How to Get and Update Process Variable in jBPM 6 via REST API – Part 1

I couldn’t resist the temptation to control every aspect of my site, thus you will find me at my new internet address


The GET part is fairly simple, you just need to form a URL with the right values.

So assuming you have a BPM process running on a remote server (business-central) and you would like to get/read the Process Variables, lets see how.

JBPM has published REST APIs to interact with it and get most of the information.

For our case, the REST URL to get the process variable information has this pattern:


It’s HTTP GET which returns the variable from a given process instance.

A complete URL may look like below:


The above would return the XML value of the variable (person), so if you had a POJO then this can be thought of as the XML version of the same. (JAXB at play).

Writing code to fetch the information can be in plain Java without any BPM libraries, after all its just a REST API which returns XML, the only complexity could be about BASIC AUTH.

Here’s a sample code for retrieving the variable value.

import java.nio.file.Files;
import java.nio.file.Paths;
import java.util.Objects;
import java.util.logging.Logger;

import org.apache.commons.codec.binary.Base64;

 * A general Helper class that once configured would return the XML value of a given Variable
 * under a process instance.
 * Sample URL used for REST API of JBPM 6:
 * http://localhost:8080/business-central/rest/runtime
 * /com.infibeam.sapphire:bpm-order-activation:0.3.9
 * /process/instance/4545
 * /variable/person
 * @author
public class BPMGetVariable {
	private Logger logger = Logger.getLogger(BPMGetVariable.class.getName());

	private String variableName;
	private String bpmUrl;
	private String username;
	private String password;

	public BPMGetVariable(long processId, String variableName, String bpmUrl,
			String username, String password, String deploymentId) {
		this.variableName = variableName;
		this.bpmUrl = bpmUrl + deploymentId + "/process/instance/" + processId + "/variable/" + variableName;
		this.username = username;
		this.password = password;

	public static void main(String[] args) throws Exception {
		long processId = 4545;
		String variableName = "person";
		String name = "bpmsAdmin";
		String password = "bpmspasswordhere";
		String deploymentId = "com.prashantp.demo:bpm-sample:0.1.0";

		BPMGetVariable bpmGetVariable = BPMGetVariable.builder()
				.credentials(name, password).addDeploymentId(deploymentId)
		//Save as XML
		Files.write(Paths.get("./" + processId + "_" + variableName + ".xml"),

	public String getValue()
			throws MalformedURLException, IOException {

		String variableValue = getFromSecureRESTUrl(bpmUrl, username, password);"Variable Name=" + variableName + ", value=" + variableValue);

		return variableValue;

	private String getFromSecureRESTUrl(String webpageUrl, String username,
			String password) throws MalformedURLException, IOException {;
		URL url = new URL(webpageUrl);
		URLConnection urlConnection = url.openConnection();
		setSecurityCredentials(urlConnection, username, password);
		return readResponse(urlConnection);

	private void setSecurityCredentials(URLConnection toSecure,
			String username, String password) {
		String authString = username + ":" + password;
		byte[] authEncBytes = Base64.encodeBase64(authString.getBytes());

		toSecure.setRequestProperty("Authorization", "Basic "
				+ new String(authEncBytes));

	private String readResponse(URLConnection urlConnection) throws IOException {
		InputStream is = urlConnection.getInputStream();
		InputStreamReader isr = new InputStreamReader(is);

		int numCharsRead;
		char[] charArray = new char[1024];
		StringBuffer sb = new StringBuffer();
		while ((numCharsRead = > 0) {
			sb.append(charArray, 0, numCharsRead);
		return sb.toString();

	public static BPMGetVariableBuilder builder() {
		return new BPMGetVariableBuilder();

	static class BPMGetVariableBuilder {
		private long processId;
		private String variableName;
		private String bpmUrl;
		private String username;
		private String password;
		private String deploymentId;

		public BPMGetVariableBuilder processId(long processId) {
			this.processId = processId;
			return this;

		public BPMGetVariableBuilder variableName(String variableName) {
			this.variableName = variableName;
			return this;

		public BPMGetVariableBuilder bpmUrl(String bpmUrl) {
			this.bpmUrl = bpmUrl;
			if (this.bpmUrl.endsWith("/")) {
				this.bpmUrl = this.bpmUrl + "rest/runtime/";
			} else {
				this.bpmUrl = this.bpmUrl + "/rest/runtime/";
			return this;

		public BPMGetVariableBuilder credentials(String name, String password) {
			this.username = name;
			this.password = password;
			return this;

		public BPMGetVariableBuilder addDeploymentId(String deploymentId) {
			this.deploymentId = deploymentId;
			return this;

		public BPMGetVariable build() {
			if (processId == 0 || Objects.isNull(variableName)
					|| Objects.isNull(bpmUrl) || Objects.isNull(username)
					|| Objects.isNull(password) || Objects.isNull(deploymentId)) {
				throw new IllegalStateException();
			return new BPMGetVariable(processId,variableName,bpmUrl,username,password,deploymentId);



Now that we have done the GET part how about updating the same Process Variable via the REST API, lets see how.

That’s coming in Part 2 soon.

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