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Naming and moving nodes into a subprocess (BPMN)

–1 vote
I'd like to have some help on subprocesses as I encounter difficulties and do not clearly see the differences between the different folded/collapsed/separate screen situations. I'll describe my movements, maybe you can suggest beter moves or clarify a bit the architecture?

I create a subprocess by dragging the Subprocess Activity node from the palette to the drawing panel. With F2 or by going to the properties, tab "General", I describe the process. The process appears in the Structure view as a folder with the just entered description.

When I click the '+' sign, the node "opens" and the text disappears. I understand the node is now a mini-screen, but the description in the Structure view disappears.

Now I find it a bit clumsy to drag nodes from the palette into the expanded subprocess node. Most of the time I have already drawn part of the process and just want to drag it into the expanded node. Which doesn't work; someone else already brought this up http://yed.yworks.com/support/qa/1794/im-using-yed-3-with-bpmn-how-do-include-things-in-a-sub-process

I work my way around by using the Structure view: I select all the nodes I want to have moved and drag them to the subprocess' folder.

When the subprocess is small, working within an expanded node works fine, but I prefer to have a full screen. So then I doubleclick within the node and all subprocess appears in a new screen. The description of the subprocess is back on the folder in the Structure view.

I suspect the disappearing and reappearing of the description has to do with having a different label. Does this also serve a functional purpose, like is there a reasone one would name the collapsed subprocess differently than an expanded one in the Structure view?

And what's the difference between the nodes "Task Activity (Open)" and "Subprocess Activity", manually expanded by clicking the '+' sign?

I'd like to add: when collapsing the nodes within the nodes, the parent node adjusts its size to meet the needs of the subprocess. But when collapsing to go up in the schema, the parent node keeps taking up the space and the edges are not the same anymore either. I find this very annoying as I'd have to re-layout after a collapse to keep a compact overview. Is it possible to skip the collapsing and go straight to the full screen view?
asked Jul 31, 2013 in Help by Linda (440 points)
edited Jul 31, 2013 by Linda

3 Answers

+2 votes

Re:

I create a subprocess by dragging the Subprocess Activity node from the palette to the drawing panel. With F2 or by going to the properties, tab "General", I describe the process. The process appears in the Structure view as a folder with the just entered description.

When I click the '+' sign, the node "opens" and the text disappears. I understand the node is now a mini-screen, but the description in the Structure view disappears
.

By default, yEd supports different descriptions for opened and closed group nodes. If you do not want that, but require the same description for both states, go to "File" -> "Preferences", tab "Editor" and activate "Synchronize Open and Closed Group Label".

 

Re:

Now I find it a bit clumsy to drag nodes from the palette into the expanded subprocess node. Most of the time I have already drawn part of the process and just want to drag it into the expanded node. Which doesn't work; someone else already brought this up http://yed.yworks.com/support/qa/1794/im-using-yed-3-with-bpmn-how-do-include-things-in-a-sub-process

You are wrong. It is possible to drag existing elements into an opened group node. To do that, press and hold SHIFT then press and hold the left mouse button and drag the selected elements over the open group. When SHIFT dragging elements over an open group, yEd will display a visual indicator if releasing the mouse will assign the moved nodes to the group in question:

Note, when releasing the mouse in the above example both yellow nodes will be added to the group node and the group will automatically grow as needed:

 

Re:

I suspect the disappearing and reappearing of the description has to do with having a different label. Does this also serve a functional purpose, like is there a reasone one would name the collapsed subprocess differently than an expanded one in the Structure view?

Yes, sometimes it is desirable to have different descriptions depending on open/close state. If you do not want or need that feature, enable label synchronization as described above.

 

Re:

And what's the difference between the nodes "Task Activity (Open)" and "Subprocess Activity", manually expanded by clicking the '+' sign?

There is no difference between those two.

 

Re:

I'd like to add: when collapsing the nodes within the nodes, the parent node adjusts its size to meet the needs of the subprocess. But when collapsing to go up in the schema, the parent node keeps taking up the space and the edges are not the same anymore either. I find this very annoying as I'd have to re-layout after a collapse to keep a compact overview. Is it possible to skip the collapsing and go straight to the full screen view?

I do not think I understand that question. What has "collapsing" to do with "going up" and "full screen view"? Moreover, navigating in and out of a group should not change the layout in any way.

answered Aug 1, 2013 by thomas.behr [yWorks] (126,540 points)
edited Aug 1, 2013 by thomas.behr
+1 vote
Thank you very much for the screenshots. They did clarify your problem very much.

Unfortunately, it is very difficult to improve this situation.

In step 1 ("top level collapsed" to "top level expanded") the expanded (or open) group requires more space than the previous collapsed (or closed) group. The only way to make sure the diagrams looks fine afterwards is by re-calculating the layout. However, it is not a good idea to do that automatically each time a group is opened for several reasons:
1. There is no way to determine in an automated fashion which layout algorithm would be appropriate (or even just which configuration for a given algorithm would be appropriate).
2. For large diagrams, layout calculation can be time consuming. In this case, you want to rearrange the diagram as rarely as possible. So, when a user opens several groups, the diagram should be rearranged only after the last open action. (But of course, there is no way to determine in automated fashion which open action was the last one.)

In step 3, closing the group fixes its upper left corner. Of course, for your example fixing the lower left corner would be more appropriate. In the general case, it is not easily possible to determine in an automated fashion which placement of a closed group in relation to its previous open position is appropriate.

So, manually running a layout calculation when appropriate seems the best solution. You can speed that up a bit by using keyboard shortcuts. E.g. in your example, you would left click to open the group, then type ALT+SHIFT+B, RETURN to rearrange the diagram, left click to close the group, and type ALT+SHIFT+B, RETURN again.
answered Aug 1, 2013 by thomas.behr [yWorks] (126,540 points)
I see the complexity, thank you for clarifying. My diagrams are not that big yet, so I'm not running into problems regarding the calculations.

The alt+shift+b combination is a very difficult combination on qwerty-keyboards. Trying to make it with the one hand, feels like guitar playing ;)

Is there any key combination to go from a collapsed node to it being expanded in a new screen, thus avoiding the whole rearrangement problem?

Re:

Is there any key combination to go from a collapsed node to it being expanded in a new screen, thus avoiding the whole rearrangement problem?

Yes, there is: ALT+PAGE DOWN (see also "Grouping" -> "View Group Content").

0 votes

Too bad I can only give one vote on the answer, thank you very much for these elaborated answers!

As for the last issue: I think I've misused the word "collapsing" for "expanding".... To make things clear, I've made a few screenshots, I hope they are explanatory:

http://yed.yworks.com/support/qa/?qa=blob&qa_blobid=15324633859334238351

top level collapsed

http://yed.yworks.com/support/qa/?qa=blob&qa_blobid=5716325132024645760

top level expanded

http://yed.yworks.com/support/qa/?qa=blob&qa_blobid=278374487046614563

top level expanded and reapplied layout

http://yed.yworks.com/support/qa/?qa=blob&qa_blobid=6600743821538826239

top level collapsed again

answered Aug 1, 2013 by Linda (440 points)
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