– A Proof of Concept Document by Christian Fillies
At Semtation, we are providing a Visio partner solution named SemTalk. It is an add-on to Visio which enables our customers to create Business Process and Knowledge models within Visio more consistently using the most popular notations. The major use case these days is to deliver process portals on intranet platforms, often driven by MOSS or SAP Knowledge Warehouse. The most popular scenario is a common document library in MOSS having some editing, approval and publishing workflows. Approved process models are published as Visio documents or HTML in the portal. The documents must be accessible to end users, filtered by meta data reflecting the role of the user in the company or, even harder, his status in a concrete business process. The actual rate of model editors using Visio to model readers is about 1:10 or less. Shipping Visio on the client side even as the Visio Viewer—lacking any programmability—is not an option in many cases. Even the publishing process, which is basically generating HTML, seems to be too much effort. Customers are asking for Visio based solutions which are more “database driven” especially in the context of MOSS.
Together with Microsoft‘s MCS team and the MTC Munich we developed a first proof of concept for a customer interested in Knowledge Management. The goal was to replace HTML generated from Visio / SemTalk by a more dynamic viewer compared to plain HTML Details at:Physics, SilverLight and Visualization…How Businesses Can Benefit!
Silverlight 1.1 is used to draw and layout data dynamically based on an implementation of Jeff Powers available at Flux Capacity It may be running inside a MOSS Web part now.
The typical situation in BPM scenarios is that we have a fixed set of master shapes for notations such as BPMN or EPC. The obvious next step is to extract XAML directly from Visio including layout and positioning information. This might be done using XPS as described in How to export Visio shapes to XAML and use it with Silverlight. After an export of all the master shapes, contained in a stencil, to XAML, it is straight forward to create a Visio style stencil in Silverlight, which allows also some editing. We have connected the Silverlight Control to a database, added some trivial functions for selecting and moving shapes, functionality to add and delete nodes and connections. All data is stored in a SQL database accessible via web services from Silverlight. Silverlight is pretty cool. You will be able to do many things you previously did with Shape Sheet programming in Visio.
For more information about Visio and SilverLight visit at Visio Shapes