At the PDC last week, Microsoft announced Windows Workflow Foundation as a key component of WinFX in conjunction with Windows Communication Foundation and Windows Presentation Foundation. This chapter describes the motivation behind Windows Workflow Foundation and provides an overview of its features
Workflow, Tomorrow’s Application Logic
About The Author
Ex-programmer, ex-editor in chief at OSNews.com, now a visual artist/filmmaker.
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2005-09-19 3:14 amsappyvcv
No need to make stupid UML diagrams in Visio anymore!
Yet another unoriginal creation from M$.
In this case, they didn’t even borther to change the name! “Workflow” is the exact terminology used by Automator.
In any case, Automator is already many times more powerful than this simply because it has legacy support for Applescript/OSA as well as Unix shell script.
2005-09-19 5:11 amAnonymous
Automator is refined but its nothing new. Essentially its used to script the some system operations and applications. Folks have been doing the same thing under windows with COM Objects for years, whether its using vbs, cscript, python or php, is pretty common. Those who do it a lot will also say its not enough when you need to glue together a CMS of sorts with multiple applications.
A workflow API component would provide the logic we needed for better scheduling with ease.
2005-09-19 5:53 amValiantSoul
Automator is MUCH different than “vbs, cscript, python or php.” With Automater, if I want to say scale all of the pictures I have selected to width 640, I would open Automater, drag get selected files from the Finder section (Finder is the Mac’s equivilant of Explorer) into the workflow, then drag scale images from the Preview section (our image viewer) into the workflow and set width to 640. Then just select some files in Finder and run the workflow. You can also create workflows that run from the control/right click menu (i.e. select some files, control/right click and run the workflow on those files).
Its extremely easy and requires no code as opposed to “vbs, cscript, python or php”
2005-09-19 7:22 amjessta
ummmm…I have never heard of Toger Automator. I think they need a better marketing department.
Microsoft is legitimate in creating a clone of the application if nobody gets to use it because the company that made it doesn’t market it properly
– Jesse McNelis
2005-09-19 7:27 amValiantSoul
Its not Toger, its Tiger – the original poster mistyped and its created by Apple and included with Mac OS X 10.4 (Tiger). If you know anything about the major new features in 10.4 you know about Automator.
Wow! Eugenia is back in full-force!…that’s good!
Have a look at MS is Days Overdue in their response to reported vulnerabilities:
Hard to detect any workflow in this case it seems.
Is it me, or Microsoft is seriously obsessed with the word “foundation” in its new schemes?
I think that Microsoft heard about Apples Core Foundation and decided that part of their problem was that Windows was not built on one.
Now they have had to jack the whole system up and retrofit a foundation underneath it.
To do this they have to suspend everything by hanging it on assemblies.
Honestly is it possible to tell what Microsoft are focussed on any more, it seems they have taken the ‘campus’ model to far and everyone is working on their own favourite toys, the result lots if interesting books and unfinished operating sytstems.
They need way LESS developers to get this job done.
2005-09-19 1:48 pmn4cer
This is dumb. Using this logic, Apple copied “Foundation” from Microsoft’s use of the term in MFC/WFC among other things.
RE: WWF’s history — it’s been in development for years, originally under the name Windows Orchestration Engine (WinOE).
Workflow is the new buzzword. My boss uses Adobe Creative Suite, and he keeps talking about its workflow.
2005-09-19 10:35 pmjayson.knight
Workflow is far from a new buzzword…any developer who’s been in an IT shop for any trivial amount of time has worked on workflow charts for diagraming data flow, user processes, EDI, etc. These along with use cases are the foundations of distributed application design. Hardly a new concept.
This is not the same thing as Automator. Automater can be and is used by power users, not developers strictly. It’s not something used for developing applications, it’s used to glue tasks together in an automated fashion.
WWF is for developers mainly, and it’s integrated in Visual Studio. It lets you design the logic of your code visually and have it generate the source code for you.
If you can’t understand the fundamental differences there, you shouldn’t be crying wolf.
Just to reiterate, trying to compare WWF to Automator is comparing apples to oranges. I remember that System 7 (and perhaps subsequent releases though I don’t know…S7 was the last Mac OS I used extensively) for Mac had something similar that was basically a macro recorder…hit the play button, do whatever in the GUI, and it would generate an Apple script file for you. I don’t know if Automator is the same thing, but it definitely sounds similar. There are plenty of 3rd party tools for Windows that do the exact same thing (and generate either VBScript or JScript files for you), it’s just not built into the OS.
This is absolutely nothing like WWF…WWF is meant to be a direct competitor to some of Rational’s (acquired by IBM now) suite of software modeling/code generation tools whereby you visually design your application layers/modules/etc, then connect these modules via workflow processes/data flow operations/etc and it spits out the code for you. Of course, this is meant to be more complimentary than supplementary, but it will alleviate a ton of the boilerplate/plumbing code that developers hate writing, and will lend itself to better reusability of components that aren’t tied to a specific business domain space.
One of the problems that people have with the MS apps is that you have to write a lot of automation glue if you want to simulate a workflow (ie. when this mail comes in, have the lawyer sign off, mail it to the customer, blah, blah). What this tool does is allow you to create persistent workflow specifications with basic primitives (ie. send mail, etc). This transforms MS Office from a bunch of random apps into a cohesive workflow automation platform. Sure, it’s been done elsewhere (CRM, etc), but MS will bring it to the masses. Expect this to sell really well.