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Programming Windows Workflow Foundation: Practical WF Techniques and Examples using XAML and C#

K. Scott Allen

A C# developer's book and eBook guide to the features and programming interfaces of Windows Workflow Foundation
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Book Details

ISBN 139781904811213
Paperback252 pages

About This Book

  • Add event-driven workflow capabilities to your .NET applications.
  • Highlights the libraries, services and internals programmers need to know
  • Builds a practical  "bug reporting" workflow solution example app

Who This Book Is For

This book is for .NET developers who want to enhance their applications with flexible workflow capabilities using Microsoft Windows Workflow Foundation. The author assumes that you have read other texts on the overall architecture of WF and on WF application design strategies, and instead focuses on real-work implementation issues for C# developers.

Table of Contents

Chapter 1: Hello, Workflow
Building Workflow Solutions
A Windows Workflow Tour
Our First Workflow
Chapter 2: Authoring Workflows
Pure Code
Objects and Their Relationships
Code and XAML Together
Chapter 3: Sequential Workflows
The SequenceActivity
Workflows and the Outside World
Chapter 4: The Base Activity Library
The Basics
Local Communication Events
Fault Handling
Transactions and Compensation
Conditions and Rules
Web Services
State Activities
Chapter 5: Custom Activities
Why Would I Build Custom Activities?
How Do I Build Custom Activities?
Activity Composition
Dependency Properties
Activity Execution
Chapter 6: Workflow Hosting
The Workflow Runtime
Scheduling Services
Persistence Services
Tracking Services
Persistence and Tracking Together
Chapter 7: Event-Driven Workflows
What Is a State Machine?
State Machines in Windows Workflow
Our First State Machine
Inspecting State Machines
Hierarchical State Machines
Chapter 8: Communication in Workflows
Local Communication Services Redux
Web Service Communication
Chapter 9: Rules and Conditions
What are Rules and Conditions?
Working with Conditions
Working with Rules

What You Will Learn

  • Create an example "bug reporting" workflow solution using the techniques and skills gained from each chapter
  • Understand what Windows WF is, and what it can do for you
  • Learn about the runtime services available in Windows WF
  • Author workflows with C#, and with XAML, the extensible application markup language
  • Use the workflow compiler to better understand how WF uses code generation to produce classes from workflow markup
  • Combine generated workflow code with our hand-written code to produce a workflow type
  • Learn about the events fired by the workflow runtime during the life of a workflow instance
  • Build workflows that accept parameters and communicate with a host process by invoking methods and listening for events
  • Learn about each activity in the Windows WF base activity library; the control flow activities, communication activities, and transaction-oriented activities
  • Learn about web service activities, rule-centric activities, and state activities
  • Creating custom activities using both a compositional approach and a derivation approach
  • Master the execution context, a vital ingredient for creating any robust activity
  • Learn about the workflow runtime, workflow diagnostics, and the out-of-the-box services provided for WF by Microsoft.
  • Using scheduling services, persistence services, and tracking services
  • Select and configure the services needed for a wide variety of scenarios and environments
  • Use local services for communication with a host process, and web service activities for communication across a network
  • Uncover the queuing service used behind the scenes of a workflow to coordinate and deliver messages
  • Create rules and conditions in Windows Workflow Foundation
  • Understand the role of business rules in software development and see examples of how Windows WF's rules engine can take away some of the burden of rule development

In Detail

Windows Workflow Foundation (WF) is a technology for defining, executing, and managing workflows. It is part of the .NET Framework 3.0 and will be available natively in the Windows Vista operating system.

Windows Workflow Foundation might be the most significant piece of middleware to arrive on the Windows platform since COM+ and the Distributed Transaction Coordinator. The difference is, not every application needs a distributed transaction, but nearly every application does have a workflow encoded inside it.

In this book, K Scott Allen, author of renowned .NET articles at, provides you with all the information needed to develop successful products with Windows Workflow.

From the basics of how Windows Workflow can solve the difficult problems inherent in workflow solutions, through authoring workflows in code, learning about the base activity library in Windows Workflow and the different types of workflow provided, and on to building event-driven workflows using state machines, workflow communications, and finally rules and conditions in Windows Workflow, this book will give you the in-depth information you need. Throughout the book, an example "bug reporting" workflow system is developed, showcasing the technology and techniques used.


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