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Using a Pub/Sub Engine as Time Service in a Workflow Management System

IP.com Disclosure Number: IPCOM000015424D
Original Publication Date: 2001-Dec-12
Included in the Prior Art Database: 2003-Jun-20
Document File: 3 page(s) / 85K

Publishing Venue

IBM

Abstract

1. Introduction

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Using a Pub/Sub Engine as Time Service in a Workflow Management System

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. Please note that this is for illustration only; workflow management system may use more primitive metamodels for describing business processes (to the extent that they use a simple block structure with implicit control connectors).

Figure 1 Process Model

    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 event activities implement the capability to wait for some external action to happen.

    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.

Control connectors are represented as arrows; the head of the arrow describes

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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.

    Time plays a significant role in the metamodel supported by a workflow management system, for example:

      Expiration provides the capability to continue processing if no action has been carried out in a specified time frame
Notification provides the capability to inform some person if a particular action has not been performed in a specified time frame. It also plays a significant role in the internal process of a workflow management system, for example:

      Session expiration provides the capability to have the workflow management system terminate a session after a specified period of time
Check interval provides the capability to specifiy when the workflow management system should start for checking outstanding notifications. 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...