Export & Import mechanism in 8.3

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Applies to version 8.3; Author: Grzegorz Straś

toolbar en wycinekThe biggest and most important change introduced in WEBCON BPS version 8.3 is the completely revamped mechanism of exporting and importing processes designed with WEBCON BPS Designer Studio. This new mechanism almost fully automates the procedure of moving processes. More importantly, it will also export/import all linked processes to the same .ZIP file, preserving any links/references (SQL queries, JavaScript, context variables etc.) between the processes.

The new Export/Import system is indispensable when transferring process definitions between testing and production environments – implementing changes of any scale is very straightforward, keeping the environments aligned without the risk of making mistakes.

The export and import functionalities are handled by 2 respective wizards, which have been designed to be as intuitive and accommodating to the user as possible. Additionally, the power-user has access to a detailed import and export histories for each process, as well as backup panels allowing them to restore previous versions of a process with ease.

Export

This function exports the selected process and the chosen linked elements to a .ZIP file. Select the desired process and click Export process on the Designer Studio toolbar (Tasks tab) or click Export from the context menu (right click on the desired process).

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Note: A process may not be exported if it has been checked-out by any Designer Studio user. Make sure you check-in and save all modifications before exporting.

After choosing a valid save location and name for the process .ZIP file, the Export wizard will appear and guide you through the rest of the export procedure.

The first page contains basic information about the .ZIP file. The Name and Description will be visible during import and in the export/import histories. The Configuration database version is pretty crucial information that is worth paying attention to, a process exported from that specific version can only be imported on an environment with the exact same configuration version.

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The next screen displays a tree containing all Process related elements found by the environment analysis. Here we can view the elements that make up the exported process, and all other processes that it references (through SQL queries, JavaScript etc.). The Export column is used for selecting which linked elements will be exported to the .ZIP file, we can also see here the given element is referenced (Information column). By default, all linked elements will be exported along with the process.

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The process will now be exported to a .ZIP file in the given location. After the export concludes, the wizard will display a confirmation along with a list of all elements the were successfully exported. The wizard can now be closed by clicking FINISH.

Import

The Import function is also intuitive and almost completely automatic. In order to import a process in WEBCON BPS Designer Studio, click Import process in the Tasks tab of the Designer Studio toolbar, and then locate the .ZIP file containing a WEBCON BPS process.

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After selecting a valid .ZIP file, the Import wizard will appear and guide you through the rest of the import process.

The first page contains Information about the contents of the .ZIP file, like the Name and Description defined during export, as well as the package and environment database versions. The database version of the process from the .ZIP package, as well as the database version on the target environment must be identical for the import to be successful. If the database versions don’t match, the import will be aborted.

The table Processes to import contains information about the processes that will be imported from the .ZIP package:

  • Action – This column specifies whether an existing process will updated, or if the process imported process will be new in the system.
  • Process name – This is the name of the process that currently exists in the system. If the process is new, this field will be empty.
  • Source name – This will be the name given to the process after the import is completed.

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The next Configuration page is used to define which elements of the imported process should overwrite existing elements on the target environment. They include things like permission settings, data sources, form fields etc. If the process is new, it is mandatory to choose a site on which the imported process will be located.

A marked checkbox means the settings from the .ZIP file will overwrite those currently in the system. If we chose to not overwrite permission settings on a process new to the system (i.e. not an update) the permission settings will remain empty.

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After clicking NEXT, there will be one more confirmation window listing what elements will be imported and what setting will be overwritten. After verifying the items on the list, click NEXT one last time to begin importing the process and its related elements.

Once the import finishes, the wizard will display a report confirming that process was imported successfully. You can now close the wizard by clicking the FINISH button.


History and Backups

6-5From the context menu of a process (right click on a process) you may access 3 other new functionalities: Export history, Import history and Backups.

History is used to view when and how successfully the given process was exported/imported. It also contains information about the .ZIP files to which the processes was exported, and from which they were imported. You may also download a log from the given operation in the form of an .XML file.

If you ever find yourself in a pinch, Backups may come in handy. This function allows you to restore a previous version of a process.

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Summary

The Export/Import mechanism is a colossal functionality which eliminates the need to manually transfer processes from TEST to PROD environments, and vice versa. It is no longer necessary to recreate links and references to other processes/data sources, which not only speeds up the procedure of moving processes, but also minimizes the risk of making a mistake during transfer.

Small changes which used to be implemented directly on the production environment would cause inconsistencies with the testing environment – Now that transferring processes is easier and automatic, it will be much more feasible to keep the TEST and PROD environments aligned.

Backups guarantee a measure of comfort and safety, allowing the power-user to restore a previous version of the process if need be.


 

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