Windows Workflow

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Presentation from Christoph Vollmer to the Christchurch .Net User Group.

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Windows Workflow

  1. 1. PRESENTED BY Why Workflow? April 2014 Christoph Vollmer
  2. 2. Introduction What is a Workflow? Why Workflow? Our Journey Summary and Questions Agenda
  3. 3. Who is PayGlobal? • Market-leading provider of payroll and HR solutions in Australia and NZ • Paying over 500,000 staff, 520+ clients, 850+ sites • Over 20 years experience in workforce management solutions • 120+ staff - Christchurch, Auckland, Sydney, Melbourne and Perth • Microsoft Gold Partner
  4. 4. Who is PayGlobal?
  5. 5. What is a Workflow? • Movement of work items through a sequence of actions or tasks • People – Initiate process – Action something – Resolve exceptions • Software – Workflow framework, several different frameworks available for different platforms
  6. 6. Why a Workflow framework? • Business Process Automation via business logic declared in flexible Workflows • Less logic hardcoded • Less technical users can: – Inspect logic – Make changes – Visualize and Track • Persisting and resuming workflows  MS Workflow
  7. 7. Why Workflow framework / product? • Enforce business processes consistently • Streamline cost and time • Approvals, notifications • Monitor and track status of workflows
  8. 8. Example Law firm – Information-intensive – Document-driven – All workflows similar but different for each law firm / attorney
  9. 9. What is MS Workflow Windows Workflow Foundation From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia: “Windows Workflow Foundation (WF) is a Microsoft technology that provides an API, an in-process workflow engine, and a rehostable designer to implement long-running processes as workflows within .NET applications.” Too complex for a short presentation.
  10. 10. Our Workflow Journey 2003 • Original Self Service website 2009 • Prototyping on WF4 Beta 2010 • Built Workflow Engine and first modules 2011 • Exolvo launched on Workflow 2012 • New Workflow Modules • Microsoft Workflow TAP 2013 • Notification Flows
  11. 11. Why Workflow at PayGlobal? • Needed greater configurability in the product • Customer business processes varied a lot • Good fit for processes in industry vertical (HRIS) • Long running business processes • Generic codebase • Best practice templates
  12. 12. How we use it • Employee Self Service – Hazards / Incidents – Leave Requests – Timesheets – Allowances – etc. • Conditional workflows • Time sensitive • Stop processing of workflow until a date is reached • Example: Send reminder email after three days of no action
  13. 13. PayGlobal specific types of Workflow • Form Flow – HTML UI – Not persisted to database • Process Flow – Background – Persisted to database • Notification Flow – Background – Not persisted MS Workflow only knows about “Workflow”!
  14. 14. Form Flow
  15. 15. Process Flow
  16. 16. Notification Flow
  17. 17. PayGlobal Workflow Engine • Executes business processes • Schedules, executes, persists • Manages data (arguments and variables) • Interprets events e.g. due dates expiring • Maintains state of long running processes
  18. 18. PayGlobal Workflow Designer • Used by consultants to configure workflows • Stores history of all changes
  19. 19. PayGlobal Workflow Designer
  20. 20. PayGlobal Workflow Designer
  21. 21. PayGlobal Workflow Designer
  22. 22. Form Flow (HTML UI via Workflow)
  23. 23. Custom Activity Library • Domain Specific Language (DSL) • Ecosystem around MS workflow platform • Reusable custom activities • Consultants operate in Core Domain
  24. 24. Challenges • Versioning – Improvements with .NET WF 4.5 • WF API Complexity – polling for expired workflows • Steep learning curve - Developers and Consultants • Unit Testing Activities – Use thin facades instead
  25. 25. The Tech Stack • ESS .NET 4.5 Web Forms Custom MVC (xml config) • Workflow Engine .NET 4.5 (WF + WCF) + Ninject, Automapper, nHibernate etc. • Workflow Designer .NET 4.5, WPF • SQL Server
  26. 26. Summary • Long running business processes that need to configurable • Non-developers can make changes • Great flexibility (Form Flow) • Core domain building blocks = powerful, expressive • Look out for up-to-date documentation (.NET 4.5!)
  27. 27. Questions
  28. 28. References PayGlobal TAP Case study http://www.microsoft.com/casestudies/Case_Study_Detail.aspx?CaseStudyID=710000001560 PayGlobal Exolvo www.payglobal.com/exolvo Visual design of workflows tinyurl.com/6behpp7 Rehosting The Workflow Designer https://tinyurl.com/7495qpu What’s new in Windows Workflow Foundation 4.5 https://tinyurl.com/ne9vhbp christoph.vollmer@payglobal.com info@payglobal.com www.payglobal.com

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