Posted in Information Technology

Comparing and Contrasting Open Source BPM Projects

Open source model (Community vs. Enterprise)

Every company supporting an open source project has its own business model. Typically, open source companies offer enterprise open source products as a way to generate revenue — you typically have to pay for the enterprise version while the community version (in general) is free. Camunda provides an enterprise version of Camunda, Alfresco provides an enterprise version of Activiti, and RedHat provides an enterprise version of jBPM. I have found that the definition of “enterprise” can be different for each company. It is very important for developers using or sourcing an open source project to understand what a company means by “enterprise open source” before working with it.

Capability set

Let’s start and dig into the capabilities of Activiti, Camunda, and jBPM.

A look at how jBPM integrates the Drools rules engine.

A look at how Activiti integrates the Drools rules engine.

A look at how Camunda integrates the Drools rules engine.

A view of the Camunda environment.

A view of the Activiti Explorer environment.

A view of the jBPM environment.

A view of jBPM from builder.

A view of the jBPM REST service task.

A jBPM REST Service Task configuration.

A view of the Service Task in Activiti Modeler.

A Camunda service task that requires further coding.

Contributors

Who contributes to the source code of an open source BPM project is important. An active community signals that a project is still being improved and enhanced. The number of contributors outside of the supporting company can also help indicate the degree of diversity in thought and ideas put into a project. Open Hub is one site that can be used to lookup this type of information. It provides details such as the activity, number of contributors, and commits. These are important factors to take into account. Below is an example Open Hub page for Camunda:

Summary

In this article, we’ve just briefly touched on some of the similarities and differences between the open source BPM projects Activiti, Camunda, and jBPM. All three have their benefits and the specific needs of your project will help determine which one is the right choice for you. The good news is, all three are viable open source alternatives for closed source BPM products. And their open source nature means they will continue to change and evolve over time.

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