Abstract activities

Abstract activities are used as placeholders for operations and events in the process diagram. You use abstract activities to represent steps in the process in the early stages of process modelling:

  • When you have not yet decided which operation to use in the process

  • When the service that provides the operation is not yet deployed

Later in the development cycle, you define the abstract activities, which means to specify the actual service operation to use for the step. Defining an abstract activity does not disrupt any other part of the process diagram.

Abstract element



Represents any activity that is performed in the process.

You define Activity elements with any operation that an available service provides.

If you are representing activities that are performed by a user or another process, you can use the User and Subprocess elements. The icons on these elements indicate their intended purpose. (See the information for the Subprocess and User elements in this table.)


You define Event elements with any event type that an available service provides.

Abstract elements are for use at design time only and provide no run-time functionality.

Similar to abstract activities, use abstract events to represent an undefined event type that is thrown, received, caught, or used as a start point.

Adding, defining, and deleting abstract activities

Add an abstract activity to represent a step or event in the process. You can specify a name and description for abstract activities to indicate the functionality that is required. At a later time, you define the operation or event that provides the functionality.

You can change the operation that is defined for an abstract activity at any time. However, if you change which operation is defined, any property values that you have specified are removed. You can also delete abstract activities that you no longer require.

Abstract activities have no behavior at run time. You can test the execution of other operations in the process diagram while the abstract activities remain undefined.

Abstract activities are available from the process diagram palette.

Add an abstract activity:

Drag the abstract activity to the process diagram.

Define an abstract activity:

  1. Right-click the abstract activity and click Define Activity.

  2. In the dialog box that appears, select Select A Service Operation.

  3. Double-click the service operation from the list, and then click Yes in the confirmation dialog box.

Delete an abstract activity:

In the process diagram select the abstract activity and perform one of the following actions:
  • In the toolbar, click Delete

  • Press the Delete key

  • Click Edit > Delete.

You can also right-click the abstract activity and click Delete Activity.

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