The Process Practice

Process engineering with the Eclipse Process Framework and Rational Method Composer

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Month: September, 2007

RMC 7.2 released today

25 September, 2007 (19:08) | Rational Method Composer | By: Peter

IBM Rational Method Composer version 7.2 was finally released today. Go here to see the official announcement at the IBM website. Key themes for this release were

  • to provide more presentation options for processes by integrating RMC with the Eclipse BIRT reporting technology that allows publishing in any user-defined format and layout supporting amongst others compliance scenarios such as a simple ‘print the process for our auditor’
  • to increase the scalability of RMC in respect to distributed team support by providing workspaces that manage method plugins from many different sources and physical locations
  • to provide a simpler UI for project managers to tailor a process for projects
  • to provide new and improved integrations with process formalization and enactment environments such as IBM Rational Portfolio Manager and Websphere Business Modeler.

This is the biggest update for RMC since its initial release. We are adding these key new capabilities to RMC, which clearly distinguish it from the open source EPF Composer 1.2 (which was released last month and updated with a bug fix release two weeks ago). I really like to thank all of my colleagues at IBM for their dedicated and passionate work to get this excellent release done and out in time.

Here a more detailed summary of all the numerous new features and key improvements (not a complete list):

  • Custom Publication and user-definable Reports with Eclipse BIRT
    • Publishing to document; alternative output formats include MS Word, PDF, and HTML
    • Create any kind of report on any information in an RMC method library
    • Powerful BIRT visual report designer (well documented, tutorials, and books available)
    • Easy to use for out-of-the-box with predefined report building blocks for RMC
      (33 report templates and 2 report libraries with altogether 43 data sets and 30 predefined tables)
  • Simplified Tailoring perspective for Project Managers
    • Specialized perspective in RMC for Project Managers hides many process modeling complexities
    • Provides simple and essential WBS-oriented analysis and editing operations
  • New modern and user-friendly look-and-feel for published Web sites
    • Newly designed modern and accessible UI for browsing
    • Pure Java Script implementation (DoJo); no more applets & frames required
      (backwards compatibility to 7.1.1 format still supported)
    • Deploy directly as WAR files to your JEE server
    • Alternative Search Engine support for web servers
    • Layout and style customization framework (skins)
    • Easy bookmarks and URL interchange
    • All pages show breadcrumbs
    • Show categorizations in content pages
    • Publish where roles, tasks, and work products are used in processes
    • Show tasks in Process breakdown in navigation tree
  • Distributed and organized Method Library Workspaces
    • Hierarchical and scalable organization of your method plugins
    • Method plugins in a library workspace can be distributed in many physical locations using many different source control systems
  • New diagram editor
    • Complete user-friendly reimplementation of diagram editors (Eclipse GMF)
    • Adds swimlanes, control flow labels, as well as free-form drawing and styles
    • Ability to save in gif, jpg, bmp, and other formats.
  • Improved integration with IBM® Rational® Portfolio Manager
    • Better support for iterative development: Merging RMC process changes into existing RPM project templates
    • Better support for governance:
      • Export of work product templates to project templates
      • Export of all role relationships to RPM: Primary, additional, and assisting roles
      • Export of RMC estimates to RPM project templates
    • Better scalability and bug fixes:
      • Every template can have its own base URL for published content
      • Import of predecessor dependencies / control flow into RPM
  • New Integration with IBM® Websphere® Business Modeler
    • Export Method Content and Processes to Websphere Business Modeler
    • Import Websphere Business Modeler business models into Rational Method Composer
  • Miscellaneous improvements
    • New ‘Extends and Replaces’ variability type
    • Element ordering in categories: order alphabetical, by type, or manually
    • Rich Text Editor improvements: Change font & size, paste plain text, paste from Word, add link/image in HTML view, HTML error markers and correction
    • Improvements for Configuration editor:
      • Fine-granular configuration of process by adding or removing categorized elements (e.g., add all elements categorized as CMMI Level 2)
      • Redesigned error and problem reporting UI for Method Configurations and Method Libraries
      • Highlight current view in configuration editor
      • Order configuration views
    • Process Editor Improvements
      • Activity indent/outdent
      • Suppress all tasks at any level
      • Allow multiple descriptors in same activity
      • Additional SCM support: Subversion
      • New platform support: Vista, IE7, Mozilla/FireFox 2, Eclipse 3.3

Deploying RMC 7.2 and EPFC generated WAR files

12 September, 2007 (23:14) | Eclipse Process Framework, Rational Method Composer | By: Peter

The new IBM Rational Method Composer 7.2 and EPF Composer 1.2 add the capability to publish to a .war file in addition to publishing to local file system directories. Such .war files can be deployed to a JEE server and contain a Servlet that implements the Web Search function instead of the Java Applet that is used when publishing to a directory. Using the Servlet has a significant performance advantage over the Applet when deploying Composer sites to a web server. You can deploy to almost any JEE server on the market that realizes the Servlet 2.3 (or higher) specification and runs with a 1.4 or higher. My recommendation is to use the IBM Websphere server, but you could also use a free server such as Apache Tomcat.

I was asked by some Composer users that never set-up a JEE server for some simple instructions on how to test this feature. The easiest way to do this is to download and set-up the open source Apache Tomcat server and use its Management console to install the .war file.

Step 0: Publish the .war file from RMC or EPFC
To publish a .war file from Rational Method Composer 7.2 or EPF Composer 1.2 follow the instructions in the online help for publishing a configuration. On the last (fifth) page of the publication wizard you will be asked if you either want to publish a ‘Static Web site’ or a ‘Java EE Web application packaged in a WAR file’. Select the latter and tick the ‘Include search capability’ check box. Then provide a ‘Web application name’ such a ‘my-rup’ or ‘openup-company-abc’. This name will be used later in the address to your site, i.e. will be part of the URL such as ‘’. Also make sure you specified a valid directory at the top of the page. This is were the .war file will be placed by Composer after the publication is complete.

Step 1: Download and install a JRE and the Server
First you have to make sure that you have a Java runtime environment set-up. We currently recommend using version 5. Hence, if you do not already have Java installed on your machine download this JRE from IBM (only runs on IBM systems) or this one from Sun.

Go to the Apache Tomcat homepage ( and download the core package for your operation system (e.g. this one for Windows). Unzip the archive wherever you want your server to be located on your machine. This directory is referred to as <tomcat> below.

Step 2: Set-up and start the server
Before you can start the server you need to do some basic set-up. It would be safest to read and follow the instruction in the ‘RUNNING.txt’ file in the Tomcat top-level directory <tomcat>\. The key thing described in here is that you need to tell Tomcat were it can find the Java runtime environment by defining an environment variable named $JAVA_HOME. There are several ways of doing that. (1) You could create a .bat file that contains the line ‘SET JAVA_HOME=<path>’ (replace <path> with the directory where you installed the JRE, e.g. ‘C:\Program Files\Java\jre1.5.0_12’) that you run from a CMD shell (Start->Run…->cmd) just before you run the server. (2) You could also define this variable globally on your Windows computer by right-clicking ‘My Computer’->Properties->Advanced->Environment Variables. (3) Another possibility is to directly add this line at the beginning of the file <tomcat>\bin\catalina.bat using Notepad.

Second thing you should set-up is an admin user so that you can use the management functions of Tomcat. To do that open the <tomcat>\conf\tomcat-users.xml file in a text editor such as Notepad. Make the following changes:

<?xml version='1.0' encoding='utf-8'?>
<role rolename="manager"/>
<user username="admin" password="admin" roles="manager"/>

You can select any username and password you want, but make sure that the user has the role ‘manager’.

Now you are ready to start the server. Depending on how you set-up your $JAVA_HOME variable either double-click the ‘startup.bat’ file in <tomcat>\bin\ (if you followed method (2) and (3)) or use a CMD shell to start it (if you followed method (1)). A new shell window will open and display various startup messages. Once, you read the message ‘INFO: Server startup in 2753 ms’ (with a similar time) you are ready to go.

Step 3: Install the the .war file
(I demonstrate the following steps in the ‘New and noteworthy in EPF Composer 1.2‘ video as well.)

Now start a Web browser and type the URL ‘http://localhost:8080’. This one should take your to the Tomcat start page. On the left click on the link labeled ‘Tomcat Manager’ in the Administration section. You will be prompted to provide the user name and password that you specified in the tomcat-user.xml file.

Once you are on the ‘Tomcat Web Application Manager’ scroll down to the ‘WAR file to deploy’ section and use the browse button to navigate to the .war that you created in Step 0. You find it in the directory that you specified on the last page of the publication wizard. Click on the Deploy button and wait for the operation to finish.

Step 4: Test your site and Search
Now you see you application listed in the Applications section above. The application name is the one that you specified in Composer’s publication wizard. Click on the name and it will take you to your site.

On your site try using the ‘Search’ and see if it works correctly. An EPF Composer published site will open a new window with the search results. RMC generated sites display the results in a nice looking panel on the right hand side of the same browser page.

I hope that these instructions worked for you. Check out the Tomcat documentation for more advanced set-up instructions. For example, you can run the server as a service that starts automatically when your systems starts as well.