Was a great turnout for MOSSIG tonight – to see the demo+prezzo by Jey Srikantha from jEyLaBs.
Jey covered much of the functionality of K2 blackpoint; there’s just soooo much involved, that it’s tricky to show it all in detail.
Just as a quick overview of what was shown :
- K2 Web Designer – add a new process, and use a “template” of Approve, Decline, Re-Work – and include some events & user tasks (uses a Silverlight plug-in)
- K2 Studio – rich-client (desktop) which includes additional designer templates in an Office-2007 style designer
- K2 Process Portals – SharePoint webparts & site templates for managing the processes deployed within K2 blackpoint.
- K2 Worklist + ViewFlow – user interaction and reporting views
While I’d seen much of the functionality already, but was good to see/hear the reaction from attendees – and there were lots of questions.
I wanted to provide a further “take” on the whole blackpoint/blackpearl equation – and “document” some of the questions+answers…>
What is blackpoint and what is blackpearl ?
One of the analogies I like to use (for developers) is the “Visual Studio” approach. Firstly, think of Visual Studio Express, and then Visual Studio Professional. Each of these products have a bunch of project-types & functionality that you create.
And – while the projects you can create in “Express” is limited, you can easily upgrade to “Professional” – and open the same projects and continue – with more features & functions.
The analogy here is :
- K2 blackpoint is akin to Visual Studio Express
- K2 blackpearl is akin to Visual Studio Professional
Another way to say it – is that one is a subset – and the other is the super-set :
Can you include code / is there an API / can you add new activities ?
Some of the discussion related to being able to start workflows via code, or being able to add new activities to the designer, and so forth.
In essence, what’s the “extensibility” level of K2 blackpoint ? (for developers)
Much of the answer was simply “uuum, No – you’d need K2 blackpearl for that”.
And yes, sorry to disappoint, but the K2 blackpoint product is intended to provide a huge wealth of functionality for SharePoint workflow – that doesn’t NEED to delve into any code – and there’s a LOT you can do within the bounds of the functionality.
If you need to “outgrow” the bounds of what K2 blackpoint can provide, then you may need to consider looking at K2 blackpearl instead.
Just like the analogy of Visual Studio – the different versions of the product have different inclusions – eg. if you need Source Code control, you need to use “Professional” instead of “Express”
What’s the upgrade path ?
As above, there (will be) the ability to simply do an in-place upgrade from K2 blackpoint to K2 blackpearl. This will mean that the new features of “pearl” will be immediately available. This includes the following :
- Licensing upgrade – the principle is that this will be a simply “license key” change. Obviously there will be some licensing fees involved – this can be determined on a case-by-case basis from K2.
- Installation upgrade – in principle (again), this will be a simple “SETUP.EXE” installation. At present, this is not really an option – until the K2 blackpearl product has a minor update to include the K2 Studio, K2 Silverlight Designer and K2 Process Portals. This is expected very soon – the latest I’d heard is that there is a BETA release due in April (ie. next month). This will also support the 2008 stack (Windows Server 2008, SQL Server 2008 – and Visual Studio 2008) – will be a big release indeed !
If there are any other questions/comments about the session at MOSSIG – or K2 blackpoint in general, pls. feel free to enter a comment…>
Click here to see some more info :
Thanks Jey for tonight’s session at MOSSIG…!