Browse Prior Art Database

Improved Program Execution in Workflow Management System Disclosure Number: IPCOM000012983D
Original Publication Date: 1999-Dec-01
Included in the Prior Art Database: 2003-Jun-11
Document File: 3 page(s) / 37K

Publishing Venue


Related People

Frank Leymann: AUTHOR [+2]


1 Introduction

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This is the abbreviated version, containing approximately 49% of the total text.

Page 1 of 3

Improved Program Execution in Workflow Management System

1 Introduction

Workflow management systems support the definition and execution of business
processes. Those business processes are made up of a set of activities. The
sequence in which these activities are executed is specified via control
connectors. Control connectors connect one activity, the source activity, with
another activity, the target activity.

     Each activity is associated with a staff assignment. When the activity
is processed during execution, this staff assignment is resolved into a set of
person. Each of the selected persons is assigned a workitem, that when
selected causes the appropriate activity implementation to be invoked.

     The activity implementation is passed the structure information of the
input container, the data in the input container, and the structure
information of the output container. If the workflow management system
implements a distributed structure in the sense that execution of an activity
implementation is done by one component and navigation through the process
graph is done by another component.

     Thus, the structure information for the input and output container must
be exchanged between the two component for each activity implementation that
is invoked. Since a user typically only deals with a
limited set of workitems and therefore with activity implementations, very
often the same structure
information is exchanged between the two components components.

     Whether this involves transmitting this information over the network,
depends on the actual setup of the workflow management system. Customizing
options typically allow the placement of the different components onto the
same or onto different processors. In the standard client/server setup, that
workflow management system implements, the execution of the activity
implementation is done on the client, whereas the navigation of processes is
performed on the server.

     This software patent application proposes a method to reduce the amount
of information that needs to be transmitted between the component that invokes
the activity implementation and the navigation engine.

2 State of the Art

When the workflow management system reaches an activity during navigation
through a process graph, it performs taff resolution for the staff assignment
associated with the activity. This staff resolution results in a set of
persons, that will be assigned to perform the task. This assignment is
indicated to each of the selected persons by assigning a workitem to them.
When a user selects a workitem, the task is assigned to the user and the
appropriate activity implementation is invoked.

     Two components are involved in processing the invocation of activity
implementations. The first komponent is the navigation engine that navigates
through the process graph. The second component is the program executor, that
actually invokes the activity implementation. When the navigation engine has
determined which activity implementation needs to be executed...