BonitaSoft announced the release of version 5.4 of its open source BPM platform, Bonita Open Solution. The latest release continues BonitaSofts’ crusade to democratize BPM by providing an easy to use BPM platform with features that rival commercial vendors.

Wait, Who Are These Guys Again?

The founders of the Bonita open source project launched BonitaSoft in 2009, and it didn’t take long for the company’s BPM suite to grow in popularity. In less than two years, Bonita Open Solutions has captured over 3,000 community members, a half-million downloads and 100 customers. Miguel Valdés-Faura, Chief Executive Officer and co-founder of BonitaSoft, attributes the rapid growth of BonitaSoft to their strong focus on usability. Valdés-Faura said,

Many BPM solutions are almost focused only on the process engine. The process engine becomes strong, but the needs of non-technical business users building processes aren’t met. It is very important to us to create an easy to use tool. I believe this is why people have so much interest.”

The Bonita CEO also said that many BPM companies do not consider that automating a business process may not be the last step of BPM for organizations. Applications are built on top of the processes in many cases. Bonita strives to make processes as easy to use as they are to build.

Ease of use -- BonitaSoft might just be on to something.

Usability, Interoperability Prime Focus

Valdés-Faura told CMSWire that version 5.4 is really a maturity release. The last few versions before 5.4 added significant new functionality. The latest release includes enhancements, but has a strong focus on stabilizing and streamlining the platform. Key concepts for the release are:

  • Consolidation and streamlining existing features
  • Cloud support
  • Ease of use

The latest release features an improved model that allows users to create more complex process diagrams and customizable forms and the ability to skin the Bonita User Experience BPM portal.

Bonita has re-factored the latest release to better support cloud-based deployments based on requests from the community. Version 5.4 is multi-tenant, which allow users to deploy once and support multiple organizations or lines of business without mixing data.

Platform usability was the impetus for a number of the features in the 5.4 release. Usability enhancements weren’t isolated to the visual aspects of Open Solutions; BonitaSoft also addressed interoperability. Version 5.4 introduces support for the new content management interoperability standard, CMIS. Inclusion of CMIS allows Open Solutions to act as a generic connector to any document management software that supports CMIS, such as Alfresco, eXo, Nuxeo and Microsoft SharePoint.


BonitaSoft connectivity interface

CMIS isn’t the only standard that Bonita embraces -- the company feels that support for standards allows customers to have an easier time moving to their platform, or if necessary, away from it. Open Solutions supports the BPMN 2.0 and can also import XPDL, BPEL and some proprietary diagrams into the modeling tool.

Up Next: Big Data

Although the BonitaSoft team made significant improvements in the latest release, support for “big data” will be included in a future version of the platform. According to Valdés-Faura, the team will be developing an Advanced Data Management feature that will make including large datasets in business processes simpler for users.

Getting the Software

Bonita Open Solution 5.4 is available for download. The company also released Tomcat and JBoss bundles; these packages make it faster and easier for users to deploy the software to these common platforms.

Have you had a look at Bonita Open Solution 5.4? Let us know your thoughts.