The Workflow Scheduler

The Imixs-Workflow Scheduler is responsible for the automated processing of scheduled events. A scheduled event is a BPMN event assigned to a BPMN task. Scheduled events can be used e.g. for a auto reminding or an escalation task.

The Imixs WorkflowScheduler implements a TimerService to process workitems based on scheduled events. A scheduled event can be configured, using the Imixs-BPM Modeler, on the property tab ‘Timer’. If a workitem is in a status having scheduled events, the Imixs-Workflow Scheduler will process this workitem automatically based on the event definition.

The Scheduled Event

A scheduled event can be configured in the property tab ‘Timer’.

enabled choose ‘yes’ to enable a scheduled event (default ‘no’)
selection optional definition to select workitems based on a query or selector class
delay delay in minutes, hours, days or working days
from base item to calculate the schedule

Note: A scheduled event must define a base datetime item to calculate the schedule. You can choose a standard datetime item like ‘$created’, ‘$modified’ or ‘$lastprocessdate’ or you can define any datetime item managed by your application (e.g. a due-date or an invoice-date) .

The Timer Configuration

The WorkflowSchedulerService expects the scheduling configuration document. The scheduling configuration defines the timer interval to run the workflow scheduler.

A timer configuration can be created with the following item definitions:

<document xmlns:xsi="" xmlns:xs="">
       <item name="type">
       		<value xsi:type="xs:string">scheduler</value>
       <item name="name">
       		<value xsi:type="xs:string">org.imixs.workflow.scheduler</value>
       <item name="_scheduler_class">
       		<value xsi:type="xs:string">org.imixs.workflow.engine.WorkflowScheduler</value>
       <item name="_scheduler_definition">
       		<value xsi:type="xs:string">hour=*</value>
       		<value xsi:type="xs:string">minute=30</value>
       	<item name="_scheduler_enabled">
       		<value xsi:type="xs:boolean">true</value>

The Scheduler configuration object can also be created by the WorkflowSchedulerController bean:

WorkflowSchedulerController workflowSchedulerController;

public void setup() {
    ItemCollection config=workflowSchedulerController.getConfiguration();
    config.setItemValue("_scheduler_definition", "hour=*");
    config.appendItemValue("_scheduler_definition", "minute=/5");

With the method call startScheduler() the workflow scheduler will be started.


The Imixs WorkflowSchedulerService uses a calendar-based syntax for scheduling based on the EJB 3.1 Timer Service specification. The syntax takes its roots from the Unix cron utility. The following attributes can be stored as a value list in the item ‘_scheduler_definition’:

Attriubte Description Possible Values Default Value
second One or more seconds within a minute [0,59] 0
minute One or more minutes within a hour [0,59] 0
hour One or more hours within a day [0,23] 0
dayOfMonth One or more days
within a month
[1,31] or “1st”,“2nd”,“3rd”,….
or “Sun”,“Mon”,“Tue”,“Wed”,“Thu”,“Fri”,“Sat”
or “Last” (the last day in month)
or -x (means x day(s) before the last day of
or the month
month One or more month within a year [1,12] or “Jan”,“Feb”,“Mar”,“Apr”,“May”,
dayOfWeek One or more days within a week [1,7] or “Sun”,Mon",“Thu”,“Wed”,“Thu”,“Fri”,“Sat” “0” and “7” refer to Sunday! *
year A paticular year 4 digit calendar year *
timezone A specific time zone see time zoneinof (or tz) database *
start Start date yyyy/mm/dd
end End date yyyy/mm/dd

Each attribute of an expression supports values in different formats. For example you can define a list of days or a range of years. The the following table with suported value formats:

Format Description Example
Single Value only one possible value year=“2009” or month=“May”
Wildcard all possible values year=“*” or dayOfWeek=“*”
List two or more values year=“2014,2015” or dayOfWeek=“Sat,Sun”
Range range of values second=“1-10” or dayOfWeek=“Mon-Fri”
Increments startignpoint and increment minute=“*/15” or second=“30/10”

So you can configure the scheduler is several ways. Here a some typical exampls for possible configuration:

Every hour


Every five minutes with the hour


Every hour from Monday to Friday


Every 30 minutes with the hours from 8:00 AM to 5:00 PM, from Monday to Friday


Only Sunday on 1:00 AM


The configuration entity will be updated by the WorkflowSchedulerService in each iteration and provides the following additional information.

property type description
$uniqueid String defines the unique ID the for the corresponding TimerService
_scheduler_definition String List Holds information about the calendar based scheduling
_scheduler_enabled Boolean indicates if the scheduler is enabled
_scheduler_logmessage String List message log (read only)
_scheduler_errormessage String Error message details (read only)
_scheduler_status String current status (read only)
_scheduler_class String read only must be set to “org.imixs.workflow.engine.WorkflowScheduler”
nextTimeout Date Timestamp for next timeout (read only)
timeRemaining Long milliseconds until next timeout (read only)


The workitems processed by the scheduler are selected by a default selector based on the $TaskID and the $workflowgroup.

($taskid:"[TASKID]" AND $workflowgroup:"[MY-WORKFLOWGROUP]")

The selector can be overwritten by a BPMN event. For example the workflow group can be replaced by the modelversion to select only a subset of process instances:

($taskid:"[TASKID]" AND $modelversion:"1.0.0")

Custom QuerySelector

An application can implement a QuerySelector CDI bean to provide a custom selection of scheduled workitems. The full qualified class name of a QuerySelector can be used instead of a search query.


If a QuerySelector is defined, the WorkflowScheduler tries to inject the selector CDI Bean and calls the find method to select the workitems to be scheduled.

Ignored Workitems

The WorkflowSchedulerService processes all kinds of workitems which are assigned to a valid workflow model definition with scheduled events. A workitem is ignored by the WorkflowSchedulerService only in case the workitem type ends with the sufix ‘deleted’


or the workitem is marked as immutable


See the DocumentService for details.