Start Modeling Faster with the New Simplified Modeling Canvas

Check out our cleaner and more intuitive modeling UI, coming later this month.
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Process modelers and developers have to take business problems and translate them into efficient BPMN processes using a BPMN diagram. This can be a bit tricky as developers need to determine which action should be used for which type of outcome. If the information isn’t clear, you can experience delays or even process errors as diagrams often have to be restructured.

The last thing any company wants is a poor experience that can result in reduced motivation for continuous improvement. These problems can be more significant for new users, but also present challenges to BPMN experts.

Enter Camunda’s newly simplified modeling canvas. The updated canvas provides a cleaner and more intuitive user interface providing clear guidance for building your process definitions.

Existing modeling with Camunda

Modeling should be an enjoyable and straightforward endeavor. It can be even better if the tool provides helpful hints and recommendations to improve and simplify your overall experience. However, at this time there are many options available with Camunda Modeler that can cause distraction and even some confusion.

In the past, the previous modeler user interface (UI) often presented many action choices for users.

Previous-modeler-canvas

Actions like those below were always displayed:

  • connecting elements
  • changing element colors
  • deleting elements
  • changing the element type
  • adding text annotations

With this broad range of options, first-time or inexperienced users have to explore a wide variety of operations and then attempt to determine which one would be the proper operation to select at this time. Some of the operations simply update the selected element and that can also add confusion when looking to connect elements or add to the BPMN diagram.

This can lead to poorly designed diagrams, or even incorrect diagrams. Certain recommended features can be underutilized that could improve workflow design and streamline the process.

Modeler improvements

With the improvements made to Camunda Modeler, new users are presented with updated UX patterns they are already familiar with from similar tools. Hover-over text helps to guide the user through the icon popup to help them make the right decision for their diagrams.

Simpler-modeling-canvas-camunda

Combine this with guidance on common actions that can be performed, and users are immediately more productive. For example, on a user task, the addition of the “Link form” icon is added so that developers can easily connect the appropriate form to the task.

Simpler-modeling-canvas-modifyexample1
Simpler-modeling-canvas-modifyexample2
Simpler-modeling-canvas-modifyexample3

It is important to note that this improved UI is not just for new users. Experienced users of Modeler will also benefit from being able to model BPMN quickly with new swift access to all actions for the process diagram.

Now, as a user modeling a diagram, you can differentiate between actions that modify or connect elements and those that will append to the selected element. For example, it is simple to append the proper element at the suggested position by clicking a dot right on the right of the selected element.

When you want to append another element to an existing one, you can hover on the “+” sign to access the “Append element” context menu.

Simpler-modeling-canvas-appendexample1

Once you click on the “+”, the user is displayed with a menu of the most common appendable elements including a blank task, an exclusive gateway and an end event at the mouse position. With this, you can immediately start to append the proper element. You also have the option to search the Connector Marketplace by selecting the “Browse” button on the pop-up menu.

Simpler-modeling-canvas-appendexample2

For example, if I select to add an exclusive gateway, it will be added to the right and automatically connected to the selected task.

Simpler-modeling-canvas-appendexample3

These improvements will help accelerate BPMN diagram development and simplify the overall experience for new, novice and experienced users.

When and how can I expect to see these changes

The next context pad will appear above elements that are selected within Modeler. It will be split into two pieces:

  • Changes that can be made to the current selected element
  • Elements that can be appended to the current selected element

This functionality will be available with Web Modeler first. Keep an eye out for the ability to Opt-in to this feature this month with SaaS Starter and Enterprise.

Don’t have a Camunda account yet? Sign up for a free trial today and start exploring the newest features as soon as they arrive.

Notable Replies
  1. Is there any ETA on when these options might be available in the Desktop modeler?
    I have a handful of users that are just about to start using Desktop modeler, and it would be easier to train to where it’s going rather than train twice (once on where it is, and then again once its updated)

  2. @GotnOGuts we currently do not have a ETA on when it will be released for the desktop modeler, its first going to be rolled out to the web modeler. We do plan on releasing it for the desktop modeler just no ETA currently. When I have a firm ETA, ill come back and share.

Continue the discussion at forum.camunda.io

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