Changing the Appearance of BPMN 2.0 Elements

Introduction

Sparx Systems Enterprise Architect provides a very rich modelling toolset for Business Process Model and Notation 2.0 (BPMN 2.0), which is increasing in popularity particularly amongst Business Analysts.

The BPMN 2.0 notation uses a common set of symbols, which have an icon to show their meaning, for example, the type of event that triggers the start of a business process.

Each BPMN 2.0 element has a set of tagged values identified by the label BPMN 2.0 in the properties dialog.  The value in thesetagged values affects the appearance of the associated element.

Enterprise Architect can generate Business Process Execution Language (BPEL) directly from BPMN 2.0 models. This code generation uses tagged values also identified by the label BPMN 2.0.

This use of tagged values results in a large number of them to choose from and for modellers beginning with Enterprise Architect, this prospect can be rather daunting. Sparx Systems have tried to resolve this problem by grouping the tagged values into sections, but it can be challenging to know which tagged values to use.

Business Analysts will not be using the BPEL tagged values and this article presents a tabular summary of just the tagged values, which affect the appearance of BPMN 2.0 elements.

This information is in the on-line help and user guide, it is presented here for convenience.

BPMN 2.0 Elements

Activity

The Activity element used on Collaboration and Business Process diagrams uses the following tagged values to change its appearance.

Tagged Value Group Tagged Value Name Values Effect
Activity activityType Task 

Sub-Process

Task – displays no “plus-in-box” icon 

Sub-Process – displays “plus-in-box” icon

isACalledActivity false 

true

false – displays normal Activity border 

true – displays bold thick border

isATransaction false 

true

false – displays normal Activity border 

true – displays double border

isForCompensation false 

true

false – displays no “rewind” icon 

true – displays “rewind” icon

Task taskType BusinessRule 

Manual

Receive

Service

Send

Script

User

Abstract

Displays the corresponding BPMN 2.0 Task icon 

BusinessRule is equivalent to BPMN 2.0 Conditional

AdHoc adHoc false 

true

false –displays no “tilde” icon 

true – displays “tilde” icon

Loop isSequential false 

true

Only takes effect ifloopCharacteristics is set toMultiInstance 

false – displays “three vertical lines” icon

true – displays “three horizontal lines” icon

loopCharacteristics None 

Standard

MultiInstance

None – displays no loop icon 

Standard – displays “counter-clockwise arrow” icon

MultInstance – depends upon isSequential

Sub-Process triggeredByEvent false 

true

false – displays normal Activity border 

true – displays dashed border

Gateway

The Gateway element used on ChoreographyCollaboration and Business Process diagrams uses the following tagged values to change its appearance.

Tagged Value Group Tagged Value Name Values Effect
Gateway gatewayType Exclusive 

Complex

Inclusive

Parallel

Event

Displays the corresponding BPMN 2.0 Gateway icon 

Exclusive will display icon only if markerVisible is set to true

When Event is usedeventGatewayType must be set to Exclusive

Event Gateway eventGatewayType Exclusive 

Parallel

Used with instantiate to indicate type of event, displays the BPMN 2.0 event-based (instantiate) gateway icon
Instantiate false 

true

false – “normal” gateway 

true – event-based (instantiate) gateway

Exclusive Gateway markerVisible false 

true

false – gatewayType set toExclusive does not display icon 

true – gatewayType set toExclusive displays icon (recommended best practice)

Start Event

The Start Event element used on ChoreographyCollaboration and Business Process diagrams uses the following tagged values to change its appearance.

Tagged Value Group Tagged Value Name Values Effect
Start Event eventDefintion None 

Compensation

Conditional

Error

Escalation

Message

Multiple

Timer

Signal

ParallelMultiple

Displays the corresponding BPMN 2.0 Start Event icon 

NOTE

Some of these values only make sense when the Start Event is used within an Event Sub-process

isInterrupting false 

true

Only used when the Start Event is used within an Event Sub-process 

false – displays solid border

true – displays dashed border

End Event

The End Event element used on ChoreographyCollaboration and Business Process diagrams uses the following tagged values to change its appearance.

Tagged Value Group Tagged Value Name Values Effect
End Event eventDefintion None 

Cancel

Compensation

Error

Escalation

Message

Multiple

Terminate

Signal

Displays the corresponding BPMN 2.0 End Event icon

Intermediate Event

The Intermediate Event element used on Collaboration and Business Process diagrams uses the following tagged values to change its appearance.

Tagged Value Group Tagged Value Name Values Effect
Intermediate Event cancelActivity true 

false

Must only be used forBoundary Intermediate Events 

true – displays solid double border

false – displays dashed double border

catchOrThrow Catch 

Throw

Displays white icon 

Displays black icon (only for non-boundary intermediate events)

eventDefintion None 

Cancel

Compensation

Conditional

Escalation

Error

Link

Message

Multiple

Timer

Signal

ParallelMultiple

Displays the corresponding BPMN 2.0 Intermediate Event icon 

NOTE

These settings depend upon the value ofcancelActivity and if the event is a boundary intermediate event or anon-boundary intermediate event

Pools

The Pool element used on Collaboration diagrams uses the following tagged values to change its appearance, for which there are no groups.

Tagged Value Name Values Effect
blackBoxPool false 

true

false – displays Pool as a “white box” ready to contain Activities and other process flow elements 

true – displays as a “black box” resembling a UML Class element

participantMultiplicity false 

true

false – no icon displayed 

true – displays “three vertical bars” icon

Data Object

The Data Object element used on Collaboration and Business Process diagrams uses the following tagged values to change its appearance.

Tagged Value Group Tagged Value Name Values Effect
DataObject dataInOut None 

Input

Output

None – displays no icon 

Input – displays a hollow arrow icon

Output displays a black arrow icon

isCollection false 

true

false – displays no icon 

true – displays “three vertical bars” icon to show data object represents a collection

Sequence Flow

The Sequence Flow connector drawn within Pools and Lanes on a Collaboration diagram uses the following tagged value to change its appearance, for which there are no groups.

Tagged Value Name Values Effect
conditionExpression Text entered here will display if theconditionType is set to Expression
conditionType None 

Expression

Default

None – usual form of Sequence Flow connector 

Expression – adds a “hollow diamond” icon on the non-arrow end of the Sequence Flow connector

Default – adds a “slash” icon on the non-arrow end of the Sequence Flow connector

Message Flow

The Message Flow connector drawn between Pools or elements in different Pools to model B2B communication on Collaboration diagrams uses the following tagged values to change its appearance, for which there are no groups.

Tagged Value Name Values Effect
messageVisible None 

Initiating

Non-Initiating

None – usual form of Message Flow 

Initiating – adds a “hollow envelope” icon on the Message Flow connector

Non-Initiating – adds a “grey envelope” icon on the Message Flow connector

Particpant

The Participant element drawn on Conversation diagrams uses the following tagged values to change its appearance, for which there are no groups.

Tagged Value Name Values Effect
participantMultiplicity false 

true

false – displays no icon 

true – displays “three vertical bars” icon

Conversation

The Conversation element drawn on Conversation diagrams uses the following tagged values to change its appearance, for which there are no groups.

Tagged Value Name Values Effect
isACallConversation false 

true

false – displays standard Conversation element border 

true – displays  thick bold Conversation element border

isComposite false 

true

false – displays no “plus-in-box” icon 

true – displays “plus-in-box” icon

Choreography

The Choreography element drawn on Choreography diagrams uses the following tagged values to change its appearance.

Tagged Value Group Tagged Value Name Values Effect
Choreography choreographyType Task 

Sub-Process

Task – No “plus-in-box” icon 

Sub-Process – “plus-in-box” icon

isACalledChoreography false 

true

false – displays standard Choreography element border 

true – displays thick bold Choreography border

loopType None 

Standard

MultiInstanceParallel

MultiInstanceSequential

None – displays no icon 

Standard – displays “counter-clockwise arrow” icon

MultiInstanceParallel – displays “three vertical bars” icon

MultiInstanceSequential – displays “three horizontal bars” icon

Participants initiatingParticipant participantA 

participantB

participantC

participantD

Clears the grey background colour from the corresponding participant section in the Choreography element
numberOfParticipants 2, 3 or 4 Creates the corresponding number of participant sections in the Choreography element
Participant A participantA Text The name of the first participant
participantAMultiplicity false 

true

false – displays no icon 

true – displays “three vertical bars” icon in the participantA section of the Choreography element

participantARef Selected Pool element Navigate to a Pool within the Project Browser and the name of the Pool (prefixed by <<Pool>>) is displayed in the participantA section of the Choreography element
Participant B participantB Text The name of the second participant
participantBMultiplicity false 

true

false – displays no icon 

true – displays “three vertical bars” icon in the participantB section of the Choreography element

participantBRef Selected Pool element Navigate to a Pool within the Project Browser and the name of the Pool (prefixed by <<Pool>>) is displayed in the participantB section of the Choreography element
Participant C participantC Text The name of the third participant
participantCMultiplicity false 

true

false – displays no icon 

true – displays “three vertical bars” icon in the participantC section of the Choreography element

participantCRef Selected Pool element Navigate to a Pool within the Project Browser and the name of the Pool (prefixed by <<Pool>>) is displayed in the participantC section of the Choreography element
Participant D participantD Text The name of the fourth participant
participantDMultiplicity false 

true

false – displays no icon 

true – displays “three vertical bars” icon in the participantD section of the Choreography element

participantDRef Selected Pool element Navigate to a Pool within the Project Browser and the name of the Pool (prefixed by <<Pool>>) is displayed in the participantD section of the Choreography element

Conclusion

This document aims to highlight those BPMN 2.0 Tagged Values used to change the appearance of BPMN 2.0 elements. It presents them grouped into tables according to BPMN 2.0 element type.

I hope you find this to be a useful and valuable resource when using Enterprise Architect for modelling business processes in BPMN2.0

By Phil Chudley

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