Windows Workflow Foundation is one of four major pillars of the recently released .NET Framework 3.0. Although workflow has appeared in Microsoft technologies in the past, it has generally been implemented as a one-off solution specific to a product such as BizTalk or Microsoft Content Management Server. With the release of Windows Workflow Foundation, Microsoft is providing a general use, extensible API for developing process- or workflow-based software solutions. You can think of Windows Workflow Foundation in the same way you think of the .NET Framework: as a general purpose API for building software applications from the ground up.
Windows Workflow Foundation was developed to fill a missing hole in the Microsoft offerings. Workflow-based applications have been developed for many years, but for the most part, the workflow infrastructure has been implemented by using custom code. This, of course, requires that more code be created and maintained over the long term. In addition, this plumbing code isn’t solving any specific business problem. Therefore, frameworks like Windows Workflow Foundation provide the general-purpose infrastructure to enable developers to build workflow-based solutions without having to worry about constructing the underlying workflow logic.
This book gives developers and architects alike everything they need to know to start building Windows Workflow Foundation-based solutions in their organizations. Each major area of the technology is covered through examples and sample code. The goal was to provide a good mix of explanatory material covering what comes out of the box with Windows Workflow Foundation as well as examples of what can be built with the technology.
Because Windows Workflow Foundation is a brand new, version one, product, it remains to be seen how most people will use it. However, based on how Microsoft has positioned the product and how organizations have used workflow techniques in the past, certain assumptions can be made as to how people will use this great new technology. This book aims to provide practical instructions on how to develop workflow-based software as well as how to integrate this software into existing technology landscapes.