Friday, September 16, 2005

Windows WorkFlow Foundation

Windows Workflow Foundation is the programming model, engine and tools for quickly building workflow enabled applications on Windows. It consists of a WinFX namespace, an in-process workflow engine, and designers for Visual Studio 2005. Windows Workflow Foundation is available (currently in beta) for both client and server versions of Windows. Windows Workflow Foundation includes support for both system workflow and human workflow across a wide range of scenarios including: workflow within line of business applications, user interface page-flow, document-centric workflow, human workflow, composite workflow for service oriented applications, business rule driven workflow and workflow for systems management.
The Windows Workflow Foundation namespace in WinFX is called System.Workflow. Windows Workflow Foundation provides a consistent and familiar development experience with other WinFX technologies such as ASP.NET, Windows Communication Foundation and Windows Presentation Foundation. Windows Workflow Foundation provides full support for Visual Basic .NET and C#, debugging, a graphical workflow designer and the ability to develop your workflow completely in code. Windows Workflow Foundation also provides an extensible model and designer to build custom activities which encapsulate workflow functionality for end-users or for re-use across multiple projects. Windows Workflow Foundation will be used across many future Microsoft products including The Microsoft Office System, BizTalk Server and the Microsoft Dynamics Products (previously known as Microsoft Business Solutions products). Most applications can benefit from the asynchronous state management features of the workflow model, the rapid development features of the designer, the potential for end-user flexibility, and the increased visibility into run-time code execution.
A workflow is a set of activities stored as a model that describe a real world process. Work passes through the model from start to finish and activities might be executed by people or by system functions. Workflow provides a way of describing the order of execution and dependent relationships between pieces of short or long running work. While it is possible to write a workflow completely in code, workflow is often best viewed graphically. Once a workflow model is compiled it can be executed inside any Windows process including console apps, forms- based apps, Windows Services, ASP.NET web sites and web services.
Introducing Windows Workflow FoundationDescribes the functionality and benefits of Microsoft Windows Workflow Foundation, soon to be a standard part of the Microsoft Windows platform. Windows Workflow Foundation provides a general framework for defining workflow, one that can be used in many kinds of applications.
Getting Started with Windows Workflow FoundationLearn about the technologies and features of Microsoft Windows Workflow Foundation that will be of interest to developers in need of creating workflow-driven applications for the Microsoft .NET platform.
Press Release Announcing Windows Workflow Foundation Microsoft announced Windows Workflow Foundation on Sept. 14, 2005, as the programming model, engine and tools for quickly building workflow-enabled applications on Windows. Read the entire press release here.
Try out Windows Workflow Foundation online at MSDN VirtualLabThe Visual Studio Hosted Experience lets you quickly evaluate developing with Windows Workflow Foundation with an online 1 hour hands on lab. You can work through this lab without installing anything on your local computer.
Download the Beta 1 of the Microsoft Visual Studio 2005 Extensions for Windows Workflow FoundationThe Microsoft Visual Studio 2005 Extensions for Windows Workflow Foundation are the tools you need to develop workflow based applications now. Visual Studio 2005 Beta 1 is required for this download. The download page also has links to the full WinFX download which includes Windows Workflow Foundation.
Join WebCasts on Windows Workflow FoundationCome join our planned (and past) webcasts for Windows Workflow Foundation. These start the week of the PDC with an introduction talk and continue shortly thereafter with the Week of Workflow WebCasts later in September 2005.
Download a set of 12 Hands-On Labs to try on your machineAt the Professional Developers Conference we had 12 labs for attendees to try Windows Workflow Foundation. These labs have been made available for you to download and use on your machine.
Take a DevelopMentor Training CourseGet an in-depth look at developing software using Microsoft's new workflow framework at DevelopMentor's "Essential Windows Workflow Foundation" course (4 days).
Presenting Windows Workflow Foundation published by Sams Publishing This introductory book covers Windows Workflow Foundation at an introductory level for a current .NET developer. All code examples are explained so that you can read the book without a computer, or you can download the samples and work through them while you read.
Participate in the Windows Workflow Foundation CommunityJoin the community of developers building workflow based applications. The community web site includes forums, downloads and many other interesting things.
Microsoft Employee Workflow Centric BlogsScott Woodgate: http://blogs.msdn.com/scottwoo Paul Andrew: http://blogs.msdn.com/pandrew
Come to the Business Process Integration & Workflow ConferenceYou are invited to our Business Process Integration & Workflow conference where we will have an entire track dedicated to Windows Workflow Foundation. This conference is October 4–7, 2005, in Redmond, Washington. It is open to Microsoft System Integration Partners and Customers accompanied by System Integration Partners. Partners should use the registration code "MSP-01" and customers should use the registration code "MSC-01". Space is limited; see the linked Web page for full details.

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