TIBCO Designer Add-in for TIBCO Business Studio

Last week I finally had the opportunity to try a new product from TIBCO that I believe that, like me, many developers were asking for. I’m talking about TIBCO Designer Add-in for TIBCO Business Studio 1.0.0.

Back in the old days of Integration Manager, we needed two development tools, IM in one hand to define business processes and integration services and Designer on the other to configure the adapters. Then BusinessWorks came so business processes may be developed and adapters configured with a single tool, Designer. But with the purchase of StaffWare and the integration of its products as the iProcess suite within the range of TIBCO we returned to separate development tools for BPM on one hand and BPA and adapters on the other. First, iProcess Developer was transformed into Business Studio, a graphical Eclipse-based development tool that allows both modelling business processes from the viewpoint of a business analyst and implementing these processes into the hands of a developer. There had been rumors for a while claiming that TIBCO was planning to consolidate all its tools into one based on Eclipse, but until the end of last year they did not publish Designer Add-in for TIBCO Business Studio 1.0.0, a tool that takes all the palettes from Designer to the Business Studio environment.

Opening a BW project in Business Studio

Opening a BW project in Business Studio

This add-in is compatible with ActiveMatrix BusinessWorks and its main plug-ins, SmartMapper, BusinessConnect and BPEL, and the adapters for SAP, PeopleSoft, Database, Files and MQSeries. To date, it seems that other tools such as BusinessEvents are not supported and, at the moment, this version is only compatible with Business Studio 2.2, while the latest version of iProcess, 11.0, is bundled with Business Studio 3.1. Looks like we’ll have to wait some time until the two worlds, BPA and BPM are 100% coupled and aligned.

Furthermore, with 37 known defects in the release notes this appears to be a product to be improved but, hopefully, in the following months we will finally have a unified tool set for developing and configuring integration components (SOA), modelling and implementing business processes, automated (BPA) and with human intervention (BPM), setting up complex event processing (CEP) and configuring monitoring elements (BAM).

Sample BW project opened with Business Studio

Sample BW project opened with Business Studio. Note that the usual tabs in Designer appear now in Business Studio.


I have just seen that, on May, TIBCO has published version 1.1.0 of this Add-In which supports Business Studio 3.1. In fact, Business Studio is not bundled with the product anymore so you need to install that first. Apart from some bug fixes, that seems to be the main change in this release. Unfortunately, it does not support other products like Business Events, Business Factor or iProcess Insight yet.

3 Comments on “TIBCO Designer Add-in for TIBCO Business Studio”

  1. #1 Anthony McClay
    on Apr 23rd, 2009 at 4:00 am

    I have been a user of the Tibco Tool Suite for Orchestration (Business Works) , Business process management (IProcess), and Complex Event Processing (Business Events) and other supplemental technology from Tibco in relationship to providing solutions over a broad range of applications.

    I have used the Tibco Designer Plug-in for Eclipse for a few months and have written some notes on a linked in discussion on this subject that I decided to re-post here.

    I have used the TIBCO Business Studio with Designer add-in, which equates to Business Studio version 2.2.

    There are a few differences in the behavior, which is documented in the documentations from designer but overall I recommend it. My teams consist of Java, SOA Composition/Mediation, Business Events, Business Connect and typical Business Works teams. It is very convenient to use the same IDE across the board. We also never trusted the CVS integration with Tibco Designer and 1/2 my teams have moved to subversion, which is not possible with designer, but through eclipse, it is a proven technology.

    There are some drawbacks. If you use any extended Designer tools (That extend the Pallete, such as Business Events, you may still draw the processes(Activities) but you loose the extended functionality such as Business Event Debugger (Which you can exec ute on the command line). These tools are coming in this environment but not their today.

    Socially, it is hard to get it through Business Works Developers of their role / participation in SOA development in Active Matrix. Socially BW developers have been isolated in an orchestration world, which is fine. In an Active Matrix environment, they are equal participants in the service composition processes and expose their services on the same level as Java or .net services. This is the Busines Works Service Engine (Business Works Active Matrix Container) The BW developers I transition are upset that their world has changed so much. Designer is just a small part of their change. They are use to the Tibco Administrator and fight hard the Active Matrix Administrator.

    So the fight of explaining the change from Process Engines to Nodes and containers is hard, so start the change of thier mentality now with the adoption of the Designer Plug-in for Business Studio.

    Just test the installation first to make sure it meets your needs.

    HINT: make sure you have the latest of the Active Matrix 2.1 installs across the board, which allows you to install the products in an alternative Tibco home directory. I have found it very helpful to keep the Active Matrix Environment separate from your legacy Tibco directory structure.

  2. #2 Haritza Zubillaga
    on Apr 23rd, 2009 at 10:31 am

    Thanks a lot for your comment Anthony.

    In my experience, you can open BusinessEvents projects with this Add-In but, apart from the drawbacks you mention, there are other issues , for example, the fact that you can’t edit or see rulesets or that for some components (such as concepts or scorecards) you can’t edit their properties.

    I really think that using this Add-In would be a good first step for BW developers (such as those that you mention) who are working to adopt the component architecture provided by AMX and adapt their minds and ways of working to its SCA-based architecture. If TIBCO finally publishes a Business Studio version that works with their entire stack of products, that will be excellent news, not just for developers but for analysts or architects that want to check the complete implementation of a business process as this would allow them to use a single tool for all its parts and components.

  3. #3 Dinesh Shahane
    on Mar 30th, 2010 at 7:58 pm

    Nice post! Am quite looking forward to a smooth Designer experience within Studio. However I didn’t quite use the 1.1.0 version since I had heard that there were lots of issues and complaints on it. However, I also hear that TIBCO is coming up (or has come up) with a much better performing version of this product. Almost all issues have been eliminated in this release and there is news that it performs really really well. Time probably to check that claim out!

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