Using Windows Workflow Foundation 4 in ASP.NET 4.0 webapplications

OData support
Balássy György Miklós
Department of Automation and Applied Informatics

Designing and implementing the business logic tier in multi-tier applications is usually the most challenging part of application writing. The Microsoft Windows Workflow Foundation provides a declarative framework for building application logic and gives a higher level language for handling complex processing. Although it can be used for building any kind of business logic, the best use of the framework is to design and run long living, interactive business workflows. However, the previous versions of the framework were not successful enough among developers, so the new version came through an entire revision, which makes it necessary to study the new version of the framework.

The Microsoft ASP.NET provides classes and tools for creating dynamic web applications. In the older versions of the .NET Framework, the cooperation between Workflow Foundation and ASP.NET technologies was difficult, due to the significant functional dissimilarities between them. An important question is how the new version of the Workflow Foundation framework collaborates with ASP.NET.

Creating a complex application which uses these two technologies is a good way for both reviewing the new Workflow Foundation version, and to analyze the collaboration between the technologies. To achieve this goal, I chose create a thesis administration application. The thesis writing process can be considered as a long living, interactive business workflow, which can be implemented with Workflow Foundation, and the administration of the process can be done through an ASP.NET web application.

The goal of this work is to review the application designing and creating process in detail. I introduce the solutions I constructed to implement the thesis writing process in Workflow Foundation. I also demonstrate the problems I discovered during the analysis of the collaboration between the Workflow Foundation and ASP.NET technologies.


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