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  1. 1. Windows Workflow Foundation ORCAS - .NET Framework 3.0 Prepared By: Fazlul Chowdhury, Fortis Alberta Source: ** Windows Vista Technical Articles, Introducing Microsoft Windows Workflow Foundation: An Early Look. David Chappell, Chappell & Associates ** Microsoft .NET Framework 3.0 Resource Site, http://wf.netfx3.com/
  2. 2. Topics Covered <ul><li>What is a Workflow? </li></ul><ul><li>What Workflow Applications Require? </li></ul><ul><li>How to Create a Workflow? </li></ul><ul><li>Windows Workflow Foundation and BizTalk Server </li></ul><ul><li>Windows Workflow Foundation and Windows SharePoint Services </li></ul><ul><li>Conclusion </li></ul>
  3. 3. What is a Workflow? – Part I <ul><li>Windows Workflow Foundation (WF) is the programming model, engine and tools for quickly building workflow enabled applications. WF radically enhances a developer’s ability to model and support business processes. </li></ul>
  4. 4. <ul><li>Virtually all software used in enterprises today has the same goal: supporting business processes. Some processes are entirely automated, relying solely on communication among applications. Others—probably the majority—also rely on people to initiate the process, approve documents the process uses, resolve any exceptional situations that arise, and more. </li></ul>What is a Workflow? – Part II
  5. 5. <ul><li>In either case, it's often possible to specify a discrete series of steps known as a workflow that describes the activities of the people and software involved in the process. Once this workflow has been defined, an application can be built around that definition to support the business process. </li></ul>What is a Workflow? – Part III
  6. 6. Workflow Foundation Components <ul><li>Activity Model </li></ul><ul><li>Workflow Designer </li></ul><ul><li>Workflow Runtime </li></ul><ul><li>Rules Engine </li></ul>
  7. 7. Figure 1. Windows Workflow Foundation components
  8. 8. Activity Model <ul><li>Activities are the building blocks of workflow, think of them as a unit of work that needs to be executed.  </li></ul><ul><li>Workflow is a group of activities that implements all or part of a business process. </li></ul><ul><li>Activity library is fundamental group of activities that developers can use to create workflows </li></ul>
  9. 9. Workflow Designer <ul><li>This is the design surface that you see within Visual Studio, and it allows for the graphical composition of workflows, by placing activities within the workflow model.   </li></ul><ul><li>Graphical tools that can be used to create and modify workflows and activities </li></ul>
  10. 10. Workflow Runtime <ul><li>Our runtime is a light-weight and extensible engine that executes the activities which make up a workflow.  </li></ul><ul><li>A library that executes workflows. The runtime engine also provides other services, such as mechanisms for communicating with software outside the workflow. </li></ul>
  11. 11. Rules Engine <ul><li>Windows Workflow Foundation has a rules engine which enables declarative, rule-based development for workflows and any .NET application to use. </li></ul>
  12. 12. What Workflow Applications Require? – Part I <ul><li>A Microsoft ASP.NET application that displays pages to its users might use a workflow to control the order in which those pages are shown. Doing this can make it easier to change the page flow without changing the pages themselves, as well as cleanly separating the application's user interface from its controlling logic. </li></ul>
  13. 13. What Workflow Applications Require? – Part - II <ul><li>A composite application in a service-oriented environment might implement its core behavior using a workflow. As more and more applications expose their logic through Web services, creating business processes built on those services becomes easier. A workflow technology such as Windows Workflow Foundation provides a foundation for the logic that will invoke those services, knitting them together into a composite application. </li></ul>
  14. 14. <ul><li>An application targeting a specific problem, such as customer relationship management (CRM), or a specific vertical market, such as financial services, might be built around a workflow. This kind of application commonly implements a number of different business processes. Building the logic that drives those processes on a common workflow foundation such as Windows Workflow Foundation can make the application faster to build, quicker to change, and easier to customize. </li></ul>What Workflow Applications Require? – Part - III
  15. 15. Figure 2. Simple workflow-based application for insurance companies
  16. 16. <ul><li>Windows Workflow Foundation workflows can be written directly in code. Workflows can also be defined graphically, with code added where required. To make this possible, Windows Workflow Foundation provides the Workflow Designer , a tool that allows developers to create and modify workflows. As the figure below shows, the Workflow Designer can be hosted in Microsoft Visual Studio 2005. The toolbox on the left contains icons for the base activity library, which can be dragged and dropped onto the design surface to create a workflow. Each activity has properties and events that can be set by a developer in Visual Studio. </li></ul>How to Create a Workflow?
  17. 17. Figure 3. Workflow Designer hosted in Visual Studio 2005
  18. 18. Windows Workflow Foundation and BizTalk Server – Part I <ul><li>Perhaps the most well known Microsoft implementation of workflow today is in BizTalk Server (though BizTalk Server uses the term orchestration rather than workflow). BizTalk Server lets developers create system workflows for business process management (BPM), enterprise application integration (EAI), and business-to-business (B2B) integration. </li></ul>
  19. 19. <ul><li>BizTalk Server and Windows Workflow Foundation have some obvious similarities. To a developer, for example, the BizTalk Server Orchestration Designer looks much like Windows Workflow Foundation's Workflow Designer. </li></ul>Windows Workflow Foundation and BizTalk Server – Part II
  20. 20. Windows Workflow Foundation and Windows SharePoint Services <ul><li>This makes support for workflow a natural extension to the technology. Accordingly, version 3 of WSS, scheduled for release in 2006, will host the Windows Workflow Foundation runtime. Using standard Windows Workflow Foundation tools, such as the Workflow Designer, developers will be able to create workflow applications that address document collaboration and other kinds of information sharing. </li></ul>
  21. 21. Conclusion <ul><li>By building a general framework that supports both human workflow and system workflow, and by making it a standard part of the Windows environment, Microsoft is laying the groundwork for the pervasive use of workflow technology. After years of being relegated to specialized uses and applications, workflow is about to go mainstream. </li></ul>
  22. 22. Thank You