An Introduction to Windows Workflow Foundation
page 5 of 7
by Joydip Kanjilal
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Architecture of the Windows Workflow Foundation Framework

The basic architecture of Windows Workflow Foundation is comprised of the following layers.

·         The Hosting Layer

·         The Runtime Layer

·         The Workflow Model Layer

The Hosting Layer is one that provides pluggable interfaces between Windows Workflow and a specific host.  Note that a host can be a Web Application, a Web Service, etc.  The services provided by this layer include:

·         Persistence services

·         Thread support

·         Communication Support

·         Timer services

The Runtime Layer is a non-pluggable layer as is the core of the WWF architecture and is responsible for Workflow management and Workflow Execution.  The basic services provided by this layer include the following.

·         Workflow Execution

·         Workflow State Management

·         Workflow Activity Scheduling

·         Rules and Policy Management

The Workflow Model Layer provides the API for working with Windows Workflow Foundation in .NET framework.  Basically, the Workflow Model Layer defines two models.

·         The Sequential Workflow Model

·         The State Machine Workflow Model

The following sections discuss both these models with a self explanatory diagram in each case.

The Sequential Workflow Model

The Sequential Workflow model is used to depict structured workflows like a System to System Workflow.  The steps in such a Workflow Model are organized in a sequence.

Figure 1

The State Machine Workflow Model

In this type of a non-deterministic, non-sequential people centric Workflow Model, we find a representation of states and transitions between these states that typically represent a Workflow. The State Machine workflow Model is also known as the State Driven Workflow Model.  The diagram shown in the figure below illustrates a typical State Machine Workflow Model.

Figure 2

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User Comments

Title: Author's Response   
Name: Joydip
Date: 2006-12-15 3:20:57 AM

This article was just an intorductory one for learners who have no knowledge of WWF whatsoever. Hence was just a preliminary article dealing with the basics. Stay tuned for more.
Title: Why was this article written?   
Name: me
Date: 2006-12-09 6:35:33 PM
Complete waste of space and time. This article does nothing to increase the reader's knowledge in any way. The "self explanatory" diagrams were good for a laugh though.

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