Insight over K2
I’m a certified K2 Developer working on building K2 applications across multiple platforms & technologies since 7 years, I’ve created this blog to share my experience and code samples that i have come across in my professional experience.
My intention for this blog is to help the folks who are beginners in working over K2 applications, so that it could help at least a bit as an addition to their knowledge.
Please feel free to request for any clarifications or any new POC’s that you are looking for so that i can put up a new post over them.
This is my first post. Let me begin with the history of K2 and its products.
K2 have started its journey in 1998 at Johannesburg, South Africa, with a mission & vision to make process automation easy. Since then K2 has grown into an award winning business Application Software which provides business process application solutions to meet any need – from the very simple to highly complex, on premises or in the Cloud. With K2 software, you can transform efficiency by connecting people, processes and data from multiple LOB’s together.
K2 have become popular by popularizing a term called Process – Driven application since 2008. When describing applications driven by processes, and originally referred to applications driven by their business process management (“BPM”) software i.e. K2 Blackpearl. The term has now gained wider acceptance and refers to any application driven by a process engine.
So what is Process Driven Application?
A Process-Driven Application is a software application that is driven by an underlying process or workflow engine where the process can be exposed and reused. In effect all applications are process-driven and the logic of any application can be extrapolated into a flowchart to represent the logical process of execution. Process-driven applications are a growing trend in enterprise solutions involving humans, systems or both.
Microsoft introduced the Windows Workflow Foundation (“WF”) which provides developers with the ability to separate application flow from application execution. A Microsoft product to use this approach is BizTalk Server, where orchestrations represent the order of execution. Both technologies provide graphical tools to manipulate processes and can form part of a process-driven application. They provide the process engine required to drive the application.
Products of K2
K2 Blackpoint is for SharePoint users who want visual tools to build workflows and process-driven applications quickly — without code, without complexity. K2 Blackpoint has a powerful Office-style designer (K2 Studio) and a Silverlight-based K2 Web Designer that provides profound simplicity. Non-developers and business users can use K2 Blackpoint to create new SharePoint workflows that span libraries, sites, InfoPath forms, server farms and organizations; manage approvals; and route documents and list items. With K2 Blackpoint, everything is visual and wizard-driven, everything can be built without code, and users can assemble new applications from information that already exists.
Powered by MS SQL Server and .Net framework, the Content Management System was developed to fit the customer’s requirement specifications including version control, workflow integration, dynamic data streaming and hit analysis reports. SmartObjects (reusable business entities, like customers, invoices, etc.) built with K2 connect for SAP can be used and reused within K2 processes, .NET-based applications, Microsoft Office SharePoint Server, and any other application that can consume Web services.
K2 Blackpearl (First/earlier version name is K2.Net 2003) is an application that utilizes the Windows Workflow Foundation (WF) to provide a robust solution platform; much the same way as Microsoft Office SharePoint Server 2007 is an application that utilizes the ASP.NET Web Part Framework to provide a robust solution platform. By abstracting the Workflow Foundation into a business-friendly process designer, K2 Blackpearl can graphically reflect entity relationships and processes. Once a workflow is created, K2 Blackpearl can also manage any associated scheduling of tasks.
Because of its ease in integrating with other Microsoft technologies K2 Blackpearl have become most popular BPM tool currently
Below are the list of Components in K2 Blackpearl that play a vital role in application
Workflows are nothing but a set of activities or events together configured with some rules to define a particular process for achieving a task.
SmartObjects play a central role in K2 Blackpearl application design and reporting by aggregating business data in a single entity. This eliminates the need for developers to configure separate connections to different backend systems which, in turn, allows users and decision makers to evaluate business data more effectively. The purpose of designing and using SmartObjects, otherwise known as Business Entities, is not to create a secondary storage to replicate the data in other systems, but to provide a way to work with the information as it exists within the respective systems.
Smart forms are the browser based user interface’s used to capture the data/information from the end users and interact with multiple LOB’s for retrieving and saving data. K2 provides a browser based tool called K2Designer to design & develop SmartForms which provide a drag and drop utilities which helps in faster development.
SmartForms doesn’t requires any code to be written, it has rules that needs to be configured which makes it so simple to develop even for the users with less technical experience.
K2 Blackpearl Tools
- K2 for Visual Studio
This is plugin comes with in Microsoft Visual studio with K2 Blackpearl installation. This can be used to develop Workflows & SmartObjects.
- K2 Studio
This is a K2 client utility tool which will be used to develop Workflows & SmartObjects.
- K2 Designer (Web Based)
This is a web based utility used to design and develop smart forms & smart objects & Workflows.
- K2 SmartObject Service Tester
Used to Create and test and Smart Objects
- K2 for Sharepoint
A K2 plugin for Sharepoint used to create workflows and SmartObjects with in Sharepoint.
- K2 Workspace (web based)
Used for tracking the workflows and its instances, User tasks, Process Monitoring, Error Reports, Process performance reports, User management, Role Management, Process rights, Server rights and many more. This is acts as a heart for K2 Blackpearl application.
- K2 package & Deployment tool
Used to deploy the smartforms, smartobjects, workflows across servers.
Links to refer for more information