Are you looking for a way to document business processes in Confluence?
No problem! You can document business processes with the BPMN and DMN Modeler for Confluence, which are two plugins available for free on the Atlassian Marketplace (BPMN | DMN). They are based on the bpmn-js and dmn-js projects by bpmn.io, and provide a feature-rich modeling experience right within your wiki.
I first encountered these plugins while working as a developer at a fintech company in Australia. We were building the next generation of the company’s core platform, and management wanted the entire system operation specified for two reasons:
- To identify architectural issues before commencing actual work.
- Because the only person who understood the current production system was the (genius-level) programmer who had coded it single-handedly.
We started specifying the system operation in Confluence using flowcharts, then found these plugins and started specifying it using BPMN. Shortly after, we realized the system documentation in Confluence was an executable artifact, using Zeebe to orchestrate microservices. The big reveal came at a company all-hands where I showed the system documentation and said: “And then we execute the system directly from Confluence!”
Using these plugins, you can embed BPMN and DMN models on any page at any position in Confluence. This way, you can bring together diagrams and textual information to enrich your process model with contextual information such as the corresponding process owner or referenced documents.
You can start modeling from scratch, or import existing BPMN and DMN files. All models are stored as attachments on the page. If you edit a model, a new version of the attachment is created.
When viewing a Confluence page, models are rendered directly on the page. From the page viewer you can enter full-screen view mode (handy for presentations or zooming into large models) as well as editing mode, where you have access to all the features bpmn.io provides, such as the symbol palette and drag-and-drop placement, to make modeling your process models as comfortable as possible. The export features of bpmn.io are fully supported and you can download your models as XML and SVG files with one click.
The larger the business, the more complex the business process requirements. There is an Enterprise version of the plugins (BPMN | DMN) to meet the expectations of a professional and business-compliant process modeling tool, as described below. The feature set is extended to improve the modeling experience while perfectly interacting with the embedded knowledge base.
Advanced modeling experience in the Enterprise version
The Enterprise version extends the integration with the Confluence workflow, adding support for PDF and Word page export, extensive version management features such as milestone tagging, changelog descriptions, and version restoring, and collaboration features such as mentioning colleagues.
The plugin’s paid plan allows customization of the user experience with individual diagram settings and preferences, and a connection with GitLab to sync model updates with a remote version control system. This supports both technical and professional users, with no need to switch tools and risk loss of information.
Additionally, technical attribute panels, token simulation, BPMN linting, and model comparison are all integrated.
The plugins take advantage of the expandability of the bpmn.io framework and implement XML extensions to enable the user to add links to other web content, interlink BPMN and DMN diagrams, and other attachments in Confluence. This allows the modelers for Confluence to seamlessly embed content and diagrams in the overall system of knowledge and resource management.
The Enterprise version follows Atlassian’s strategy to take their customers to Confluence Cloud. By 2024, all Atlassian customers need to migrate their products to Cloud or Data Center hosting as server support will stop. The BPMN and DMN Modeler offer an automated migration path from the free version to the Enterprise version, and from server hosting to Cloud or Data Center.
The Confluence plugins are available on the Atlassian Marketplace. You can download them there and try them for free, or you can check out the demonstration site and try the apps with no installation required.
The plugins are developed by employees of viadee Unternehmensberatung AG, a German IT consulting company located in Cologne and Münster, who support their customers in Camunda and software development projects.
They are continuously working on extending features and improving the applications. If you have any ideas or feature requests, do not hesitate to get in touch!