Beta 2 release of K2[Blackpearl] and K2[Blackpoint] are out now. There are many incentives for customers to participate in Beta 2. email firstname.lastname@example.org to get involved.
K2[Blackpearl] is a dynamic application assembly platform which has been demonstrated to enhance the capabilities of Microsoft platform. Recent demos of Beta 2 has shown enhancements to MOSS, Visio and VS.NET.
So what do I like in K2[Blackpearl] ?
Smart objects – Being able to very easily create objects that represent data in existing external systems and store extra information along with it to enhance it is a cool feature. full automatic versioning of these objects is also an added bonus. It allows developers to externalise data from process. This externalisation gives much more flexibility to add and update these objects later to create rich process reports is one obvious benefit. The smart objects can be used by other non-process based applications as well.
Artifact library provides private and public repositories to store, share and reuse components from processes. Events, Activities, parts of connected activities, rules can be stored in the Artifact library.
Environment library feature supports multiple configurations to be maintained and managed, it makes application lifecycles easy. You can centrally manage the configuration of dev, test, QA and production environments and the developers can easily switch between them to test and create deployment packages.
K2 tasklist webpart for MOSS – You have a quick search feature in there to find any tasklist items that you can access based on criteria. Actions and Outcomes of workflow activities are integrated with security settings. The webpart surfaces the relevant actions based on security settings. I can delegate a task to two different people and allow them to have access to certain actions only. I can also batch action by multi-selecting tasks. Context grid is the name of the security system. It allows fine grained control on who sees what.
BDC integration allows you to bring data from your backend systems through smart objects and expose them via the BDC webparts. You can also initiate rich K2 business processes on the backend systems via this BDC integration.
Beta 2 includes a new event template to auto generate forms. Currently it supports asp.net forms. It will include auto generation of Infopath forms in the future. Other form vendors will also be able to integrate with this. I guess Achieveforms will jump on to this.
Web based management tools and MS Build based deployment packages will be welcomed by sys admins. The sharepoint based workflow designer created workflows can be exported in to a .cab file with a click. This package has a project system ready to be used in VS.NET. Dev’s will love this. You can now enhance this business user created workflows in VS.NET. Another click and a deployment package is ready to be deployed.
Reports designer allows process data and related smart objects to be queried for reports based on security permissions. These reports can be shared across the enterprise or kept for private use. You can export these reports as reporting services files and extend them in VS.NET
The value of Blackpearl is once you start creating smart objects, reports, process artifacts to build process based and non-process based applications, you are actually begin to create, enhance and reuse enterprise artifacts. As you keep doing this building new applications become a very easy task as most of your required components will be already available. Blackpearl brings all these together in to a unified platform that makes app building easy.
Beta 2 is looking good. K2 has certainly grown up to become a dynamic business application assembly platform for sure. check it out.