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Business keys & external reference IDs

Question asked by rkroll on Nov 15, 2011
Latest reply on Feb 11, 2012 by johnwillson
It appears that the intent of Activiti's "business key" is that of an external ID for a given process instance.  This works well in the case where you need to uniquely identify a process instance without needing to know its internal ID.  The current functionality is that of an external reference ID and not as what most users think of as a business key.  We are currently using process variables to store a business key for our domain with a processes - this allows us to identify all processes associated with a given key.  This breaks down when we need to query all historic processes for a given key (which is in a process variable).  Take this use case for example - We wish to store the VIN number of a  car as the business key, but since you cannot run two processes with the same business key, we store the VIN as a process variable.  After we start multiple processes (repair, cleaning, etc.), we need to see a list of all processes associated with a given VIN.  This seems like a typical use case for storing a business key with a process instance.  Is it possible that we extend the process instance to include an "external reference id" which could be used in queries (historic or otherwise)?