With the release of Oracle Fusion Middleware 12c, Oracle introduced the concept of Quick Start distributions that allow developers to install a development or evaluation environment on a single host computer. The quick start distribution is available for both Oracle SOA Suite and Oracle BPM Process Management Suite and, if you are like me, chances are, you may prefer to install them separately and independently to try out the various new features they offer. Installing them separately also helps with the performance of JDeveloper, as it could reduce the number of design time plugins loaded during the design time.

What is the problem?

When you install the SOA and BPM Quick Start distributions independently, in separate ORACLE_HOMEs, but on the same machine, you may find you run into a problem where the BPM Plugin is missing from the BPM distribution’s JDeveloper IDE.The problem manifests when you launch the JDeveloper IDE from the SOA distribution (before launching the BPM distribution), and will mean that the BPM Plugin extension will not get loaded into the JDeveloper IDE, and you will not be able to develop BPM processes.

Where is the problem?

Although the SOA and BPM Quick Start distributions are different, the underlying JDeveloper IDE is the same, and both IDEs point to the same build version, as shown below.
Jdeveloper Build Version

By default, a common system configuration directory (systemXXXXX) s used for both the SOA and BPM distributions, because the root directory of the user profile does not change across SOA and BPM distributions. Therefore, when the JDeveloper IDE is launched from the BPM installation, after it has already been launched from the SOA installation, the same system configuration directory is re-used by the BPM distribution.

The image below shows a screenshot of the BPM JDeveloper IDE gallery menu - you will notice the BPM plugin option is missing.

JDeveloper New Application Gallery dialog with BPM Plugin Options missing

How to fix it?

To fix the problem, the user profile root directories for both SOA & BPM quick start distributions need to be different. The JDeveloper IDE configuration file ide.boot contains the property IDE_USER_DIR that dictates the value of the user profile's root directory.

The ide.boot file can be located inside the directory:

where the variable ${ORACLE_HOME} points to the the quick start distribution installation directory.

Edit the value for the property IDE_USER_DIR for the BPM quick start distribution as below:

ide.user.dir.var = IDE_USER_DIR ide.user.dir = /Users/gkrishna/work/bpm12.2.1.0

ide.boot file

Now, you can successfully launch the BPM JDeveloper IDE!
In the screenshot below you can see the BPM plugin is loaded as expected.

JDeveloper About Extensions dialog JDeveloper New Application Gallery dialog with BPM Plugin Options present

Problem Solved!!!