Initiator Process Variable - Flowable Upgrade

Hi @joram @martin.grofcik and others!

I see some of our existing processes do not work after upgrade to flowable which had references to ${initiator} expression in start event.

Below use to work fine in activiti 5.15 - debugging through the code looks like below property is not resolved at all and fails with errors


[Request processing failed; nested exception is org.flowable.common.engine.api.FlowableException: Error while evaluating expression: ${initiator}] with root cause org.flowable.common.engine.impl.javax.el.PropertyNotWritableException: Cannot write property: initiator
at org.flowable.common.engine.impl.javax.el.CouldNotResolvePropertyELResolver.setValue(

Workaround for the same is to use activiti:initiator=“initiator” - any reason initiator expressions are not resolved in startevent?


How does your xml for the start event looks like? How do you start the process instance?

If you have flowable:initiator=${initiator}, it’s actually trying to resolve the expression to a string variable name. The correct usage is without ${} to indicate a variable name.

Hi @joram

Looks like the XML snippet in previous post got truncated.

This one works
" startEvent id=“sid-4C7C5325-DABF-4ADD-9AA0-FC9B5B6B33D3” activiti:initiator=“initiator”

Below with expression doesn’t work in flowable 6.5 but use to work in activiti5 - and in the code I see it tries to evaluate the below expression and probably its not ready?

" startEvent id=“sid-4C7C5325-DABF-4ADD-9AA0-FC9B5B6B33D3” activiti:initiator="${initiator}"

We start the process instance invoking the API which internally starts the process instance using org.flowable.engine.impl.util.ProcessInstanceHelper#startProcessInstance.


Initiator variable value is not initialized at the beginning of the process instance. activiti:initiator is used to name variable to store user who started the process instance.

Ok - some reason expressions in startevent worked fine in activiti 5.15 - anyways thanks we will need to change existing processes to reflect this new change.