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Kuali Enterprise Workflow. Kuali Days – May 2008 Eric Westfall - Indiana University. Kuali Enterprise Workflow. What is KEW? The Building Blocks of Workflow Developing a Workflow Document eDoc Lite Deployment and Integration IU’s Kuali Rice Implementation Moving Forward. What is KEW?.

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kuali enterprise workflow

Kuali Enterprise Workflow

Kuali Days – May 2008

Eric Westfall - Indiana University

kuali enterprise workflow1
Kuali Enterprise Workflow

What is KEW?

The Building Blocks of Workflow

Developing a Workflow Document

eDoc Lite

Deployment and Integration

IU’s Kuali Rice Implementation

Moving Forward

what is kew1
What is KEW?

Kuali Enterprise Workflow is a module of Kuali Rice which provides a content-based routing engine.

Documents created from process definitions (Document Types) and submitted to the workflow engine for routing

Routing decisions made based on the content of the Document

It has traditionally been used for business transactions in the form of electronic documents that require approval from multiple parties. For example:

Transfer of Funds


Hire/Terminate Employee


Drop Course

Composed of a set of services, APIs, and GUIs

kew core features
KEW Core features

Action List (User’s Work List)

Document Searching

Document Audit Trail (Route Log)

Flexible process definition (Document Type)

Splits, Joins, Parallel branches, Sub processes, Dynamic process generation

Basic User and Group support

Can be overridden and customized to plug into Institutional user and group services

Will be replaced by KIM in the future

Rules Engine

Email Notification

kew core features1
KEW Core features

Notes and attachments

Wide array of pluggable components to customize routing by process, including:

Where to route document

Indexing of document data for searching

Email Notification Customization

Customization of Action List

Customization of Routing Rules

eDoc Lite

Framework for creating simple documents quickly

Will see more of eDoc Lite later

kew core features2
KEW Core features

Plug-in Architecture

Packaging and deployment of routing components to the Rice Standalone Server at runtime

Institutional Customization

Transactional Processing

JTA can be used for multi-datasource transactions

Can run in J2EE appservers

Can run in Servlet Containers

In non-J2EE environment, can use JOTM or other JTA implementation to provide JTA transactions

document type
Document Type
  • Document Type
    • Specification for a document that can be created in KEW
    • Contains identifying information as well as policies and other attributes
    • Defines the Route Path executed for a document of that type (Process Definition)
    • Hierarchical - children can inherit certain attributes from their parents
    • Defined in XML
route node
Route Node
  • Route Node
    • Represents a “step” in the routing process of a document type.
    • Defines the behavior of the document when it reaches that node
    • Examples:
      • Simple - do some arbitrary work
      • Requests - generate action requests using a Route Module or the Rules engine
      • Split - split the route path into one or more parallel branches
      • Join - join one or more branches back together
      • Sub Process - execute another route path inline
      • Dynamic - generate a dynamic route path
rule attribute
Rule Attribute
  • Rule Attribute
    • Defines how a Routing Rule evaluates document data to determine whether or not the rule should fire.
    • Also defines what data is collected on a rule.
    • An attribute typically corresponds to one piece of data on a document (i.e dollar amount, department, organization, account, etc.)
    • Can be written in Java or defined using XML
role attribute
Role Attribute
  • Role Attribute
    • A special type of Rule Attribute which allows for routing to a “Role”
    • When executed, resolves to a set of users and/or workgroups who should receive action requests.
    • Used to resolve Roles from external systems or databases for routing purposes.
    • Examples: Fiscal Officer, Dean, Supervisor, etc.
rule template
Rule Template
  • Rule Template
    • A composition of Rule Attributes
    • When a Routing Rule is created, it is created for a specific Rule Template and Document Type.
    • Defines what data should be collected and stored in the rule (via it’s Rule Attributes)
    • Also used to identify the set of rules to evaluate at a “Requests” Node
    • Can also be used to define various other rule properties (defaults, etc.)
routing rule
Routing Rule
  • Routing Rule
    • Evaluated against a document to determine who should receive action requests at a particular node.
    • Created against a Rule Template.
    • Rule matching behavior is handled by the Rule Attributes when the rule is executed.
    • Defines the users, workgroups and/or roles who should receive action requests should the rule fire.
    • Examples:
      • If dollar amount is greater than $10,000 then send an Approval request to Joe.
      • If department is “HR” request an Acknowledgment from the HR.Acknowledgers workgroup.
post processor
Post Processor
  • Post Processor
    • Receives events as the process is executed
    • Status Change
    • Node Transition
    • Action Taken by User
    • Usually used to “commit” the business transaction once all approvals have been gathered
searchable attribute
Searchable Attribute
  • Searchable Attribute
    • Responsible for extracting and indexing document data for searching.
    • Allows for custom fields to be added to Document Search for documents of a particular type.
    • Configured as an attribute of a Document Type.
    • Can be written in Java or defined in XML using Xpath.
kfs routing example
KFS Routing Example

We’ll discuss an example of a document routing in the Kuali Financial System

Using Disbursement Voucher document

Used to disburse funds (i.e., pay someone)

Since its real money, there are a lot of approvals and checks needed

But first, let’s look at the steps required to build and configure a document that uses KEW


Build the document

KFS uses Rice and the KNS to build their documents

Beyond the scope of this discussion

Can learn more about this at the KNS session

Create Document Type and Process definition in KEW

Identifies the route path of the document

Define Rule Attributes and Rule Templates

Defines what data will be used for routing and how rules can analyze that data to make routing decisions

Create Routing Rules

defining the disbursement voucher
Defining the Disbursement Voucher

Routing Process for Disbursement Voucher is defined as follows

Ultimately defined in XML and imported

rule attributes and rule templates
Rule Attributes and Rule Templates

Rule Attributes and Templates are defined for each of the “Nodes” in the defined Process

Account Review - a special Role attribute which decides who the Fiscal Officer is based on accounts attached to document

Org Review - an attribute which climbs the Org hierarchy when evaluating rules

Employee Indicator, Tax Control Code, Payment Method, etc. are defined in XML and use XPath to analyze document content and evaluate rules

using xpath for rule evaluation
Using XPath for Rule Evaluation

The KNS handles serializing documents to XML and making XML available to KEW

XPath expressions can be configured on attributes in KEW to evaluate rules based on this XML

Example: Campus Code



//document/campusCode = wf:ruledata('campusCode')



creating rules
Creating Rules

For all Nodes except Account Review, we create rules to define who the document should route to

creating rules1
Creating Rules

Screenshot of DV Rules

account review configuration
Account Review Configuration

There is a special type of rule which points to the Fiscal Officer Role for Account Review

Resolution of responsible parties is handled by Java code which looks at the account numbers on the document

route log of a disbursement voucher
Route Log of a Disbursement Voucher


Route Log

kfs routing example summary
KFS Routing Example - Summary


Can be simple or complex

Process definition is defined

Rule Attributes and Templates are Created

Rules are Configured

For more complex routing logic, routing components may need to be implemented

For simpler routing logic, out-of-the-box components can be used (i.e. XPath eval.)

edoc lite1
eDoc Lite
  • Sometimes you need integration to a big client app, with a sophisticated interface.
  • Sometimes you need simple documents, with simple routing.
  • The latter is where eDoc Lite comes in.
  • eDoc Lite is a simple, form-based system that runs entirely within a Standalone Rice Server, and can be created with no java, just XML.
edoc lite details
eDoc Lite - Details
  • Simple form creation and presentation
    • XML definition of form fields
    • Use your own custom XSLT for presentation
  • Simple validation rules
    • Regular Expression
    • Custom Validators
    • Required/Not-Required
    • JavaScript Validation
  • Security
    • Achieved through XSLT integration with KEW APIs
building blocks of an edoc lite
Building Blocks of an eDoc Lite
  • Every eDoc Lite consists of 4 pieces:
    • Field Definitions – defines what fields the EDL has, what type, validations, etc.
    • Stylesheet – an XSLT stylesheet that renders the EDL for the user
    • Document Type – defines the workflow process for the EDL
    • EDL Association – associates each of the 3 pieces above to form an eDoc Lite
edoclite summary
eDocLite – Summary

Makes creating a workflow-enabled application based on a simple form easy

No Java development required

No application to deploy

deployment and integration1
Deployment and Integration
  • There are multiple ways to deploy and integrate applications with Kuali Rice
    • Bundled – Kuali Rice software is “bundled” into your application
    • Standalone – a standalone server is deployed
  • In addition, when deploying a standalone server, the following client integration options are available, most relate to the KEW module
    • Embedded KEW – workflow engine is embedded into your application
    • KEW Java Thin Client
    • Web Services – for KEW and, eventually, KIM
    • eDoc Lite
bundled mode
Bundled Mode
  • All Kuali Rice modules are embedded into the client application, including the Web Application
  • Does not require the deployment of a standalone Rice server
    • Ideal for development or “quickstart” applications
    • This is not desirable for Enterprise deployments of Kuali Rice
standalone rice server
Standalone Rice Server
  • The Standalone Rice Server allows you to run a central Kuali Rice application that can be integrated with multiple clients
  • Facilitates a single KEW Action List, Document Search, etc.
  • Allows for a shared KSB Service Registry
  • Supports multiple integration options for clients:
    • KEW Java Thin Client
    • Embedded KEW
    • Web Services
kew java thin client
KEW Java Thin Client
  • Allows for a Java client application to integrate with the KEW module of Rice
  • Uses Java Serialization over HTTP
  • All workflow processing happens on the standalone server
  • If the workflow processing requires custom code (i.e. Post Processors), then plug-ins need to be developed and deployed to the server
embedded kew
Embedded KEW
  • Embedded KEW allows you to configure a workflow engine embedded in your application but still use a standalone rice server
  • This allows for the following:
    • Integration of database transactions between client application and embedded KEW (via JTA)
    • Fast - Embedded client talks directly to database
    • No need for application plug-ins on the server
    • Still a single KEW web app but scalability is increased because of multiple Workflow Engines
kew web services
KEW Web Services
  • There are a few web service endpoints that are exposed from Kuali Rice
  • KEW has a subset of it’s API available using this integration method
  • The KSB allows for exporting of services onto the bus using SOAP Web Services
  • In the future, we hope to add more web service endpoints to Kuali Rice
  • For example, KIM is being designed with web service remoting in mind
bringing it all together
Bringing it all Together
  • Leveraging the KSB and the previous examples, it’s possible to utilize multiple strategies for Kuali Rice/KEW integration and deployment
  • Examples:
    • Some clients running as Thin Clients
    • Some clients leveraging code deployed in plug-ins on the standalone server
    • Multiple servers deployed in a cluster for scalability
    • Some clients integrating directly with web service endpoints
    • Some clients running in Embedded Mode
    • Numerous eDoc Lite applications
indiana university s kuali rice implementation
Indiana University’s Kuali Rice Implementation
  • KEW Thin Clients
    • HR
    • ERA
    • EPIC
    • TK
    • SIS
  • KEW Embedded Clients
    • IUF
    • Travel (coming soon)
    • KFS (coming soon)
indiana university s kuali rice implementation1
Indiana University’s Kuali Rice Implementation
  • eDoc Lite clients
    • Office of Affirmative Action
    • Grad and Undergrad Course Remonstrance
    • Safeword Card Requests
    • OVPR Internal Funding
    • OVRPA Conflict of Interests
    • Purchasing Conflict of Interests
    • Student Information Systems - Special Credit
    • IU Health Center
    • UITS Unit Change Request
    • …and more on the way!
indiana university s kuali rice implementation2
Indiana University’s Kuali Rice Implementation
  • Institutional Customizations
    • Integration with our LDAP-based User Repository (EDS)
    • Integration with Active Directory for reading group and role information
    • Integration with our CAS installation for authentication
    • Custom component for authenticating with our Email servers (requires SSL)
    • Various shared routing components deployed in a plug-in
  • 24 x 7 x 365 (minus maintenance)
  • HTTP Requests per Month - 45,084,367
  • Users – 156,675
  • Document Types – 96
  • Workgroups – 1,610
  • Rules – 9,097
upcoming work
Upcoming Work

Version 0.9.3 of Kuali Rice is currently under development

Following changes are planned for KEW

Refactoring to forward all notifications to KEN

Remove legacy package names (edu.iu.*)

Add support to the KNS for defining workflow processes in the Data Dictionary

Laying groundwork for 0.9.4 tasks (module refactoring)

upcoming work cont
Upcoming Work, cont.

Version 0.9.4 of Kuali Rice will concentrate of reducing internal duplication and consolidating services

KEW will be retrofitted to use KIM

Numerous changes will be made to have KEW leverage the KNS

Remove duplicate Lookup framework

Rewrite Document Search as a Lookup

Rewrite Rule document to use KNS

Remove duplicate Notes/Attachments system

and more…


Questions from the audience.

Rice web site: http://rice.kuali.org

Eric Westfall