Metastorm 9 : What’s new? (Part 4)


Server Administrative Tools

In v9, the tools are all web based so there’s no switching between v7’s System Administrator, Services Manager and Users and Roles, you have all you need in one easy access web portal. The management of your users, their subsequent project roles, your view into eLog (Designer Log > Procedure Errors in v7), repository management (your online and offline solution stores / Libraries in v7), authentication (eScripts etc) and services are all accessible via the Metastorm Administration > Admin Tools site.

This is a far better approach to essentially what is just updating tables like eServer, eUser, eRole, eAssignment etc

Forms

Well… what is new here? Not a huge amount actually. Forms still hold the same number of visual controls as they did in v7, however being .NET they do look slightly better, maybe even a bit fisher price. Grids are slightly improved in that you can specify the page size of the business object you are looking at and you can opt to turn client paging on and off (a space waster in many cases) . There is also a much needed snap to control feature that lines up the selected control with others already placed on the form, which certainly helps in terms of lining controls up (if you’re like me, you are a perfectionist at getting the form to look just right).

The availability scope of forms has changed however. Forms are now available accross a project rather than being confined to a particular process. You access a specific processes data via the processContext or processData business objects (See the ‘Other Business Objects’ in the Business Objects pane, one for each process). As far as linking your form controls to Business Object data you can drag variables from your Business Objects onto the form canvas to auto create the control (of that data type). Custom variables can also be manually added to the local form business object after the control has been placed on the form.

This new approach of using multiple Business Objects accross processes is far more flexible and promotes the re-use of a particular form as opposed to creating duplicates accross multiple processes like in v7 (honestly I found that practically common forms to be of little use) and on the flip side, the ability to quickly move to a form from the process is as easy as using an actions context menu (go to>form).

The mighty control dependancies (postbacks) remain of course.

A point re context menu’s. The new design of the Metastorm designer takes the ‘Office Ribbon’ approach to what options you have when designing a particular project object. For form design all of the standard v7 context menu options are available to you on the ribbons at the top of the designer, including alignment, sizing, spacing and component visibility order (front, back etc).

Jerome over at Process Mapping has a great selection of Metastorm 9 demo videos that include Metastorm Forms. A great resource for getting a feel for the new designer.

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