Windows Workflow Foundation Web Workflow Approvals Starter Kit – A Review
As you might be aware Microsoft had released the WF web workflow approvals starter kit which is a Visual Studio 2005 project that demonstrates using Windows Workflow Foundation for simple task-oriented workflow in an ASP.NET Web application.
I decided to review the starter kit so as to understand how efficiently and easily this starter kit could be used to develop simple task-oriented workflows in ASP.NET web applications. Let me list down my viewpoints on the same.
- For starters, I personally think that the starter kit code is a little complicated to understand for even a developer who has sufficient coding experience on the .Net platform and has basic knowledge of WF. The implementation needs to be simplified, if possible, so that a developer can easily understand the logic. I saw similar concerns being raised on other forums as well.
- To worsen things, the 8 page documentation that comes with the starter kit gives just an overview about the project structure and its contents and doesn’t really help much in understanding the sample and its architecture in detail. A better documentation would really help. But the good news is that the WF team at Microsoft is soon going to release a whitepaper on the starter kit that describes the sample in more detail.
- Another thing which I found interesting is the usage of a custom activity called “User activity”, when I think the out of the box HandleExternalEvent activity could have been used to achieve the same functionality and it would have made the sample look a little more simpler as well. Again this is another question which I found many people raising on different forums.
- The workflow image viewer component that is part of the application is a component that would generate the workflow image at runtime with the currently executing activity highlighted; in PNG format. This I thought was really a cool feature and was something that caught my eye. But was something as advanced as this required in a starter kit? I am really not very sure.
- From a core workflow perspective, things looked very simple and easy to understand; apart from the custom activity which I think could have been done away with.