Testing
 Deployment
 Training

At a minimum, it can take four to twelve weeks to build a software solution. Immediately after the solution is
released, the developers are bombarded with change requests; ―I don’t need this field, I need this one,‖ and, ―This
report needs to look like this.‖

IT staffs are often charged with the daunting responsibility of managing these complexities, providing flexible tools
that help specialists do their work, and providing a means to allow for effective communication between all
involved parties. They are asked to create applications that interact flawlessly with people, existing software, and
a myriad of business systems.

Non-technical specialists require these applications — often quickly — but they don’t have the time or the
expertise to build their own. More often than not, they also maintain unrealistic expectations surrounding the
development and delivery of such solutions. Because of this non-technical gap, they must make sure their visions

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are communicated perfectly to the IT staff. If the gap is successfully navigated, IT must then translate that vision
into a technical solution, and begin building an acceptable application. Keep in mind that various departments
and geographically dispersed offices within the business may be similar but not the same. Unsaid or implied
requirements cause delays, and stakeholders are left to cross their fingers and wait for a solution.

WHY IMPLEMENT K2 BLACKPEARL?


Implementing K2 blackpearl will dramatically speed up the development, deployment, and management of
business process. K2 blackpearl can remove the IT bottleneck, allowing many common development features to
be shared among a selection of non-technical users. This in turn, removes the need for the many to be handled
by a select few.

INCREASE EFFICIENCY IN YOUR ORGANIZATION


With K2 blackpearl, developers and users can work collaboratively on a business process rather than waste time
on the complexities of integration and development. These complexities are some of the most common problems
that plague the development cycle.

The K2 blackpearl platform is intended for this new generation of business and technical users who want the
ability to actively collaborate with each other in assembling dynamic business applications more quickly, with
more agility, and with greater quality than previously possible.

[FIGURE 5: ENABLING THE BUSINESS USER AND TECHNICAL USER TO COLLABORATE]

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With features such as SmartObjects, Process Wizards, Activity Wizards, and Event Wizards, users will find
developing applications in K2 blackpearl much more efficient, and easier to develop and manage.

REDUCE DEVELOPMENT AND MAINTENANCE TIME AND COSTS


Development projects often require performing common tasks over and over. Time wasted recreating assets that
already exist is immeasurable. Though many of these tasks are not challenging, they can consume a large
amount of time in the development process. Examples include taking an existing process for one particular region
of an organization and simply modifying the process to work for a different region. The process may be identical,
but the servers and databases used may be different due to the geography of the other region. The K2 Process
Wizard is an example that can help reduce the time and cost associated with customizing a process to a standard
set of business needs. Also, by using the Environment Library, processes can be deployed to different sets of
hardware and configurations by simply changing the deployment environment.

K2 TERMINOLOGY
There are several fundamental terms used throughout this course. In the following sections a majority of the
common terms will be discussed.

WORKFLOWS
A workflow is described as the automation of a business process, in whole or part, during which documents,
information or tasks are passed from one participant to another for action according to a set of procedural rules.
(The Workflow Management Coalition (http://www.wfmc.org))

In paper driven processes, work passes from one participant (or worker) to another by hand. The main benefit
was that work was delivered to individual people, and each worker in the process could assume that work was
ready for processing. Since the workflow was a process of manual steps, the workflow system would not forward
incomplete items in a complex scenario.

In automated processes, a work item or data set is created, processed, and changed throughout at a number of
processing points to meet business goals. Most workflow engines can now handle a very complex series of
processes. Any condition that can be expressed logically can be managed by a workflow system in today’s
business.

PROCESSES
A process is defined as a particular course of action intended to achieve a specific result. In the context of
workflow, the K2 blackpearl process is the logical representation of a course of action that must be followed. This
process is enhanced by line rule logic. This provides the business rule logic that will determine the appropriate
route the request or item will travel throughout the process in order to arrive at a successful completion state. In

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order to determine the next step in the process to route the request, the outcome of each step provides the input
data to the next line rule.

The process itself is comprised of a combination of one or more Default Activities capable of performing the
individual logic and routing steps within the process. Each activity may contain Client and Server events. A client
event usually enables human to system interaction, while a server event usually enables system to system
interaction.

[FIGURE 6: EXAMPLE PROCESS IN K2 DESIGNER FOR VISUAL STUDIO]

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LAB – K2 FUNDAMENTALS

OVERVIEW
This module is purely an introduction to K2. There is no lab associated with this module.

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