Configuring Activity-Chaining

If the completion of a task in a process requires the same user to complete a subsequent task, you can activity-chain the two tasks together in your process model. This enables successive form-completion by the same user by chaining the attended tasks together and creating a process wizard (similar to an install wizard).

CAUTION: Long activity chains - greater than 50 node instances OR 5 seconds between attended activities - are strongly discouraged because they have both an adverse effect on the performance of the system at scale and the experience of the user.

See also: SAIL Design and Build a Wizard in SAIL

Enabling Activity-Chaining

Activities, events, and gateways in a process model connect via a flow connector (shown as a line between them). In order to chain two attended nodes together in a process model, you must enable activity-chaining on their intermediary flow connector.

To enable activity-chaining between two attended nodes, right-click a flow connector and select Enable Activity-Chaining - OR - Double-click an intermediary flow to display the Flow Properties dialog box, and select Yes for the Enable Activity-Chaining option followed by OK.

A chain link icon appears on the flow connector between the two nodes to signify they are chained together.

Repeat this action for each intermediary flow between the first and last nodes in your activity-chain. Be sure to enable this option on Start Events if your process contains a Process Start Form that needs to be chained to the next node and flows that pass through unattended activities if they appear between two attended activities that also need to be chained together.

To give the activity-chain a label that appears above the chain link icon in the Process Modeler, enter a value for Label in the Flow Properties dialog box.

By default, users are not given the ability to step back in an activity-chain. To enable this option, you need to configure the Previous button to display on activity-chained forms.

Activity-chaining is not recommended for use with approval tasks.

Overriding Task Assignments

When an attended node is chained to another node, by default, the user assigned to the first node overrides the Assignment settings for the next attended node and is automatically assigned to that node as well.

For example, the image below shows lane assignments configured for tasks in the System Administrator and New User lanes. Normally, all attended activities within the lanes are assigned to specific user, group, or set of users and groups. When activity-chaining is enabled, the system assigns any subsequent chained tasks to the person who completed the first task; thereby, assigning the "Upload User Documents" task to the System Administrator once they complete the "Enter User Information" task.

If you want your process to maintain the task assignments, deselect the Override assignment… setting on the Flow Properties dialog box.

Breaking a Chain

Once a chain breaks, the next attended task appears in the user's task list (unless it is a Quick Task). To resume the chain, the user must complete the task and then click Next or Continue. Users cannot step back into attended tasks originally part of the chain before it broke.

Activity-chains can break in the following manner:

  • If the activity-chain starts with a SAIL form, and the user encounters a form that is not enabled for Tempo.
  • A process is paused while an activity-chain is in progress.
  • The amount of time between attended tasks exceeds the non-configurable limit of 10 minutes.
  • The number of unattended nodes that exists between two (attended) activity-chained tasks surpasses the (default) maximum number of 50.
    • Activating multiple node instances is a common process configuration that may reach this threshold.
    • Adding an attended activity with a simple form that says: Click to continue is one possible way to avoid hitting this limit.
    • Your application administrator can also raise the limit setting in a file. See also: Configuring Process Execution Properties
  • A user receives a receive message event, rule event, or timer event.
  • A user navigates away from an activity-chained form.

Impact on Confirmation URLs

Upon completion of a task, users can be directed to a Confirmation URL. This option is found in the Execution Options group box on the Other_Tab of the Configure Smart Service dialog box.

When a confirmation URL is specified for a task that is part of a chain, it is not displayed until the last activity in the chain is submitted (if different confirmation URLs are specified for each node, only the last is used).