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Method for Improving Condition Processing in A Workflow Management System

IP.com Disclosure Number: IPCOM000014183D
Original Publication Date: 2000-Mar-01
Included in the Prior Art Database: 2003-Jun-19
Document File: 3 page(s) / 75K

Publishing Venue

IBM

Abstract

1 Introduction Workflow management, as for example implemented by MQSeries Workflow , involves the three dimensions as shown in figure 2. The first dimension, the process logic dimension describes the actions to be performed, by whom they have to be performed, with which program they have to be performed, and in which sequence they have to be performed. The second dimension describes the organizational structure, the people, the roles the people are playing, and the server the people are assigned to. The third dimension describes the IT infrastructure, such as the workflow servers, and the workstations/programs used by the users. The actual execution of a workflow is then a series of points in the three-dimensional workflow space. Each point represents the execution of an activity by one person at one computer using a particular program. The major constructs in drawing processes are activities and control connectors. The activities describe the tasks to be performed, and the control connectors describe the potential sequence in which the activities are to be carried out. Figure 2 shows schematically the structure of such a process graph.

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Method for Improving Condition Processing in A Workflow Management System

1 Introduction

Workflow management, as for example implemented by MQSeries Workflow , involves the three dimensions as shown in figure 2. The first dimension, the process logic dimension describes the actions to be performed, by whom they have to be performed, with which program they have to be performed, and in which sequence they have to be performed. The second dimension describes the organizational structure, the people, the roles the people are playing, and the server the people are assigned to. The third dimension describes the IT infrastructure, such as the workflow servers, and the workstations/programs used by the users.

   The actual execution of a workflow is then a series of points in the three-dimensional workflow space. Each point represents the execution of an activity by one person at one computer using a particular program.

   The major constructs in drawing processes are activities and control connectors. The activities describe the tasks to be performed, and the control connectors describe the potential sequence in which the activities are to be carried out. Figure 2 shows schematically the structure of such a process graph.

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     Activities are represented as named circles; the name typically describes the purpose of the activity. Activities come in various flavors to address the different tasks that may need to be performed. They may have different activity implementations to meet these diverse needs. Program activities are performed by an assigned program, process activities are performed by another process, and blocks implement a macro with a built-in do-until loop.

     The process and each activity is associated with an input and an output container. Control connectors are represented as arrows; the head of the arrow describes the direction in which the flow of control is moving through the process. The activity where the control connector starts is called the source activity; where it ends is called the target activity. When more than one control connector leaves an activity, this indicates potentially parallel work.

     Processing of the process graph is generally called navigation. It starts with the processing of the start activities. After an activity has been processed, navigation continues by following the outgoing control connectors.

     As shown in Figure 2, each of the control connectors is associated with a Boolean predicate; p12, for example, is such a predicate associated with the control connector between A1 and A2. This Boolean predicate is called transition condition. The condition is stated as a boolean expression where the variables within the expression are fields in the process input container and the containers of activities.

     When the transition condition of a control connector evaluates to true, the flow of control follows this control connector to the target activi...