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OVERVIEW

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Open Source document Workflows

TOBFlow is a very versatile and easy-to-use application to generate and use collaborative applications on intranet/Internet. It is available in Open Source under a GPLv3 licence. Its webpage engine enables users to process very straightforward forms as the stages of the workflow progress. The object models (form, workflow and lists) can be created directly in XML or by using a modelling tool in Excel VB. It makes an excellent tool for implementing workflows with forms that can be circulated to the various parties involved: incident handling, complaints, project sheets, etc.

Benefits:

  • single environment that handles forms, workflows and access lists (views) at the same time;
  • simple, structured modelling that can be produced by non-specialists;
  • ability to create user-friendly forms, with multiple overlapping pages (tabs) and views (lists) that provide access to other objects;
  • simple, logical interface giving users direct access to what concerns them;
  • ability to create interfaces easily (settings in XML) to other applications such as ERPs;
  • compliance with J2EE standards and straightforward insertion into the company’s intranet;
  • application that can be installed easily and inexpensively (Open Source licence);
  • designed and supported by our partner Audaxis, who have a high level of development expertise with Open Source applicative software in ERP, CRM, BI and content management.

As a result of its design and versatility, TOBFlow makes it possible to quickly implement operational or management processes supported by intranet workflows.

Architecture

TOBFlow includes a modelling section and an engine section. The former is for describing the forms, workflow stages and relationship between documents, etc., while the latter is for managing tasks and user rights and providing users with forms to be filled in.
In relation with its core expertise in Quality management, TWO Consult has created standard workflow models that enable documents, incidents, corrective actions, etc. to be processed according to the best practices of the trade.

Modelling

Modelling enables the designer of a workflow application to describe the objects in the application, by defining the following items:

  • the content and interface: defining the information, designing forms (controls, titles, fields, validations), describing the access views;
  • the links to other objects with which they interact (for example, actions are undertaken following an incident);
  • the process that defines the lifecycle of the objects: the flow of activities to be carried out by the various parties involved, including generating e-mails, defining access and modification rights (in other words who can do what at each stage in the life of the form), etc.

The modelling can be prepared directly in XML, or by using an Excel VB application linked to an Access or other database. Users use graphics to define the stages in the workflow and draw the form, add the fields and methods of entering data: scrolling lists, radio buttons, etc. This makes it easy to model objects quickly without having any particular special technical skill.

The modelling program then generates an XML file that is loaded into the engine to make the application available to the parties involved.

Engine

The engine controls:

  • the content and progress of workflows: it provides each person with access to the tasks he has to perform (and from there directly to the form to be processed). This makes it possible to track the correct progress of the ;
  • the generation of pages to users based on the form templates or the access views, etc.;
  • the interfaces to other information systems (electronic mail, LDAP address book, ERP, CRM, OLAP) for sending or receiving information.

The TOBFlow engine developed in conjunction with Audaxis has all of the features of a software program based on the latest J2EE technologies: Open Source version (GPLv3), Services orientation, flexibility of platforms, etc.

Available workflow models

  • Incidents / Non-Conformities
  • Corrective and Preventative Actions, Progress, etc.
  • Audits
  • Review meetings
  • Navigation through the processes
  • Access to documents
  • Document management
  • Calibration
  • etc.

And with the experience of TWO Consult, other quality and business workflows can easily be created: customer complaints, supplier complaints, returns and credit notes, new products, etc.

Links

* TOBFlow: generation of forms and workflows, official website
* Sourceforge: download of TOBFlow