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Professional K2 blackpearl [Paperback]

Holly Anderson , Jason Apergis , Sergio Del Piccolo , Chris Geier , Codi Kaji , Shaun Leisegang , Igor Macori , Gabriel Malherbe , Jason Montgomery , Colin Murphy , Chris O'Connor , Anthony Petro , Eric Schaffer , Talley

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Book Description

Jan. 16 2009 Wrox Programmer to Programmer
K2 blackpearl and the K2 platform is a large, powerful, "game-changing" application platform built on Microsoft technologies. Understanding it from top to bottom would be a great task for a single person, which is why we have gathered more than a dozen authors to supply you with the information to successfully transform your company into a process-oriented, efficient business that can grow with the K2 platform.

Since this is the first book on K2 blackpearl, you will find a broad range of topics in this book, from the market in which K2 blackpearl is aimed to the architecture of the platform, from how to approach process design to developing your own custom user manager.

The first part of the book is meant for everyone and provides an understanding of K2 blackpearl and where it fits in the marketplace. It is included to provide a framework for thinking about various aspects of process-driven applications, including how they differ from business process management techniques; identifying processes in your company to automate, the different pieces that make up a process; measuring the success of your efforts; and finally shifting your company's culture in the direction of process efficiency. This section may be the only section you need to read if you are sponsoring a process improvement effort in your company. If you are responsible for leading the effort, make sure to read Chapters 3 and 4.

The other parts are meant to provide details on how to effectively deploy and use K2 blackpearl and include a broad range of topics. Read what you are most interested in, but also make sure to read Chapter 8, which will give you a great foundation to start designing processes with K2 blackpearl. Chapter 14 is also recommended for everyone because it provides an overview of the available K2 Designers and how you can share projects among them.

If you are a developer, you may be tempted to flip through the book looking for code, and you will find some, but we also recommend reading much of the rest of the book to learn how the API and the K2 platform extensions fit within the overall process-driven application environment. Pay particular attention to Chapter 22 and the Appendix, which may save you hours of coding or give you a no-code solution to something that you may have thought would take hundreds of lines of code to accomplish.

If you are an administrators, focus on Parts II and IV, but also take a look at the other chapters to gain an understanding of how your users will be using K2.

K2 blackpearl is the main subject of this book, although we devote an entire chapter, Chapter 23, to the add-on product K2 connect to give you an understanding of how to bring SAP data into your processes. We also talk a bit about K2 blackpoint, particularly in the SharePoint chapters. Since K2 blackpoint is built on the K2 blackpearl foundation, many of the same concepts apply to that product as well, but we do not point out the differences between K2 blackpearl and K2 blackpoint. For that information browse to www.k2.com.

We recommend that you approach this book in parts and perhaps read or reference each part differently. If you are working on a team, each member of the team may find one part more interesting to them than the other sections; that is expected and is how we designed the book.

  • Part I, “Introduction to K2 blackpearl and Process-Driven Applications”: The first four chapters discuss what K2 blackpearl is, how the applications you can design may or may not fit the business process management (BPM) model, how to go about identifying and designing processes, and last how to measure results and shift the culture of your company to a more process-oriented business.
  • Part II, “Architecture and Installation Options for K2 blackpearl”: Chapters 5 and 6 will get you started. Installing the K2 blackpearl components is a necessary step before you can start designing processes, so in these two chapters you will gain an understanding of all of the pieces of the platform, the architecture, and the supporting technology, as well as ideas on how to plan out your development, QA/staging, and production environments.
  • Part III, “K2 blackpearl Process Planning and Design Essentials”: Chapters 7 through 14 give you a ton of information about how to design, build, extend, and generally work with the main pieces of the platform. From a step-by-step tutorial on building your first process to how to share processes across the different K2 Designers, you'll learn all of what you need to really get ramped up. Pay particular attention to Chapters 8 and 11, which cover the basic things you need to know about process planning and the various concepts of process design with K2 blackpearl and then provide an in-depth view of the available forms technologies that you can use for user interaction with your processes. If you are particularly interested in SharePoint, make sure to read Chapters 12 and 13.
  • Part IV, “Administration of K2 blackpearl”: Chapters 15 through 20 offer an administrator's view into the platform. Things like disaster recovery, logging, security, and using the K2 Workspace for notifications, reports, assigning process permissions, and recovering from errors are all key aspects of the platform that you or someone in your company will have to understand. This section gives you everything you need to know and probably more, including how to build your own user manager to plug into the K2 platform.
  • Part V, “Advanced K2 blackpearl Concepts and Platform Extensions”: The last part includes Chapters 21 through 23, and these chapters are there to round out the discussion of the platform. You'll find information about using the Event Bus to surface outside events to the K2 server and a discussion of tailoring the platform and your processes to your particular needs by going beyond the default settings of the components that you learned about in Chapter 8. Finally you'll learn about the K2 connect platform extension, which allows data from SAP (and eventually any system for which a WCF LOB adapter is released) to be used within your processes.

There are some pieces of this book that you can sit down and read without needing a computer or access to K2 blackpearl at all, but much of this book requires you to have access to K2 blackpearl and the supporting applications as well. Whenever we talk about designing processes, we do so in the context of the K2 Designer for Visual Studio. To install this component you will need Visual Studio 2005. Support for Visual Studio 2008 may be available by the time this book is published, so look for that on www.k2.com.

For the server pieces of the platform, you will need a Windows Server 2003 environment (virtual or otherwise) and the additional components required by the K2 server.


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Product Details


Product Description

From the Back Cover

Professional K2 blackpearl®

K2 blackpearl enables you to quickly build simple to very complex and dynamic process-driven applications. This definitive guide gives you the tools to evaluate, architect, deploy, and manage the K2 platform and its processes. It takes you through everything from the market and architecture of the platform to approaching process design and developing your own custom user manager.

You'll first gain a thorough introduction to K2 blackpearl and process-driven applications. Next you'll dive into the architecture and installation options as well as process planning and design essentials for working with the main pieces of the platform. You'll then gain an administrator's view into the software including all key aspects that you should know. And you'll progress to more advanced concepts and platform extensions to gain a complete picture of K2 blackpearl.

This book arms you with the greatest tips and tricks out there for working with K2 blackpearl so you can successfully transform your company into a process-oriented, efficient business.

What you will learn from this book<

  • p>The steps for identifying and designing processes
  • How to plan your development, QA/staging, and production environments

  • All about process planning and the concepts of process design

  • Ways to use the K2 Workspace for notifications, reports, assigning process permissions, and recovering from errors

  • How to build a user manager to plug into the K2 platform

  • Steps for customizing the platform and your processes to your needs

  • How to use data from SAP within your processes

Who this book is for

This book is for business users who want to gain a better understanding of K2 blackpearl as well as for developers who need details on how to effectively deploy and use this software.

Wrox Professional guides are planned and written by working programmers to meet the real-world needs of programmers, developers, and IT professionals. Focused and relevant, they address the issues technology professionals face every day. They provide examples, practical solutions, and expert education in new technologies, all designed to help programmers do a better job.

About the Author

Holly Anderson is the product marketing manager for K2. Holly began working with K2 software in 2004 as a technical consultant building complex workflow applications for clients and joined K2 as a technical specialist in 2006. With her technical and marketing background, Holly is able to provide a unique perspective on K2 products for both business and technical audiences. You can reach her at holly@k2.com.

Jason Apergis is a software consultant who has lived in the Washington, DC, area his entire life. Jason currently works for a Microsoft Gold Partner named RDA Corporation as a technical project manager and has worked for various other consulting firms like BearingPoint and AMS. One of Jason’s solutions, which integrated K2, BizTalk, SharePoint, and InfoPath, was nominated as a finalist for a Microsoft solution of the year award in 2006. Jason completed both his undergraduate and graduate degrees in Information Technology from Virginia Tech. Jason plays ice hockey on a weekly basis and is both an avid fan of the Washington Capitals and a Virginia Tech Football fan. Jason dedicates this book to his wife, Catherine, and both his children, Ethan and Caroline.

Sergio Del Piccolo is an experienced business process consultant and a partner at Avantage Partners in Vancouver, Canada. He has led business process integration engagements of all sizes and brings over 10 years of hands-on experience as a technical and business solutions architect. Sergio has acted as a trusted advisor for multiple clients, providing guidance and leadership on successful process-driven and integration solutions. As a well respected consultant within the community, Sergio has achieved a number of accreditations that have further established his expertise, including being a K2 Insider and a Microsoft Virtual Technical Specialist for BizTalk Server. He is an expert on the Microsoft Connected System and K2 platforms. Sergio leads the Partner Integrated Workflow program, focusing on getting organizations to streamline their business processes and helping them gain a competitive edge in today’s global market. You can reach him at sergio.delpiccolo@avantagepartners.com, and you can take a look at his blogs at http://delpiccolo.com and http://avantagepartners.com/team-profiles/ sergio-del-piccolo.

Chris Geier evangelizes K2, helps build and nourish the broader K2 community, and coordinates global readiness efforts internally. He’s worked in the technology industry for 14 years — for several companies, including Microsoft — and has focused primarily on infrastructure and security. Chris lives in the suburbs of Chicago with his ever-so-patient wife, Sara, and their three children: Leah-Rose, Carter, and Ella Claire. Chris is a history buff, ashamed to admit he loves reality television, and loves the soon to be world champion Chicago Cubs.

Codi Kaji is a technical writer for K2, where her main responsibility is translating the features and functionality of the K2 platform into things business people can understand, in other words, translating geek to human. With a background of consulting and training on various Microsoft based technologies, she enjoys the challenge of installing and testing the latest products and writing information that helps people get the most out of their K2 experience. Codi and her husband have three cats and enjoy fishing. When she’s not testing the latest build, writing words, or landing a trout, Codi enjoys the soothing craft of knitting. Watch out for the pointy sticks.

Shaun Leisegang is the presales manager for K2 and is responsible for technical presales across Europe. Shaun is responsible for product evangelism, solution design, and specifications as well as for solution consulting. Shaun has vast experience within the Microsoft ecosystem; designing and building NET-based enterprise and system architectures that include workflow or business process automation as well as consulting and working with the full Microsoft stack of technologies. Shaun is a true stage performer of the IT world: immensely capable, adaptable, confident, an excellent communicator, who is equally comfortable in front of large crowds and intimate groups. Shaun has a passion for both people and technology, which allows him to convey dynamic new products in an infectious way, while at the same time knowing the IT business as a whole in order to speak authoritatively across multiple products and platforms. He began his career as a software developer, moved on to lead a team of application developers, and now runs a presales team where he has found a perfect mix between two of his passions: people and technology.

Igor Macori lives in Bologna, Italy, with his three girls (his partner and his two cats). He is cofounder and Training and Consulting Manager for GreenTeam (www.greenteam.it), an Italian Microsoft Gold Certified Partner founded in 1991. He has managed various IW Solutions projects (SharePoint, LCS/ OCS, Project Server, WWF, and others) and completed various solutions implemented for enterprise companies and public sector organizations. He is a regular trainer and speaker for Italian Microsoft courses and events dedicated to partners and customers and has achieved various technical certifications since 1996 (MCP, MCSA, MCSE, MCTS SharePoint, MCAS, MCT, and MOS Master Instructor). In 2008, he received the Microsoft MVP (Most Valuable Professional) Award for Microsoft SharePoint Server — Architecture. He is the owner of one of most visited Italian SharePoint and Collaboration Internet Blogs (www.macori.it). He is co-organizer of the Italian SharePoint Technical Conference (www.sharepointconference.it). He has written 14 books about the Microsoft Office System and Microsoft Windows Vista, and since 2007 has been a K2 Insider.

Gabriel Malherbe is a .NET solutions architect in the Thames Valley, UK. He currently works with the amazing team of K2 professionals at Dynamyx, where they service some multinational clients across Europe in the manufacturing and financial sector. He built his process management experience by codesigning system integration components that are used by airports worldwide. Broadening his horizons, he and his wife, Sharm, moved to the UK where Gabriel has delivered K2 training and seminars since 2004. He is one of the founding members of the K2 Insiders program. He can be contacted at gabriel.malherbe@dynamyx.com, and you can follow his K2 dedicated blog at http://nakedprogrammer.blogspot.com.

Jason Montgomery is a principal of Active Technologies Group, Inc. (ATGi — www.atgi.com), an international technology consulting firm based in Columbus, Ohio, working with clients ranging from Fortune 500 companies to government agencies, including the U.S. Department of Defense. His skills cover a broad range of technologies with specializations in information security, Microsoft technologies, Microsoft .NET, and K2 Workflow solutions, as well as Linux and FreeBSD system administration. Currently, Jason serves on the Global Information Assurance Certification (GIAC) Advisory Board as well as on the Global Information Assurance Professional (GSSP) Steering Committee for the .NET Security Certifications for SANS Institute. He additionally holds the CISSP Certification and the GIAC .NET Security (GNET) and GIAC Security Essentials (GSEC) Certifications.

Colin Murphy is a principal architect with RDA Corporation, is a Microsoft Gold Certified Partner, and has been working in the industry for about 12 years. Colin’s areas of specialization are Microsoft Office SharePoint 2007, Smart Clients, and Workflow. Colin has been working with K2.net 2003 since early 2006 on projects for a variety of clients.

Chris O’Connor began programming on a Commodore 64 as an avid 12 year old, entering listings from computer magazines. He has spent the last 15 years or so developing Web sites, Windows applications, and other solutions using Visual Basic, C#, SQL Server, and other products within the Microsoft arena. He is currently employed as a SharePoint solution architect and has implemented many SharePoint Content Management and Document Management Solutions, as well as K2.net 2003 and K2 blackpearl.

He is also a Microsoft Certified Professional and Microsoft Certified Application Developer, and K2 Insider. With so many new products and technologies from Microsoft, it’s hard to keep up; Chris follows with great interest to the happenings of Microsoft and the Web 2.0 community, especially with regard to SharePoint, Silverlight, and “Software+Services.” He updates a blog of SharePoint related articles, other technical bits and pieces, and fun and family at www.grumpywookie.com. To keep up with the K2 community, Chris hosts a K2-related blog, located at www.devk2.net. He is a keen photographer, with his favorite subjects being his wife and two young sons. Spending weekends with family is his favorite pastime, with house renovations, gardening, kids’ activities, and such. He can be contacted at chris@grumpywookie.com.

Anthony Petro resides in Silverthorne, Colorado, and is the Technical Product Manager for K2. He started his professional career in the consulting world 14 years ago and has always remained focused on Microsoft technologies and solutions. He joined Microsoft in 2001 and spent the next 5 years heavily immersed in SharePoint Joint Development Programs bridging the gap between the product development teams in Redmond and the enterprise customers around the world. He was a strong contributor to the SharePoint community in its infancy and focused on teaching the masses about the complexities of search and enterprise scale issues and about using products such as K2 to fill the enterprise workflow gaps of SharePoint. He joined K2 in 2006 to help bring K2 blackpearl to market through early adopter programs that spanned the alpha and beta cycles through to RTM. Anthony remains actively involved in early adopter programs for K2 blackpoint and K2 conn...


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Front Cover | Copyright | Table of Contents | Excerpt | Index | Back Cover
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Amazon.com: 3.7 out of 5 stars  7 reviews
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Good Book, Outdated Jan. 8 2013
By Dan - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
This served as a great reference, but is outdated by this time. Still, it's not bad to have around if you're on older versions, or just need some intro information to K2. We still occasionally use it to look up information that's still relevant.
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Process is Pervasive - K2 blackpearl will smooth your path to a successful BPM deployment April 22 2009
By Jeff Shuey - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback
This book is a great resource for those new to Business Process Management (BPM) and for those that have had years of experience. It starts off with a primer for those that are unfamiliar with the terms and jargon of the BPM industry and quickly jumps into the usage and applicability of K2 blackpearl to address real-world BPM challenges.

Anyone looking to include or enhance workflow & BPM efforts to their new or existing projects should buy this book. Anyone working with Microsoft products and technologies --- especially SharePoint Server (MOSS), BizTalk, and notably InfoPath will find that the design, development, and deployment of workflow / BPM solutions are significantly improved. Some of the tips & tricks in the book include sections for including Line-of-Business (LOB) data from other applications like SAP, MS-CRM, and the methodology to include LOB information to create enterprise-wide workflow & BPM solutions.

The book also addresses the perennial question of Build or Buy. I think after reading this book you will know the answer. The answer makes perfects sense, but will surprise many.

I have had the privilege of working with many of these authors in my career. I'm glad to see they put their collective knowledge together in one easy to use compendium. Well done!
2.0 out of 5 stars Not Very Useful to K2 Developers Oct. 16 2012
By Railgun - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
I purchased this book because I was tasked with writing ASP.NET Workflow apps using K2. While the book does indeed contain tons of information about K2, I found very little of the content useful in what I was trying to do. There was only about 5-10 pages that assisted me in programming K2 workflows.

If you are creating WFs using the GUI designers in Sharepoint or K2 Studio, and leave it at that, this book might be more helpful to you.

My opinion of K2 is when it works, it works great and saves you a lot of time, but when it doesn't work - good luck. As another reviewer mentioned, the error messages in K2 can be very cryptic. Indeed, I brought a security excpetion message to the attention of the K2 rep and they admitted they were just throwing general errors without including a specific message about the real issue.
4.0 out of 5 stars Has the stuff but is not organized right Nov. 1 2010
By Jake - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback
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UPDATE : After moving onto chapter 8 and onwards, the flow seems to be back in place which is great. So I am upping the rating to 4 stars. There were some useful tips such as being able to right mouse draw an inverted V or M to create the appropiate activities which was interesting.
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First thing - This is probably the book to have if you are doing K2 Blackpearl. Its got the details you are looking for. Howevever, that being said, I have to complain about the organization of the book. It might be related to the number of authors involved that made certain parts choppy. For example, in Chapter 7, you suddenly jump to Smart Objects when you haven't even created a workflow yet. So now the user is lost as they are expecting some hand holding in this chapter (as its the first hands-on chapter). For example, it talks about creating data fields but then doesn't inform the user that this is done in the "Process/Activities" tab. Also, there are no details on some of the event creation(e.g. Review Opportunity, Send Email, Approve Opportunity, etc.) and the instructions on field mapping lacks detail. Chapter 8 then goes back to planning and design (which is what chapters 1-6 was talking about). So why Chapter 7 was put where it is, beats me. I haven't got past chapter 7 yet but if anyone else is reading (and is at a beginner level), I would recommend skipping chapter 7 and coming back later.
5.0 out of 5 stars Don't BlackPearl without it! April 15 2009
By T. Braly - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback
This book is an outstanding resource for anyone who is building workflow using K2 BlackPearl. Just about everything you need to know is covered here with regard to using BlackPearl with Sharepoint, InfoPath, ASP, SmartObjects, etc and spans everything from installation to production support. Even if you're familiar and/or proficient in working with BlackPearl this book provides excellent resource material for everything from the obscure to the everyday situation. I've been working with BlackPearl nonstop since it was in Beta and I can't believe how much I didn't know until I picked up a copy of this book. It's the easiest way to learn to use this extremely powerful workflow product.
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