Learning Windows Workflow Foundation

Recently, I collected some links and resources about Windows Workflow Foundation, the Microsoft workflow engine that is part of the upcoming .NET 3.0 platform. You can find more detailed information at

http://msdn.microsoft.com/workflow

The engine can run on any NET 2.0 installation. You need to download and install it from the above link. Currently, WWF is a set of new namespaces (System.Workflow.*), and utilities (like Workflow Designer) that you can run and use from Visual Studio 2005.

The site dedicated to WWF from Microsoft, is:

http://wf.netfx3.com/

If you want to study about this engine, I can suggest some links, from my developer link bag:

Windows Workflow Reference
http://msdn2.microsoft.com/en-us/netframework/aa663322.aspx

Windows Workflow Overview

You must read the documentation of the product at
Windows Workflow Foundation General Reference

The detailed list of classes at
Windows Workflow Foundation Class Library

In these  articles, Dino Esposito gives an introduction to WWF, with WinForm and ASP.NET examples:
Cutting Edge: Windows Workflow Foundation
Cutting Edge: Windows Workflow Foundation, Part 2

Hosting Windows Workflow
http://www.odetocode.com/Articles/457.aspx
WWF runs in a host. In this article, you’ll find a detailed explanation of the alternatives to host a WWF runtime.

From TheServerSide.net:

Enterprise _NET Community Manage Application Processes with Windows Workflow Foundation
http://www.theserverside.net/tt/articles/showarticle.tss?id=ManageAppProcesses

Will work for process: Create and run WF workflows
http://www.theserverside.net/tt/articles/showarticle.tss?id=WorkforProcess

A new article from Microsoft:
Web Service Workflows Deploy Distributed Business Processes With Windows Workflow And Web Services — MSDN Magazine, October 2006
http://msdn.microsoft.com/msdnmag/issues/06/10/WebServiceWorkflows/default.aspx

WWF can persist the status and tracks the workflow instance history. An interesting discussion at:
WWF Persistance Status
http://forums.microsoft.com/MSDN/ShowPost.aspx?PostID=774811&SiteID=1

You can write state machine-based workflows:
State Machines In Windows Workflow
http://www.odetocode.com/Articles/460.aspx

Bart De Smet has a blog category on WWF, with articles:

Getting started with Windows Workflow Foundation (WF)
http://community.bartdesmet.net/blogs/bart/archive/2006/08/27/4278.aspx

How to make a workflow dynamic – Part 1
http://community.bartdesmet.net/blogs/bart/archive/2006/08/28/4322.aspx

How to make a workflow dynamic – Part 2
http://community.bartdesmet.net/blogs/bart/archive/2006/08/31/4369.aspx

Exposing a workflow through a web service
http://community.bartdesmet.net/blogs/bart/archive/2006/09/03/4388.aspx

Exposing a workflow via WCF
http://community.bartdesmet.net/blogs/bart/archive/2006/09/04/4392.aspx

Tom Lake, who worked on the WWF SDK, has a lot of information, about custom activities, XAML activation, and WWF in general. Some articles:

Assorted Windows Workflow  XAML activation and how to use it
http://blogs.msdn.com/tomlake/archive/2006/05/02/588756.aspx

Switch Activity
http://blogs.msdn.com/tomlake/archive/2006/08/30/Switch-activity.aspx

Basics of Working with Custom Types in Workflow
http://blogs.msdn.com/tomlake/archive/2006/07/17/668507.aspx

Assorted Windows Workflow  Do you want to invoke another workflow but you won’t know which one until runtime
http://blogs.msdn.com/tomlake/archive/2006/07/14/666287.aspx

Assorted Windows Workflow  Do you need to launch another process from your workflow
http://blogs.msdn.com/tomlake/archive/2006/07/14/666159.aspx

Assorted Windows Workflow  How to set activity property from a custom input form
http://blogs.msdn.com/tomlake/archive/2006/06/05/618185.aspx

Assorted Windows Workflow  Couple of custom activities that you can use to synchronize branches of a ParallelActivity
http://blogs.msdn.com/tomlake/archive/2006/05/04/590225.aspx

Assorted Windows Workflow  Have you had problems using the FileWatcher sample in a StateMachineWorkflow or WhileActivity
http://blogs.msdn.com/tomlake/archive/2006/05/02/588575.aspx

Assorted Windows Workflow  How to send data to a workflow
http://blogs.msdn.com/tomlake/archive/2006/06/02/614492.aspx

Assorted Windows Workflow  Project template for XAML Activation Console Application
http://blogs.msdn.com/tomlake/archive/2006/05/18/601271.aspx

Assorted Windows Workflow  Examples of using Persistence and Tracking in ASP_NET
http://blogs.msdn.com/tomlake/archive/2006/05/17/600143.aspx

Assorted Windows Workflow  Using XAML activation in ASP_NET with a StateMachineWorkflow
http://blogs.msdn.com/tomlake/archive/2006/05/08/592554.aspx

The workflow implementation has a rule engine. Some links about this subject:

Introduction to the Windows Workflow Foundation Rules Engine
http://msdn.microsoft.com/windowsvista/reference/default.aspx?pull=/library/en-us/dnlong/html/intWF_FndRlsEng.asp

Windows Workflow: Rules and Conditions
http://www.odetocode.com/Articles/458.aspx

WWF: Comparing WWF rules and the Microsoft Business Rule Engine
http://www.topxml.com/BizTalk-Rule-Engine/re-16296_WWF–Comparing-WWF-rules-and-the-Microsoft-Business-Rule-Engine.aspx

WF: Comparing WF rules and the Microsoft Business Rule Engine  
http://geekswithblogs.net/cyoung/articles/56488.aspx

Rules Examples
Examples from Microsoft. Some special ones:

External Ruleset Demo (beta 2.2)
http://wf.netfx3.com/files/folders/rules_samples/entry309.aspx
The External Ruleset Toolkit demonstrates how to store rulesets in an external SQL Server database and load them at runtime for use by a Policy activity.

Rules Driven UI
http://wf.netfx3.com/files/folders/rules_samples/entry819.aspx
This sample will demonstrate this capability by using rulesets to pre-populate fields, do cross validation and various calculations on a target Windows Form. We will also show rules features such as forward chaining in this sample.

About rule engines in general:

Use Rules In Your Applications
http://www.codeproject.com/useritems/Rules_In_Your_Apps.asp
A Rules Engine class library with source code and documentation

Using a Rules Engine to separate Business rules from the application
http://www.codeproject.com/useritems/Using_a_Rules_Engine.asp

Some interesting discussion at Microsoft forums:

Re Trouble with WebService and Persistence – MSDN Forums
http://forums.microsoft.com/MSDN/ShowPost.aspx?PostID=292683&SiteID=1

Using the Rules Engine with complex data containers – MSDN Forums
http://forums.microsoft.com/MSDN/ShowPost.aspx?PostID=320688&SiteID=1

Re 3 layered architecture – Where to house rules – MSDN Forums
http://forums.microsoft.com/MSDN/ShowPost.aspx?PostID=263825&SiteID=1

More links about WWF

How to lock a workflow instance using SqlWorkflowPersistenceService?http://blogs.msdn.com/sonalic/archive/2006/04/28/586498.aspx

Managing Workflow’s Lifecycle
http://blogs.msdn.com/moustafa/archive/2006/03/02/542459.aspx

Microsoft Windows Workflow Foundation (WWF)
http://www.kainos.com/index.php?option=com_knowledge&task=view&id=29&Itemid=116

Ajax based Workflow Monitor
http://www.masteringbiztalk.com/blogs/jon/PermaLink,guid,a423e010-647b-4a32-8dfe-071bf6f43705.aspx

Angel “Java” Lopez
http://www.ajlopez.com/en

10 thoughts on “Learning Windows Workflow Foundation

  1. Alex

    Hi Angel,
    I just went to the launchig of the new platform the last Friday. This entry is a very useful resource for learn about WWF.
    Gr8 work!

    Reply
  2. DigitalKn

    Angel,
    Nice work in consolidating the WF resources. It is very helpful in learning better about this framework

    Thanks

    Reply
  3. Eric

    Very useful info – thanks for posting it. FYI: If you’re ever in need of a great Windows web host, we signed up with Server Intellect – they are one of the few that is Microsoft Gold Certified — and have the Windows Server 2008 ‘Longhorn’ on all Dedicated Servers. You probably know that Windows Server 2008 is the biggest upgrade so far. They’re tech support makes it really easy for our developers to handle whatever we need.

    Reply
  4. Pingback: Learning .Net 3.0 « Roman’s Blog

  5. Barrett

    What’s Gooing own i’m new too this, I sumbled uoon this I’ve fond
    It positivly useful annd it haas aided me out loads.
    I aam hoping to conteibute & assist other userss ike its helped me.
    Grwat job.

    Reply
  6. ejercicios01.Com

    Hola

    Esta genial tu redacción y hay cuantiosas cosas que no conocía que me has
    aclarado, esta genial.. te quería devolver el espacio que dedicaste, con unas infinitas
    gracias, por aconsejar a gente como yo jojojo.

    Besos, saludos

    Reply

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