workflow tools

Discussion in 'Java' started by Matt, Jul 17, 2004.

  1. Matt

    Matt Guest

    I am new to workflow. I am confused with the tools involved with workflow.
    I have heard terms like workflow engine, workflow monitor, workflow clients.

    My understanding is that workflow monitor monitors the workflow
    engine? Is Sonic MQ or MQ Series are workflow monitors?

    Workflow engine is to tell the system what's the next activity
    to execute?

    Workflow client is to define the flow by drawing the
    flow charts. Workflow client is like a modeling tool?

    Please comments.

    If anyone knows some good resources/tools resources, please advise more.
     
    Matt, Jul 17, 2004
    #1
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  2. Matt

    Andrea Guest

    Hello Matt

    Well the first thing I think that needs to be clarified is what
    workflow actually is. To me, workflow is nothing else but a predefined
    sequential process that is executed asynchronously, i.e. at specific
    point in time that cannot be defined prior to its execution. Now what
    are all those things that you are asking about….. Nothing but tools
    that actually take a simple matter and complicate it ….. that's
    typical human nature. So how does this help you? Not at all – see I
    have complicated the issue as well now. Ok, lets get down to helping
    you. I presume that you have a certain workflow problem that needs to
    be solved programmatically, and that you are looking for a Tool or
    Tools that could help you with this. The issue however is that you are
    looking for a pragmatic solution, aren't well all! Well I have seen an
    interesting tool that presents workflow in a real pragmatic form, and
    also allows you to visually model your workflow by definition of the
    different workflow processes. The product is called revologic, and I
    presume it can be found under www.revologic.com. The last time I had a
    look they also had some really cool online demos. I think it's worth
    having a look.

    With Love
    Andrea

    (Matt) wrote in message news:<>...
    > I am new to workflow. I am confused with the tools involved with workflow.
    > I have heard terms like workflow engine, workflow monitor, workflow clients.
    >
    > My understanding is that workflow monitor monitors the workflow
    > engine? Is Sonic MQ or MQ Series are workflow monitors?
    >
    > Workflow engine is to tell the system what's the next activity
    > to execute?
    >
    > Workflow client is to define the flow by drawing the
    > flow charts. Workflow client is like a modeling tool?
    >
    > Please comments.
    >
    > If anyone knows some good resources/tools resources, please advise more.
     
    Andrea, Jul 17, 2004
    #2
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  3. Matt

    Dave Neary Guest

    Hi,

    On 16 Jul 2004 23:40:24 -0700, Matt said:
    > Workflow engine is to tell the system what's the next activity
    > to execute?
    >
    > Workflow client is to define the flow by drawing the
    > flow charts. Workflow client is like a modeling tool?
    >
    > Please comments.


    In general, a workflow is a modelling of some real-life process.

    One such process might be submitting an expense form. The workflow might
    go along the lines of

    Process Expense Form:

    1) Employee starts process and attaches expense form
    2) Depending on the amount of the expense form,
    - send it direct to accounting
    - send it to department head for validation
    - send it to CFO for validation
    3) If expense form is validated, send it to accounting
    4) In accounting, pay the expenses.
    5) End process (store all relevant info in the accounting database, for
    example).

    In general, things break down in three parts:

    1) Workflow modeler - GUI tool allowing creation of process models
    2) Workflow motor - react to events in a process instance - when someone
    completes some part of a process, move the process along, and do any
    stuff that needs doing (working out decision nodes, or sending alert
    e-mails, or saving information somewhere, for example).
    3) Workflow client - The means by which people advance a process
    instance.

    So in our example, the workflow administrator would first define what
    accounting, CFO, department head and employee meant (who belongs to
    these classes, what rights they have), then define the process itself by
    drawing the flowchart for the process. He'd do this in the workflow
    modeler (something like Enhydra Shark, for example).

    Then the employee will interract with the workflow client, creating a
    process instance, attaching a document to it, and the client will
    inform the workflow engine that the process can be moved on to the
    next stage.

    The workflow engine will move the process on to a decision node, will
    evaluate the information from the employee, and allocate to the task to
    the next person in the chart. And so on.

    Hope this clears things up a bit.

    Cheers,
    Dave.

    --
    David Neary,
    E-Mail: bolsh at gimp dot org
    Work e-mail: d dot neary at phenix dot fr
    CV: http://dneary.free.fr/CV/
     
    Dave Neary, Jul 17, 2004
    #3
  4. Matt

    Dave Neary Guest

    Hi,

    On 17 Jul 2004 20:57:39 GMT, Dave Neary said:
    >> Please comments.


    More comments - you mentioned JMS (well, Sonic MQ) - this is simply a
    message bus - a place where processes can register as listening for
    certain types of message, and other processes can send that type of
    message.

    Thos is often used as the way that the workflow clients communicate with
    the workflow engine, but this doesn't necessarily have to be the case.
    It is just a handy way to separate the communication layer from the
    "business logic" in the workflow client and engine

    Cheers,
    Dave.

    --
    David Neary,
    E-Mail: bolsh at gimp dot org
    Work e-mail: d dot neary at phenix dot fr
    CV: http://dneary.free.fr/CV/
     
    Dave Neary, Jul 17, 2004
    #4
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