The blog of Eric Sibly; focusing on mountain biking, .NET development for the Desktop, Smartphone and PocketPC.

Monday, June 26, 2006

Windows Workflow (WF) Hosting…

My current engagement has me writing a paper (Microsoft Word is my new IDE) on a Lotus Notes to Microsoft application migration. Specifically, targeting SharePoint, InfoPath and custom – from the analysis to date it seems that the new versions of these products (SharePoint 2007 and InfoPath 2007) offer the best fit. Primarily due to the Workflow capability within SharePoint and the forms services within InfoPath (i.e. you no longer need the InfoPath client to run forms; they will run in a browser).

To me the most exciting aspect of all of this is the workflow hosting by Windows SharePoint Services V3 (a freely downloadable component for Windows). A developer introduction article has been published the highlights the capability; the following extract provides a pretty good summary of the capability.

The WF run-time engine provides the services that every workflow application needs, such as sequencing, state management, tracking capabilities, and transaction support. The WF run-time engine serves as a state machine responsible for loading and unloading workflows, as well as managing the current state of any workflows that are running. WF allows any application process or service container to run workflows by hosting WF—that is, loading WF within its process.
So does that mean we can use SharePoint Services for hosting all of our workflow where we require the likes of state management, etc.? I am not so sure; maybe someone else can add some more light on the subject – it would be fantastic if you could.


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