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Red prairie visualstudio2010_cs Red prairie visualstudio2010_cs Document Transcript

  • Microsoft Visual Studio 2010 Customer Solution Case Study BPM Solution Provider Significantly Increases Developer Productivity with New ToolsOverview ―Our new design environment will reduce the timeCountry or Region: United StatesIndustry: Manufacturing—High tech and required to develop workflow payloads by at least 50electronics percent, along with extending that capability toCustomer Profile nondevelopers.‖RedPrairie provides software solutions Dan Piessens, Software Architect, RedPrairiefor managing inventory, transportation,and work forces. The company hasapproximately 1,500 employees and is RedPrairie wanted to make several enhancements to its businessheadquartered in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. process management (BPM) solution, one of which was to makeBusiness Situation the design tools accessible to business users as well asFor the next version of its software, developers. The company is using Microsoft Visual Studio 2010RedPrairie wanted to extend workflowdesign capabilities to business users, Ultimate to develop the next version of its software, which takesimprove performance for frequently advantage of the .NET Framework 4 to extend workflow designpersisted workflows, and provideimproved support for long-running capabilities to nontechnical users, eliminate performanceworkflows. penalties for frequently persisted workflows, and deliverSolution improved support for long-running workflows. Through itsThe company is meeting its goals by efforts, RedPrairie is enabling more users to harness the powerusing Microsoft Visual Studio 2010Ultimate to develop the next version of of its software, helping them do so more productively, andits software and taking advantage of increasing the software’s flexibility and performance. What’senhancements to Windows WorkflowFoundation in the .NET Framework 4. more, the company is delivering those customer benefits quickly and effectively, with enhanced software quality and a significantBenefits Improved user experience and increase in developer productivity. functionality Significant increase in developer productivity High software quality
  • ―Windows Workflow Situation the Windows Server operating system envi- RedPrairie provides inventory, transporta- ronment, uses Web services to coordinateFoundation delivers tion, and work force solutions that help the execution of business processes across manufacturers, distributors, and retailers systems. The design tool, which is based onsignificant improvements reduce costs, increase sales, and create a Windows Presentation Foundation and runsin many areas, including competitive advantage—yet are flexible within Visual Studio 2008, provides an enough to adapt as business needs change. environment for developing the desiredhosting workflows, The company has approximately 1,500 workflows. The process-monitoring appli-managing data, and employees in 20 offices around the world, cation, which also is based on Windows including more than 500 software devel- Presentation Foundation, provides visibilitycreating custom opers in five locations, and it boasts more into workflow execution.activities.‖ than 40,000 customer sites in 50 countries. In planning for the next version of itsDan Piessens, Software Architect, RedPrairie One component of RedPrairie’s E2e Business Process Platform, RedPrairie software suite is its Business Process wanted to make its workflow design tool Platform, which helps companies meet the accessible to business users as well as challenges of orchestrating and executing software developers. ―Creating a workflow enterprisewide business processes. For required using Visual Studio 2008 to open example, coordinating a product recall a workflow project, upon which developers requires ensuring that stores can’t sell the could take advantage of the custom work- product, having stores pull the product off flow activities that we provide,‖ explains the shelf, issuing orders to return the Piessens. ―Developers could assemble the product, and coordinating return trans- main control flow of a workflow graphically portation, each of which is typically but still had to write a lot of code to make managed using a different system. it all work.‖ ―Most integration platforms are not RedPrairie also wanted to improve its designed to mirror real-world processes, solution’s support for long-running orchestrate interaction between systems, workflows—for example, it wanted to and track the execution of those pro- provide the ability to save a workflow’s cesses,‖ says Dan Piessens, Software state at multiple points and, if necessary, Architect at RedPrairie. ―Our Business restart a workflow at any one of those Process Platform orchestrates the work points. ―With Windows Workflow done by different components of the E2e Foundation in the .NET Framework 3.5, suite and integrates the necessary human you could save only one snapshot of a interactions, such as e-mail notifications, workflow,‖ says Piessens. ―This made it entry of data into Web-based forms, and harder to handle exceptions, such as when escalation procedures.‖ a Web service stopped responding or a person left the organization with an The current version of the Business Process approval request still pending.‖ Platform consists of a server (runtime) component, a workflow design tool, and a In addition, the company wanted to monitoring application, all of which were eliminate potential causes of performance developed using the Microsoft Visual degradation. ―The persistence runtime in Studio 2008 development system and are Windows Workflow Foundation in the .NET based on the Microsoft .NET Framework Framework 3.5 saved the entire workflow 3.5. The server component, which runs on instead of only the required data, which
  • ―The entire Visual Studio caused workflows that were persisted Visual Studio. We built our own design frequently to slow down the entire application using Windows PresentationIDE seems more runtime,‖ explains Piessens. Foundation and are taking advantage of the workflow designer’s new extensibilityflexible—it’s easier to Solution points to host it within that application,get it to do what I want.‖ RedPrairie is building the enhancements it thereby delivering a customized user wants in the next version of its Business experience. Developers can still use VisualDan Piessens, Software Architect, RedPrairie Process Platform by using Microsoft Visual Studio to design new workflows; it’s just Studio 2010 Ultimate. Scheduled for release not required anymore.‖ in mid-2010, the next version of Business Process Platform takes advantage of RedPrairie’s adoption of the latest version enhancements in the .NET Framework 4 to of Windows Workflow Foundation also extend workflow design capabilities to reduces performance penalties for nontechnical users, eliminate performance frequently persisted workflows and delivers penalties for frequently persisted work- improved support for long-running flows, and deliver improved support for workflows. ―Developers at Microsoft long-running workflows. RedPrairie also is rewrote the entire workflow persistence taking advantage of resources provided by layer in Windows Workflow Foundation in Microsoft Patterns & Practices, including the .NET Framework 4, making it much the Microsoft Enterprise Library, Unity more extensible and efficient,‖ says Application Block, and Composite Applica- Piessens. ―Multiple snapshots of a workflow tion Guidance for Windows Presentation now can be persisted and only the required Foundation and Silverlight (also known data is saved, resulting in significantly as ―Prism‖). better performance and flexibility. We’re also using new features such as content- Building on New Workflow Features based correlation, which enables the All of the above improvements to the correlation of a message to a given company’s Business Process Platform workflow instance based on data in the were made possible—or at least much message, such as an order number.‖ easier—thanks to enhancements to Windows Workflow Foundation in the Also noteworthy is how RedPrairie is using .NET Framework 4. ―The latest version of workflow tracking in Windows Workflow Windows Workflow Foundation delivers Foundation in conjunction with its rehosted significant improvements in many areas, workflow design tool. ―We use the rehosted including hosting workflows, managing design tool to replay workflows visually, data, and creating custom activities,‖ and diagnostic information and execution says Piessens. ―We’re taking advantage statistics that are gathered through the use of all these capabilities to deliver a of workflow tracking are overlaid on the better product.‖ workflow diagram,‖ says Piessens. ―One key benefit provided by our software is that we Continues Piessens, ―The most significant also track the length of time required to new feature of our Business Process complete different versions of the same Platform is its business user–friendly workflow. For example, we can capture that workflow design experience—made version 1 of a workflow takes two days, possible because it’s now much easier to whereas version 2, in which people are rehost the workflow designer that’s within notified twice as often, takes only one day Windows Workflow Foundation outside of to complete.‖
  • ―Our move to the latest Streamlining Application Development and check that the user is authorized to RedPrairie is taking advantage of several perform updates. Dependency-injectionWindows Workflow resources from the Microsoft Patterns & techniques help ensure that the customer Practices library to streamline development, class correctly instantiates and populates allFoundation in the .NET including the Microsoft Enterprise Library, of these objects, especially where theFramework 4 has in- Unity Application Block, and Composite dependencies may be abstract.‖ Application Guidance for Windowscreased developer pro- Presentation Foundation and Silverlight. RedPrairie is using Unity for both com-ductivity significantly.‖ ponents of its Business Process Platform. Enterprise Library. A collection of reusable ―Unity is core to both our client and serverDan Piessens, Software Architect, RedPrairie software components (that is, application code, and we’ve extended it pretty heavily,‖ blocks) that encapsulate proven practices says Piessens. ―Some may question the use for application development on the .NET of Unity for server code, but we’ve found it Framework, the Microsoft Enterprise Library to be up to the task, giving us the high assists software developers with addressing performance we required as well as a highly common issues such as logging, validation, modular and testable application. In fact, data access, and exception handling. Appli- we tested Unity in comparison to an activa- cation blocks are provided as source code, tor class and found very little difference.‖ test cases, and documentation that can be used ―as is‖ or modified by developers. Prism. The Composite Application Guidance for Windows Presentation RedPrairie is using the logging, caching, Foundation and Silverlight (―Prism‖) helps and exception-handling application blocks developers manage the complexity of large on its server code and is using the logging applications by breaking the applications block for its desktop client application. down into smaller, simpler, individually ―We’ve used the Enterprise Libraries for evolvable pieces that come together at several releases, going back as far as runtime. The guidance includes a reference version 3.1,‖ says Piessens. ―We’ve ex- implementation, reusable library code tended its application blocks heavily, (named the Composite Application Library), building custom providers and adding documentation, ―quickstart‖ tasks, and custom design-time support to tailor the hands-on labs. prewritten resources to our needs.‖ ―We used Prism as the user interface Unity. A lightweight, extensible, framework for our client—again taking the dependency-injection container with base library and extending it significantly,‖ support for constructor, property, and says Piessens. ―Prism provides us with a method-call injection, the Unity Application consistent, reliable base architecture for our Block (Unity) helps developers build presentation layer and allows us to focus component-based software applications. on the development of the actual UI rather ―Componentized applications are much than the underlying infrastructure. Auto- easier to maintain, extend, and test—and matic event wiring, command support, and dependency injection provides a way to view presentation allow us to test our UI handle dependencies between objects in code more thoroughly and to create such an application,‖ explains Piessens. ―For modular code that can be shared between example, an object that processes customer the process monitor and process designer.‖ information may depend on other objects that access a data store, validate the data,
  • ―The Patterns & Practices Enhancing Software Quality encing high developer productivity, and RedPrairie also is taking advantage of new enhancing software quality overall.resources we’re using and improved capabilities within Visual Studio 2010 Ultimate itself, such as its Improved User Experience anddefinitely help improve features for helping to ensure code quality. Functionalitysoftware quality because ―Visual Studio 2010 delivers significant RedPrairie’s use of the rehostable workflow improvements in its integrated testing and designer in Windows Workflow Foundationthey enable us to more code coverage tools,‖ says Piessens. ―We’re is giving business users of Business Processeasily build applications using the unit test features extensively. We Platform a powerful visual design environ- also like the automated user interface tests, ment that eliminates the need to writethat are modular and which reduce manual test time and help code. Developers will benefit from theeasy to test.‖ ensure a consistent user experience, even same improvements to the company’s tool at the display level. The test coverage tools set, which will increase developer produc-Dan Piessens, Software Architect, RedPrairie and metrics provided in Visual Studio 2010 tivity yet allow them to continue using the are also great—not only do they show what same, familiar tools. we’re testing but, more importantly, they show what we’re not covering and thus ―Our new design environment will reduce help us guarantee that critical areas of code the time required to develop workflow have been tested.‖ payloads by at least 50 percent, along with extending that capability to nondevel- Piessens also likes the Architecture Explorer opers,‖ says Piessens. ―We’re achieving this feature. ―We use it to visualize the archi- improvement because the design tool com- tecture and make sure the coupling points pletely eliminates the need to write code. are correct,‖ he says. ―This helps ensure that Users see a list of resources, activities, and we’re following our own design guidelines.‖ helpers instead of a list of code files, and they can choose services from a catalog Detachable windows, improved multi- that shows what’s running in our Business monitor support, and other improvements Process Platform.‖ in Visual Studio 2010 also are proving to be useful. ―I use the window-docking features RedPrairie also is improving its product’s a lot,‖ says Piessens. ―The entire Visual support for long-running workflows and Studio IDE seems more flexible—it’s easier reducing performance penalties for fre- to get it to do what I want. It’s also more quently persisted workflows, both of which responsive and stable, which is great for will make the company’s product more developer productivity.‖ useful to customers. ―It’s always a good thing when customers don’t need to worry Benefits as much about performance or inherent Through its use of the latest Microsoft system limitations,‖ says Piessens. ―Instead, development tools and technology, they can focus on using our software to RedPrairie is delivering a new version of its build workflows that model their complex, Business Process Platform that empowers real-world business processes. nondevelopers to design new workflows, increases productivity when using those ―For instance,‖ explains Piessens, ―if a work- workflow design tools, and improves flow step fails because of a Web service performance and flexibility. What’s more, that is not responding, the user can see this the company is delivering those customer failure and choose to reexecute the step benefits quickly and effectively, experi- after the Web service is active again. Or, if a
  • ―Given all the other user has been sent an approval request but definitely help improve software quality leaves the organization before responding, because they enable us to more easily buildbenefits of our move to the business process administrator can applications that are modular and easy to restart the workflow to send a new request test,‖ says Piessens. ―Similarly, theVisual Studio 2010, the to that person’s replacement.‖ Architecture Explorer, code analysis, unitfact that it also helps us test, and code coverage tools in Visual Increased Developer Productivity Studio 2010 are all of great benefit when itto build applications that RedPrairie’s use of the latest Microsoft comes to quality. Developers have confi-are easier to test and development platform is increasing dence that their code is correct and meets developer productivity. ―Windows design expectations, and product managersmore robust is icing on Workflow Foundation in the .NET have greater confidence in the reliability ofthe cake.‖ Framework 4 uses Extensible Application the code base. Given all the other benefits Markup Language instead of code to of our move to Visual Studio 2010, the factDan Piessens, Software Architect, RedPrairie author workflows, which enables devel- that it also helps us to build applications opers to work in a declarative environment that are easier to test and more robust is versus one that’s type compiled,‖ says icing on the cake.‖ Piessens. ―Our move to the latest Windows Workflow Foundation in the .NET Framework 4 has increased developer productivity significantly. It enables developers to focus on the business logic aspects of the code—and to complete projects faster and under budget.‖ The company’s use of Patterns & Practices also helps to reduce time-to-market. ―The Patterns & Practices libraries handle a lot of code infrastructure, enabling us to focus on higher-level functionality,‖ says Piessens. ―Unity provides a great foundation for delivering a loosely coupled application, with modules that are easy to extend, replace, and test. The Enterprise Libraries and Prism also provide a lot of code that we don’t need to build ourselves. Without Patterns & Practices resources, our development times would be at least 30 percent longer.‖ High Software Quality The development framework and tool set that the company chose is helping to ensure software quality in several ways. For one, they are enabling RedPrairie to focus on writing high-quality code without having to purchase third-party tools. ―The Patterns & Practices resources we’re using
  • For More Information Microsoft Visual Studio 2010For more information about Microsoft Microsoft Visual Studio 2010 is anproducts and services, call the Microsoft integrated development system that helpsSales Information Center at (800) 426- simplify the entire development process9400. In Canada, call the Microsoft from design to deployment. Unleash yourCanada Information Centre at (877) 568- creativity with powerful prototyping,2495. Customers in the United States and modeling, and design tools that help youCanada who are deaf or hard-of-hearing bring your vision to life. Work within acan reach Microsoft text telephone personalized environment that helps(TTY/TDD) services at (800) 892-5234. accelerate the coding process and supportsOutside the 50 United States and the use of your existing skills, and target aCanada, please contact your local growing number of platforms, includingMicrosoft subsidiary. To access Microsoft SharePoint Server 2010 andinformation using the World Wide Web, cloud services. Also, work more efficientlygo to: thanks to integrated testing and debuggingwww.microsoft.com tools that you can use to find and fix bugs quickly and easily to help ensure high-For more information about RedPrairie, quality solutions.visit the Web site at:www.redprairie.com For more information about Visual Studio 2010, go to www.msdn.microsoft.com/vstudio Software and Services Technologies Microsoft Visual Studio − Composite Application Guidance for − Microsoft Visual Studio 2010 Windows Presentation Foundation and Ultimate Silverlight − Microsoft Enterprise Library − Microsoft .NET Framework 4 − Unity Application Block − Windows Workflow FoundationThis case study is for informational purposes only.MICROSOFT MAKES NO WARRANTIES, EXPRESS ORIMPLIED, IN THIS SUMMARY.Document published May 2010