Friday, September 17, 2004
Using workflow systems can be interesting. Everyone has a good idea of how to solve the "workflow problem," and it usually involves systems with various different basic features... however most are similar in that the problem doesn't allow for a lot of variety in how it is solved.
In fact, a rather nice reference (if you can tolerate the formality of the language), is a dissertation that compares the features of various commercial workflow systems from a standpoint of the which workflow patterns are supported by the system. A summary and the link to the original document can be found at http://tmitwww.tm.tue.nl/research/patterns/products.htm
One thing that is missed in a discussion of patterns, though, is the distinction between workflow messages, workflow documents and target documents. I find this troubling, because this is one of the key points that caused a rather embarassing project failure (for me personally), when I was attempting to create a workflow solution using Microsoft Biztalk Server.