Friday, May 2, 2008

Workflow Basics


  • A defined series of steps
  • States and events that define a process
  • Long running: workflows are different from normal programs, they involve people and unlike most systems, they don't have necessarily defined a single start point and defined a single end point. They might pause for a long period of time or never even complete.
  • Can bridge multiple systems, people and organizations

Sharepoint Workflows

  • List item or document centric
  • Task oriented: Sharepoint workflows are designed for people to be involved and they are gonna provide their input and modification to the workflow via the Sharepoint Task List.
  • Capable of interfacing with external systems

Types of Workflows

  • Sequential workflow
    • Similar to a flow chart
    • Sequence of activities
    • Branches and loops
    • Defined beginning and end
    • Can become complex quickly
  • State Machine workflow
    • States and transitions between states
    • Event driven
    • Effective in complex scenarios

Workflow vs. List Events

  • List events have no UI
  • Workflows are completely asynchronous.
  • List events are attached with features
  • Can attach workflow in the browser
  • Events are tightly coupled
  • Workflows are generally more complex


  • WSS 3.0
    • Forms developed in ASPX
  • MOSS Enterprise or Forms Server 2007
    • Forms developed in ASPX or InfoPath
  • Visual Studio 2005
    • Visual Studio Extensions for .Net Framework 3.0
  • Visual Studio 2008
  • MOSS SDK and ECM Starter Kit

Forms Options

  • WSS and MOSS Standard
    • ASPX Forms
  • MOSS Enterprise and Forms Server 2007
    • ASPX Forms
    • InfoPath Forms

Possible Workflow Elements

  • Workflow
  • Association Form
  • Initiation Form
  • Modification Form
  • Task Edit Form
  • Status Page

Workflow Runtime

  • Workflow Foundation
  • Managed by System.Workflow.Runtime.dll
  • Interfaces for
    • Scheduling
    • Persistence
    • Tracking
    • Communications
    • Transactions
  • Implementation depends on the host of the workflow.
  • Sharepoint is a workflow host.

Host Responsibilities

  • Implementation of provider interfaces
    • Scheduling
    • Persistence
    • Tracking
    • Communication
    • Transaction
    • Security
  • User Interface
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