Updated: Jun 3
In separate, recent blog entries, we've put the spotlight on Flokzu Cloud BPM (link) and then on Camunda Cloud (link). Both are compelling products, but they take significantly different approaches to delivering cloud-based workflow. Let’s take a closer look at those differing approaches and learn more about the state of the cloud workflow market in the process.
Flokzu Cloud BPM delivers the rapid application development capabilities that many potential cloud workflow customers want from their chosen workflow solution. It's an easy to use and understand cloud-based solution that has the benefits of (a) a strong UI builder and (b) standards-based modeling with BPMN 2.0. It also offers tight integration with Zapier (link), which opens up a world of possibilities for integrating Flokzu with 3rd-party systems.
Camunda Cloud is a "developer-centric" tool that offers developers an uncommon and welcome amount of flexibility. It will allow you to use a wide array of different programming languages, distribute the responsibility for the processing of your workflow workloads across different clients and/or different hosts and will allow you to support very large throughput volumes that are likely only going to be constrained by Internet bandwidth limitations.
For more details on each, please refer to our earlier blog entries. In this article, we're going to point out some of the differentiating features of each of the two products, and perhaps we'll help you decide which one is the right fit for your organization or use case?
In short, the biggest difference is the target audience. Flokzu is designed to cater to business analysts or "citizen developers", both of which seem to be increasing in number within user organizations quickly. Camunda Cloud, on the other hand, is designed to cater to traditional developers, those who want to write code to build their workflow solutions. This difference in target audience is apparent throughout all aspects of each product, but we think the most important manifestations are in: (1) the UI builders, (2) the integration capabilities and (3) the options for integrating your own code into the apps. Let's dig into each of those briefly.
The UI Builder
Flokzu has an intuitive UI builder that will allow you to build varied and dynamic forms for use in your application. Here's a screen capture of their form builder:
Camunda Cloud, in its current iteration, only offers two widget types in its form builder; however, that will likely increase to at least six in a near-term future release per the teaser screen capture below (from https://camunda.com/blog/2021/04/camunda-forms-visual-editing-of-user-task-forms/):
By comparison, the ability to customize form layouts and build interactive forms is limited in Camunda Cloud, though we believe Camunda will add significant capabilities in those areas quickly.
Flokzu offers the following features related to integration:
A REST API for interacting with process instances (from 3rd-party systems),
The ability to call REST and SOAP endpoints and send emails (from Flokzu) and
Integration with Zapier, a third-party service that allows for easy integration between web apps.
The integration capabilities with Zapier make point-and-click integrations between different web apps accessible to citizen developers. The REST and SOAP integration capabilities can also open up the ability to integrate Flokzu Cloud BPM with third-party code written in other apps.
Camunda Cloud doesn't offer those capabilities out of the box, but it offers developers the flexibility to build any integration entry point that is desired in essentially any language. This is a breath of fresh air as a developer, and it means we aren't constrained in terms of what is possible... If a developer can imagine it, we can build it in Camunda Cloud! For example, you could:
Build out your own REST API that aligns with your business requirements using Go, Python, Java, etc. or
Incorporate workers into a process that could send emails, call REST endpoints, etc.
Integrating Your Own Code
We've been doing this long enough to know that virtually any moderately-complex enterprise workflow application will need to incorporate custom code into their apps. Thus, this is an important feature in any cloud-based workflow product.
Camunda Cloud is designed from the jump to allow you to build your own workers and to have those workers integrate with the Camunda Cloud broker (Zeebe). This makes it very easy to add your own code into your application and thus to extend your application in any way that is required. Here's a screen capture showing an example Camunda Cloud worker (in this case in Java) from our earlier blog post:
Flokzu Cloud BPM can use its REST integration capabilities to interact with custom code, where that custom code can also be written in any language (if exposed as a REST Web service). Here's a screen capture illustrating how you can configure such a REST call in your Flokzu processes:
We really like both products and have had a lot of fun getting to know them both, but they have different strengths and weaknesses.
Camunda Cloud is a first-of-its-kind, developer-centric cloud workflow product that could create an exciting and entirely new niche for Camunda. It's a unique product that is going to be a favorite of traditional developers everywhere.
Flokzu Cloud BPM - with its advanced UI builder and citizen developer-friendly features - is going to have a more gently-sloping learning curve, and it will allow citizen developers and business analysts to build applications with little to no input from traditional developers. As a result, Flokzu is likely to be the better fit for most traditional, cloud workflow customers in the market.
If you need help with your product selection process or with either of the tools discussed in this blog entry, please don't hesitate to reach out to us at firstname.lastname@example.org.