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Extending the Camunda Modeler

Auxiliary resources for the workshop Extending the Camunda Modeler for Fun and Profit, helt at CamundaCon 2019.

Workshop Goals

The goal of this workshop is to integrate diagram validation into the Camunda Modeler and implement our own plug-in that contributes custom validation rules.

More specific, we set out to accomplish the following:

  • Install Camunda Modeler Linter plug-in
  • Create own Camunda Modeler plug-in
  • Setup for plug-in development
  • Create bpmnlint plug-in
  • Integrate bpmnlint plug-in with our Camunda Modeler plug-in
  • Write our own validation rules: No user tasks and external tasks only



  • You have an appropriate command line set up (NO cmd but something like git-bash on Windows)
  • You've downloaded the Camunda Modeler
  • You have Node.js (LTS or higher) installed
  • You have an editor / IDE suitable for JavaScript development

Expected Results

  • You can open the Camunda Modeler
  • You can retrieve versions of node, npm and npx via the command line:
    node -v
    npm -v
    npx -v

Step 0: Install Linter Plug-in


Locate the Camunda Modeler resources/plugins director (cf. plug-in search paths) on your operating system:

  • Windows: %APPDATA%/camunda-modeler/resources/plugins
  • Linux: $XDG_CONFIG_HOME/camunda-modeler/resources/plugins or ~/.config/camunda-modeler/resources/plugins
  • MacOS: ~/Library/Application Support/camunda-modeler/resources/plugins

You may need to create that directory.

Within that directory execute:

npx degit github:camunda/camunda-modeler-linter-plugin camunda-modeler-linter-plugin

As an alternative to the above command, you may download the plug-in from GitHub and unpack it manually, too.

Restart the Camunda Modeler.

Expected Results

  • The Linter plug-in is downloaded and unpacked to the resources/plugins/camunda-modeler-linter-plugin directory.
  • After restarting the Camunda Modeler validation controls show up when opening a BPMN diagram: Linter Plug-in Installed

Step 1: Play Around with the Plug-in


You got a local BPMN diagram? Open the diagram.

Activate the linting mode by clicking the lint result overlay and see how validation kicks in.

Expected Results

  • Linter errors and warnings show up on the diagram. Or your diagram is bullet-proof already! Linter Plug-in Enabled

Step 2: Create a Project Directory to Work in


The linter plug-in has a documented extension point to override the provided lint rules with custom ones.

We will create our own plug-in that provides our own, custom rules to the app.

To start, create the directory camunda-modeler-workshop and work from there in the next steps.

mkdir camunda-modeler-workshop
cd camunda-modeler-workshop

Step 3-7: Setup to Create your Own Linter Rules

This roughly resembles steps three, four, five, six, and seven.

If you are new to JavaScript and/or Camunda Modeler plug-in development, take this route.

After completing this step, jump right to step eight.


The linter plug-in offers an extension point to contribute your own lint rules. We create our own plug-in that uses this extension point to contribute validation rules to the app.

Within the camunda-modeler-workshop directory, download and setup the Custom Linter Rules plug-in:

npx degit github:camunda/camunda-modeler-custom-linter-rules-plugin custom-linter-rules

Setup the plug-in:

cd custom-linter-rules
npm install

Spawn the plug-in in development setup to automatically re-build it on every change:

npm run dev

Follow the development setup hints and link your plug-in to the Camunda Modeler resources/plugins directory via a symbolic link. This ensures the editor recognizes changes you make to the plug-in, as you develop.

Restart the Camunda Modeler to make it recognize the new plug-in.

Expected Behavior

  • The plug-in is checked out in the camunda-modeler-workshop/custom-linter-rules directory
  • The plug-in contains a .bpmnlintrc that configures our used bpmnlint rules
      "extends": [
      "rules": {
        "label-required": "off",
        "custom/no-manual-task": "warn"
  • The plug-in ships with a bpmnlint extension that implements a no-manual-task rule in the file bpmnlint-plugin-custom/rules/no-manual-task.js
  • Modeling a manual task in the Camunda Modeler triggers a warning: Manual Task Warning

Go to step eight next.

Step 3: Generate Your Own Camunda Modeler Plug-in


We'll create a new plug-in in the directory camunda-modeler-workshop/camunda-modeler-plugin-custom.

npx create-camunda-modeler-plugin custom

Alternatively you may clone or download the example plug-in directly from GitHub, too.

Next up, we create post download steps to install plug-in dependencies and spawn it in dev mode.

cd camunda-modeler-plugin-custom
npm install
npm run dev

Expected Results

  • The above steps completed successfully
  • The camunda-modeler-workshop/camunda-modeler-plugin-custom directory contains your modeler plug-in.

Step 4: Link your Plug-in with the Camunda Modeler


Follow the Development Setup hints and link your plug-in to the Camunda Modeler resources/plugins directory via a symbolic link.

Restart the Camunda Modeler. Open the developer console via F12. Create a BPMN element via the palette.

Expected Results

  • The Plugins menu shows a custom Plug-in entry
  • Inside the developer tools you see additional log output that a shape got added Developer console with custom log output

Step 5: Allow Rules to be Packed with the Plug-in


The linter plug-in offers a way how we can configure used linter rules and provide our own rules. Lets use this to get rid of the annoying label required rule.

Within the camunda-modeler-plugin-custom directory, install the bpmnlint-loader.

npm install bpmnlint bpmnlint-loader --save-dev

Extend the webpack.config.js as documented to use the loader to consume bpmnlint configuration files.

Create a .bpmnlintrc file, describing our configured rules in the client directory like this:

  "extends": [
  "rules": {
    "label-required": "off"

Replace your client/index.js file with the one documented.

Restart your plug-in development build

npm run dev

Go into the Camunda Modeler and reload it by pressing CtrlOrCmd+R within the development tools.

Expected Behavior

  • The label required rule is disabled in the Modeler No Label Required

Step 6: Create your BPMNLint Rules Extension


The Camunda Modeler linter plug-in uses bpmnlint under the hood.

To create our own rules, generate a rule extension project from within the camunda-modeler-workshop directory.

npx create-bpmnlint-plugin custom

cd bpmnlint-plugin-custom
npm install
npm test

This generated the extension in the bpmnlint-plugin-custom sub-directory.

Expected Results

  • The above steps completed successfully
  • The camunda-modeler-workshop/bpmnlint-plugin-custom directory contains your bpmnlint plug-in.

Step 7: Integrate Custom Lint Rules with our Plug-in


Within the camunda-modeler-plugin-custom directory, link the local plug-in:

npm install bpmnlint-plugin-custom@file:../bpmnlint-plugin-custom

Update the client/.bpmnlintrc file in the camunda-modeler-plugin-custom directory to enable the custom/no-manual-task rule:

  "extends": [
  "rules": {
    "label-required": "off",
    "custom/no-manual-task": "error"

Reload the Camunda Modeler.

Model a manual task.

Expected Results

  • The linter warns you when modeling the manual task Manual Task no no

Step 8: Go Wild and Create your Own Rules


A couple of ideas what to do next:

  • Copy the no-manual-task rule to warn on user tasks. We want to avoid them during black-box processing.
  • Debug rule evaluation, dig into elements that are being validated and the properties the BPMN meta-model exposes.
  • Can you create a rule that warns on all but external tasks for implementing work with the engine?

Plug-in Development Tips

  • Inside the Camunda Modeler, open the developer console via F12.
  • Press CmdOrCtrl + R within the developer console to reload the app. This will make it aware of any linked plug-in changes.
  • Use the debugger built into the developer console (cf. Source tab) to investigate the inner workings of your plug-ins.


This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License.

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