Browse Prior Art Database

Workflow Execution Performance Booster

IP.com Disclosure Number: IPCOM000122998D
Original Publication Date: 1998-Mar-01
Included in the Prior Art Database: 2005-Apr-04
Document File: 5 page(s) / 153K

Publishing Venue

IBM

Related People

Bandat, K: AUTHOR [+2]

Abstract

For the specification and support of application systems for a distributed network of server and client workstations, the concepts of workflow orientation have gained wide acceptance. Traditionally in such workflow concepts, as supported by the IBM FlowMark product, a central server is used for containing the structure of the workflow model, while the individual activities for client workstations are distributed to and executed at the individual workstations by their end users. In such configurations the communication between the program realizing the functions of an activity and the end user interface dialogs at the workstation, all takes place within the specific workstation, between the executing 'functional' program and the 'user interface' program, supporting the hardware interfaces (keyboard and display).

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Workflow Execution Performance Booster

      For the specification and support of application systems for
a distributed network of server and client workstations, the concepts
of workflow orientation have gained wide acceptance.  Traditionally
in such workflow concepts, as supported by the IBM FlowMark product,
a central server is used for containing the structure of the workflow
model, while the individual activities for client workstations are
distributed to and executed at the individual workstations by their
end users.  In such configurations the communication between the
program realizing the functions of an activity and the end user
interface dialogs at the workstation, all takes place within the
specific workstation, between the executing 'functional' program and
the 'user interface' program, supporting the hardware interfaces
(keyboard and display).

      With the advent of the concepts of 'Network Centric Computing'
a split of functions for an individual activity takes place.  In
network centric computing it is attempted to utilize the concentrated
compute power at the 'network center server' to its highest extent
for the activity functions, thus reducing the required functionality
and power  at the client workstations (often referred to as NC or
Network Computer),  to the mere support of user interactions at the
hardware interface.

      Such 'network centric' application configurations cannot be
realized with current workflow concepts and require the adoption of
the here disclosed concepts.  Besides the basic required concepts,
additional concepts will be described that enhance the efficiency of
a network centric distribution of work in a network.

      Distribution of Activity Functions between Network Server and
NCs

      In a traditional workflow based distributed application system,
as indicated in Fig.1, the 'workflow graph' models the network of
activities ('A' through 'X') in a process model stored in the central
'server'.  This process model also contains the definition of the
activity, i.e. the realization of the activity function that has to
be loaded to and executed at the workstation.  Various control
connectors control the way how individual activities are started
throughout workflow  model interpretation.  Before an activity can be
started at a workstation  'WS x', it must be secured that the
'activity module' representing the  activity is available for
execution at the specific workstation 'WS x'  where it is to be
interpreted.  This interpretation is performed by the  'PC
Interpreter' located in each workstation.  In logical terms an
activity module has a 'dialog interface' and a 'function' part for
each activity.

      The current invention suggests a transformation of the
traditional workflow based distributed application system into the
world of network centric workflow based application systems.  The
starting point of the invention is a physical split of the activit...