The Windows Workflow Foundation (WF) is a framework for building reactive programs that includes its own programming model and a runtime environment that can load into whatever hosting application you want. The inclusion of reusable activities and the Visual Studio workflow designer provides a highly productive foundation for creating programs that automate long-running and episodic business processes.
WSS integrates with the WF in such a way as to hide the plumbing involved in initializing the WF runtime and persisting workflow instances to the content database. WSS also extends the WF to add a human dimension with elements such as task lists, workflow history lists, and workflow input forms. All in all, WSS and the WF together provide a great platform for building business solutions that automate common business processes, such as document approval.
While this chapter has provided you with an introduction to the WF and its integration with WSS, it has only scratched the surface of what you can do. We certainly encourage you to seek further reading and to continue on to more advanced topics, such as creating user-defined activities and developing state machine workflows for WSS-based business solutions. Now it’s time to take the different types of WSS components that you have learned how to create in this book and discover how to package them into ready-made business solutions by using site definitions and solution packages.