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Context-controlled Topic-based Publication in Workflow Management Systems

IP.com Disclosure Number: IPCOM000015341D
Original Publication Date: 2001-Oct-12
Included in the Prior Art Database: 2003-Jun-20
Document File: 4 page(s) / 124K

Publishing Venue

IBM

Abstract

1. Introduction Workflow management systems [1] support the definition and execution of business processes. 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 1 shows schematically the structure of such a process graph. Figure 1 Process Mod 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.

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Context-controlled Topic-based Publication in Workflow Management Systems

1. Introduction

    Workflow management systems [1] support the definition and execution of business processes. 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 1 shows schematically the structure of such a process graph.

Figure 1 Process Mod

    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.

    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.

    Dependent on the implementation of an activity, several activity types are differentiated: process activities are implemented via a sub-process, or program activities via executables, such as programs or DLLs. Information activities have no implementation at all; they are just used to convey some information.

Typically workflow management systems write information to one or more audit trails.

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These audit trail contain a record for each major event, such as start or termination of a process or activity. This audit trail can be used for many purposes, for example, it may be required for legal reasons to keep the complete execution history of each executed business process, or it can be used to perform an analysis of the business processes to determine bottles or possible improvements.

    A pub/sub engine provides the capability to have publishers to make information available by sending it to the pub/sub engine. Subscribers can specify to be notified if information is published that matches certain criteria. When published information matches the criteria specified by a subscriber, the information is sent to the subscriber. The matching criteria can be specified either as topic-based, context-based or as a combination thereof.

    When topic-based is used, the publisher associates the published information with a topic that provides a type of classification for the published information (see the JMS specification for details). Topics are structured as trees similar to the file system of a PC; a particular topic is expressed as a node in the tree. For example, the topic \books\thriller\ would be associated with all publications about thriller books.

    When contents...