Why are Dell and HP struggling in the PC market? Smart phones and tablets are the latest trend! And quickly accessing BPM information on mobile devices is the next logical step. A while ago our product management team had to think about this market evolution.
Additionally, we were after a new solution for storing process and architecture models in vendor-independent fashion and efficiently publishing them also for the new generation of mobile gadgets. This means that a couple requirements had popped up:
- full compatibility with industry standards including HTML5,
- unlimited zooming ability using SVG (scalable vector graphics),
- presentation-quality of diagrams,
- cross-platform and cross-device (Windows®, Windows® Phone, Linux™, Android™, Mac OS®; iOS, Blackberry OS),
- cross-browser (Internet Explorer®, Firefox®, Opera®, Safari® and Chrome®)
- and last but not least: speed, speed, speed.
We carefully studied the related W3C standards, read many technical blogs, reviewed the first prototypes and discussed the results within our product team. And we finally decided to go for the Scalable Vector Graphics format, short SVG:
In the end our development team has delivered a COTS product solution which
- drastically reduces web traffic and the need for bandwidth – SVG file sizes are 10 to 100 times smaller than raster formats (PNG, JPEG, …); this is very important for mobile devices;
- offers continuous zooming of diagrams (no more need to reload scaled raster graphics);
- instant user experience when browsing huge models with zero-delay;
- has native rendering in the browser (no bulky and security-critical plugins like Adobe® Flash, Microsoft® ActiveX® or Silverlight®);
- permits to maintain an SVG shape library with Microsoft® Visio® or open source tools like Inkscape;
- has a unique reach of all imaginable target audiences on one universal platform.
The set of basic shapes employed in diagrams are stored in an SVG shape library. Each SVG shape type has a unique ID and thus is linked to its occurrences in the diagrams. Moreover, each standard shape can be overloaded by custom shapes for the delivery of client-specific graphics.
I didn’t mention the vendor-independent storage, didn’t I? Well, with BPM-X technology, diagrams and all their constituent entities can be stored in a repository. The really cool thing is that diagram graphics also reside in the repository as fully-featured SVGs! In this way diagram graphics can be quickly retrieved on demand and rendered on any device. And of course we have HTML templates and cascading style sheets (CSS) for client-specific adaptions.
By the way: We employ SVG not just as a base format for HTML publishing, SVG is also a great starting point for the creation of raster graphics required in web-based reporting or in Office formats such as Microsoft® Word®:
Having integrated SVG into BPM-X technology, I am now eager to see how HTML5 will help us to boost multi-channel productivity on major supported platforms. Stay tuned!