BPMN Method and Style Validation for Visio Premium 2010

Even though Microsoft introduced a native BPMN editor in Visio Premium 2010, I have continued to use the itp commerce Process Modeler Visio add-in in my training. For one thing, Microsoft for some reason based their tool, which launched at the same time as finalization of BPMN 2.0, on the outdated BPMN 1.2. For another, Process Modeler works with Visio 2003 and 2007 as well. Most importantly, it has my Method and Style validation built in, so in one click the user can see (and fix) not only violations of the BPMN spec but violations of the "style rules" I teach in the training. Without this validation, I would be spending 100% of my waking hours grading BPMN certification exercises. Native Visio provides only a limited form of validation against BPMN 1.2 spec rules.

Nevertheless, some client organizations insist on getting the training with native Visio 2010. A couple years ago I developed a validation tool that converts the native Visio file to BPMN 2.0 xml and then applies the Method and Style validation to the result. It required upload of the Visio file to a website and clicking the Validate button, but the implementation would appear to fail without warning if popups were blocked in the browser.

Fortunately, WebRatio has come once again to the rescue, wrapping the call to the AltovaXML engine on my website to a model-generated Java app hosted on their site. The URL is www.bpmn4people.org/vdxValidation. If you are a Visio Premium user, you are welcome to try it out. (And please report any bugs to me. It probably still has a few.) It only works with files created using the BPMN template from Visio Premium 2010. Those files must be saved and uploaded in the XML Drawing (.vdx) format, not the normal Drawing (.vsd) format. These files are large (several MB), so it might take a minute to upload and validate.

And let me just praise the good folks at WebRatio, and their remarkable tool, which generates database-driven Java web applications purely from a graphical model - no SQL, no Java or Javascript required. They did this one for me as a favor and it took less than a day. Amazing. Laura, Emanuele, Aldo, Marco... you guys are the best! Thank you.