Workflows in Windows SharePoint Services 3.0
Workflow applications have been getting quite a bit of attention inside
Microsoft lately. The WinFX® runtime components, to
be released in concert with Windows Vista™, add a complete
infrastructure—Windows Workflow Foundation—for building workflow-style
applications. The workflow infrastructure includes an engine, pluggable
components to persist workflow state, and a Visual Studio designer that makes
it easy to create custom workflows by dragging and dropping components known as
activities onto a workflow design surface.
Windows Sharepoint Services 3.0 builds on top of Windows Workflow Foundation to provide a structure for
attaching business logic to list items and documents. It extends the basic
workflow model by associating a task list and a history list with each
workflow, adding a degree of responsibility and accountability to workflows
that are human-oriented, such as a path for reviewing or approving a document.
Both Windows Sharepoint Services and MOSS 2007 ship with workflows that are installed and ready to use.
Windows Sharepoint Services 3.0 includes some simple routing workflows for actions such as moderation
and approval. MOSS 2007 supplies more complex workflows that support features
such as the Web content management approval process.
Creating custom workflows represents an obvious extensibility point for
developers building business solutions with Windows Sharepoint Services and MOSS 2007. In addition to
the standard support of the Visual Studio extensions for Windows Workflow
Foundation, there are plans to ship a Windows Sharepoint Services-specific workflow SDK and a starter
kit that includes Visual Studio project templates for creating custom workflows
for Windows Sharepoint Services sites.
SharePoint Designer also provides support for creating custom workflows in Windows Sharepoint Services
3.0 sites. This is really targeted at the power user as much or more than
developers because it provides a means to step through a wizard and attach
business logic to list items and documents in a production site.