On initial tooling around, I didn't notice any speed-specific enhancements within the designer. But when I started the process engine and put it to the test, I discovered a noticeable reduction in lag time during processing. It turns out ProcessMaker engineers have been busy tuning the underlying codebase. They've also updated to PHP 5.2.10 to help eke out performance gains. (Note that PHP 5.4 is not yet supported.)
I also appreciated new Linux command-line options to back up and restore large (2GB plus) workspaces. (A workspace is essentially a container for a group of processes and their data.) These commands sidestep automation glitches by compressing and splitting the storage file into digestible bites automatically.
ProcessMaker can create Adobe PDF files and send emails during process runs. Previously, creating large PDFs using the HTML2PDF generator was problematic; anything more than six pages was a no-go. Fortunately, the introduction of the TCPDF PHP class in version 2.5 eliminates the problem. In addition, email notifications have been bolstered. You can now configure them across most any portion of a process to keep users in the loop.
In BPM, it's important to be able to keep your processes running smoothly. To that end, ProcessMaker offers real-time activity monitoring through easy-to-configure dashboards. Users and admins are able to drill into cases and processes to isolate bottlenecks.
To be sure, ProcessMaker's tools for process monitoring and optimization are not as extensive as the KPIs or lifecycle management tools found in high-end BPM solutions. There's no battery of BAM and BI complements in tow, nor does ProcessMaker include BPMN 2 modeling, process validation or debugging, or support for advanced object types.
But a small number of for-pay enterprise plug-ins and connectors can take up some of the slack. For instance, you'll find connectors to the Pentaho BI Suite for reporting, to Knowledgetree DMS for document management, and to LDAP/Active Directory to simplify user management, while Microsoft Outlook and SharePoint integration bring document workspace management into the fold.
Finally, with a baseline price tag of free, ProcessMaker offers a cost-effective approach to implementing approval-based workflow management that's hard to beat.
This article, "ProcessMaker 2.5: Open source workflow made faster, simpler," was originally published at InfoWorld.com. Follow the latest developments in open source at InfoWorld.com. For the latest business technology news, follow InfoWorld.com on Twitter.