Connectors: Custom Icons vs. BPMN Symbols

Hi all,

I open this topic here because I’ve just read the blog which sadly refers to the Camunda internal discussion.

The blog entry in my opinion is to strict to decide between with custom symbols or without.
In my opinion both views of a BPMN diagram are valid.
If you would like to have a pure vanilla more business view with standardized symbols and want more focus on design you would perhaps decide for the BPMN view.
If you want to reach more technical people or want to focus on implementation the custom icons are the more suitable solution.
It reminds me to the tab in webmodeler: the switch from design to implementation.

So the solution to remove the custom icons from the BPMN xml file is as wrong as always showing the custom symbols.

I expected to have a switch in the modeler (perhaps implemented by the underlying js-libs already) to show a model with vanilla symbols or with the embedded custom symbols in the xml.
So the custom symbols are always available and can be shown on demand.

I think that should satisfy all situations and the pro and con groups.

What do you think?

Uwe (won’t show the blue elephant task to my boss, but to my developer :wink: depending on the target group)

I absolutely agree. Learning plain vanilla BPMN is daunting for a lot of people already. Lets not make it harder with custom symbols that needs an extra explanation.

In contrast to change views another idea would be to have the connector logo located where the label of the element is. That way both would be visible.

Would the bpmn symbol on top left (as is) and the connector symbol on top right be a good compromise?


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Thank you for initiating this discussion. As previously mentioned, we are continuously evaluating and appreciate all your feedback.

I’d like to share my current thoughts with you and would welcome any feedback on them.

Depending on whom I’m speaking with, I typically encounter three suggested approaches:

  • Using BPMN symbols only (seeing no need for icons),
  • Having the choice between BPMN symbols or icons with the option to switch between them,
  • Or a hybrid mode with a BPMN symbol switch.

The hybrid mode is particularly challenging, especially for boundary, start, and intermediate events. I’m currently in discussion with Falko on how we can properly represent these.

This a draft of our first idea:

I am planning to create a BPMN Process, which visualize all the possibilities. If you have other ideas in mind, please share them with me.

Looking forward to your feedback,

The additional icon in an upper corner sounds as a good solution, because I heard from Falco that he recognized, that replacing e.g. an receiving/sending task with a connector icon would hide the semantic.
That’s a point!
With having both icons visible everything can be seen.
I still woul vote for an additional plain vanilla BPMN look as well, to safe the clearness BPMN is famous for and safe this asset.
Best regards,