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BPM support via Activiti
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BPM support via Activiti

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The Activiti plugin enables BPM workflows on Griffon applications.

Activiti is a light-weight workflow and Business Process Management (BPM) Platform targeted at business people, developers and system admins. Its core is a super-fast and rock-solid BPMN 2 process engine for Java. It's open-source and distributed under the Apache license.


Upon installation the plugin will generate the following artifacts in $appdir/griffon-app/conf:

  • ActivitiConfig.groovy - contains ProcessEngine definitions.

A new dynamic method named withActiviti will be injected into all controllers, giving you access to a org.activiti.engine.ProcessEngine object, with which you'll be able to make calls to the repository. Remember to make all repository calls off the UI thread otherwise your application may appear unresponsive when doing long computations inside the UI thread.

This method is aware of multiple engines. If no engineName is specified when calling it then the default dataSource will be selected. Here are two example usages, the first queries against the default dataSource while the second queries a dataSource whose name has been configured as 'internal'

package sample
class SampleController {
    def queryAllActivitiEngines = {
        withActiviti { engineName, sql -> ... }
        withActiviti('internal') { engineName, sql -> ... }

The following list enumerates all the variants of the injected method

  • <R> R withActiviti(Closure<R> stmts)
  • <R> R withActiviti(CallableWithArgs<R> stmts)
  • <R> R withActiviti(String engineName, Closure<R> stmts)
  • <R> R withActiviti(String engineName, CallableWithArgs<R> stmts)

These methods are also accessible to any component through the singleton griffon.plugins.activiti.ActivitiEnhancer. You can inject these methods to non-artifacts via metaclasses. Simply grab hold of a particular metaclass and call ActivitiEnhancer.enhance(metaClassInstance).

This plugin relies on the facilities exposed by the datasource plugin.

For each configured processEngine the plugin will deploy all *.bpmn*.xml, *.form and *.png files that are found in a conventional location that matches the engine's name. For example, for the default engine this location is griffon-app/resources/activiti/default.


ActivitiAware AST Transformation

The preferred way to mark a class for method injection is by annotating it with @griffon.plugins.activiti.ActivitiAware. This transformation injects the griffon.plugins.activiti.ActivitiContributionHandler interface and default behavior that fulfills the contract.

Dynamic Method Injection

Dynamic methods will be added to controllers by default. You can change this setting by adding a configuration flag in griffon-app/conf/Config.groovy

griffon.activiti.injectInto = ['controller', 'service']

Dynamic method injection will be skipped for classes implementing griffon.plugins.activiti.ActivitiContributionHandler.


The following events will be triggered by this addon

  • ActivitiConnectStart[config, engineName] - triggered before connecting to the process engine
  • ActivitiConnectEnd[engineName, engine] - triggered after connecting to the process engine
  • ActivitiDisconnectStart[config, engineName, engine] - triggered before disconnecting from the process engine
  • ActivitiDisconnectEnd[config, engineName] - triggered after disconnecting from the process engine

Multiple Process Engines

The config file ActivitiConfig.groovy defines a default processEngine block. As the name implies this is the process engine used by default, however you can configure named process engines by adding a new config block. For example connecting to a process engine whose name is 'internal' can be done in this way

processEngines {
    internal {
        mailServerHost = ''

This block can be used inside the environments() block in the same way as the default processEngine block is used.

Configuration Storage

The plugin will load and store the contents of ActivitiConfig.groovy inside the application's configuration, under the pluginConfig namespace. You may retrieve and/or update values using


Connect at Startup

The plugin will attempt a connection to the default database at startup. If this behavior is not desired then specify the following configuration flag in Config.groovy

griffon.activiti.connect.onstartup = false


Dynamic methods will not be automatically injected during unit testing, because addons are simply not initialized for this kind of tests. However you can use ActivitiEnhancer.enhance(metaClassInstance, activitiProviderInstance) where activitiProviderInstance is of type griffon.plugins.activiti.ActivitiProvider. The contract for this interface looks like this

public interface ActivitiProvider {
    <R> R withActiviti(Closure<R> closure);
    <R> R withActiviti(CallableWithArgs<R> callable);
    <R> R withActiviti(String engineName, Closure<R> closure);
    <R> R withActiviti(String engineName, CallableWithArgs<R> callable);

It's up to you define how these methods need to be implemented for your tests. For example, here's an implementation that never fails regardless of the arguments it receives

class MyActivitiProvider implements ActivitiProvider {
    public <R> R withActiviti(Closure<R> closure) { null }
    public <R> R withActiviti(CallableWithArgs<R> callable) { null }
    public <R> R withActiviti(String engineName, Closure<R> closure) { null }
    public <R> R withActiviti(String engineName, CallableWithArgs<R> callable) { null }

This implementation may be used in the following way

class MyServiceTests extends GriffonUnitTestCase {
    void testSmokeAndMirrors() {
        MyService service = new MyService()
        ActivitiEnhancer.enhance(service.metaClass, new MyActivitiProvider())
        // exercise service methods

On the other hand, if the service is annotated with @ActivitiAware then usage of ActivitiEnhancer should be avoided at all costs. Simply set activitiProviderInstance on the service instance directly, like so, first the service definition

class MyService {
    def serviceMethod() { ... }

Next is the test

class MyServiceTests extends GriffonUnitTestCase {
    void testSmokeAndMirrors() {
        MyService service = new MyService()
        service.activitiProvider = new MyActivitiProvider()
        // exercise service methods

Tool Support

DSL Descriptors

This plugin provides DSL descriptors for Intellij IDEA and Eclipse (provided you have the Groovy Eclipse plugin installed). These descriptors are found inside the griffon-activiti-compile-x.y.z.jar, with locations

  • dsdl/activiti.dsld
  • gdsl/activiti.gdsl

Lombok Support

Rewriting Java AST in a similar fashion to Groovy AST transformations is possible thanks to the lombok plugin.


Support for this compiler is provided out-of-the-box by the command line tools. There's no additional configuration required.


Follow the steps found in the Lombok plugin for setting up Eclipse up to number 5.

  1. Go to the path where the lombok.jar was copied. This path is either found inside the Eclipse installation directory or in your local settings. Copy the following file from the project's working directory

     $ cp $USER_HOME/.griffon/<version>/projects/<project>/plugins/activiti-<version>/dist/griffon-activiti-compile-<version>.jar .
  2. Edit the launch script for Eclipse and tweak the boothclasspath entry so that includes the file you just copied

    -Xbootclasspath/a:lombok.jar:lombok-pg-<version>.jar:        griffon-lombok-compile-<version>.jar:griffon-activiti-compile-<version>.jar
  3. Launch Eclipse once more. Eclipse should be able to provide content assist for Java classes annotated with @ActivitiAware.


Follow the instructions found in Annotation Processors Support in the NetBeans IDE, Part I: Using Project Lombok. You may need to specify lombok.core.AnnotationProcessor in the list of Annotation Processors.

NetBeans should be able to provide code suggestions on Java classes annotated with @ActivitiAware.

Intellij IDEA

Follow the steps found in the Lombok plugin for setting up Intellij IDEA up to number 5.

  1. Copy griffon-activiti-compile-<version>.jar to the lib directory

     $ pwd
       $USER_HOME/Library/Application Support/IntelliJIdea11/lombok-plugin
     $ cp $USER_HOME/.griffon/<version>/projects/<project>/plugins/activiti-<version>/dist/griffon-activiti-compile-<version>.jar lib
  2. Launch IntelliJ IDEA once more. Code completion should work now for Java classes annotated with @ActivitiAware.


This project requires all of its dependencies be available from maven compatible repositories. Some of these dependencies have not been pushed to the Maven Central Repository, however you can obtain them from lombok-dev-deps.

Follow the instructions found there to install the required dependencies into your local Maven repository before attempting to build this plugin.

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