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Designing Efficient BPM Applications by Antoine Mottier, Christine McKinty

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Chapter 6. Using Data

The previous chapter showed you how to define who carries out tasks in a process. This chapter shows you how to define the data that is required for the Tahiti application. The BPMN standard does not specifically deal with data, but it is not surprising that you need data to make a process work. Data is the reason that applications and processes exist. Most processes require data as input and produce data as output. You need to define a data model that applies to all the components of the Tahiti application, not just to the processes.

The data model is defined as a set of Java objects. If you are not familiar with the concept of objects, do not worry about this. Just think of an object as a template, like a template for a document. From the template, you can create any number of documents, each one different but all following the same pattern.

Data Use Patterns

When defining the data model for a process or an application, you need to think about the lifetime of the data and where it is used. The answer to these questions determines where it needs to be stored.

Lifetime
Does the data exist before a process instance starts? Does it exist before a user starts the application? Does it continue to exist after the process is complete or the application stops?
Use
Is the data used only in one process or application, or in many? Does it have the same value in all cases of a process, or is it case-specific? Is it used by external information system (IS) components? ...

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