PRObooks

 

Foundations of WF

With the release of Microsoft Vista, a whole new set of powerful technologies are available to the .NET programmer. One of these technologies is Windows Workflow Foundation (WWF, or WF for short). WF was designed to make the construction, execution, and maintenance of application and business process workflows easier and more standardized across systems and organizations. Using a Visio-style workflow palette combined with VB or C# code, .NET developers can leverage WF to create complex workflows in a fraction of the time it would take to codify without the assistance of the WF framework. Additionally, WF supplies developers with the added benefit of built-in transaction management and error trapping logic that would consume an inordinate amount of the busy programmer s time.

 

One of the first books out that is exclusively devoted to the subject is by author Brian Myers, a Microsoft Certified Developer. Written for experienced .NET developers, Foundations of WF: An Introduction to Windows Workflow Foundation introduces the WF components accompanied by VB and C# code examples (although VB is the language of priority in the book).

 

Foundations of WF begins with an introduction to the types of workflows defined by Microsoft, these being Sequential and State Machine, and installing the Visual Studio 2005 Extensions for Windows Workflow Foundation. Note that while these extensions work with .NET 2.0, they only execute on Windows Vista, thereby making that OS an essential requirement. Thus, WF applications must be developed using VS 2005 on Vista exclusively. Chapter 2 is a tutorial on creating the two types of Console-based workflow applications, as well as a stub for a database-driven order processing system that is more comprehensively fleshed out throughout the ensuing seven chapters. The book culminates in Chapter 10 with the construction of an employee performance review application that demonstrates all the programming logic and nuances that WF offers. The last chapter in the book quickly reviews the WWF integration with Microsoft Office 2007, requiring SharePoint 2007 as the middleman glue to coordinate activities between the participating Office applications (creating and deploying an InfoPath form to a SharePoint server is the primary example given in the chapter). Overall, the book does a good job of introducing WF with a few baseline examples, but, frankly, does little more that. It also fails to passionately excite the reader with why this technology is so cool in the first place.

 

Foundations of WF is a precursor to Apress follow up title, ProWF: Windows Workflow in .NET 3.0. As such, Foundations is an expensive introduction to the subject. While the book does accomplish its objective of orienting the reader with WF s moving parts, it s as if it was written with the intent to be included in a larger book on the subject. Now that Vista has been released to the public, there s no doubt that the programming book floodgates on the OS and its various new features will eventually overwhelm the avid technologist. Forward thinkers can get a head start on WF, but will pay the early adopter price for the privilege.

 

Mike Riley

 

Rating:

Title: Foundations of WF: An Introduction to Windows Workflow Foundation

Author: Brian R. Myers

Publisher: Apress

ISBN: 1-59059-718-4

Web Site: http://www.apress.com/book/bookDisplay.html?bID=10172

Price: US$34.99

Page Count: 240

 

 

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