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Architecture Help

 
Em Aiy
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We are in R&D phase for a given project and we have to develop the underlying architecture. I am not sure whether this is appropriate section to put this question, i apologize in advance.

Scenario

There will be number of templates, each template may have number of activities and activities are assigned to a User, Role or a Group. Attachements (Questionnaires and Documents) can also be attached with any activities.

Any Client who comes for this system is handled as a Case (A new Use Case). This case will be assigned a particular template and then the process will be followed according to the activities assigned in template. This case is visible to the User, Role or a Group attached with Activities.

For example, a template may have an activity for "register user" and then "interview user" and then "request manager for approval" type of and all these activities are EDITBLE in the system by the admin i.e and admin can add "email verification" activity before "manager approval". At each activity there will be a pre-defined state of the system i.e: Started, Pending, Approved, Rejected.

I can put the conceptual diagram for the system on your request.

My first question is

Should we use "WorkFlow" architecture for it? I am not able to decide it yet. Since the activities and the intercommunication between users, managers, admins is giving me a green signal to have workflow in it.
 
Jimmy Clark
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Please describe "WorkFlow" architecture.

The concerns that you mention deal with the application's design, not the architecture. These are not the same.
 
Em Aiy
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as for as workflow architecture concern and my knowledge about it from different whitepapers and other research materials...

example of Workflow
-----------------
1. Negotiation�for example, �can you review my document by
Friday?�
2. Acceptance�for example, �no, but how about by Monday
afternoon?�
3. Assignment�delegating the work to the reviewers. There
might be multiple people doing the review concurrently, and
as soon as all of them approved the document, it might be
routed to the next step�perhaps management or legal.
4. Review�was all the work done and approved. If not, how do
I handle rejections or incomplete processing (reviews)?

and in other case there may be no negotiation between the actors but there might be addition/removal of activities under any specific process.
--------------------

As far as my project is concern, there might be no communication between actors (as per present requirements) but the activities are customizable (under pre-defined sets) and for those property we are thinking to introduce the workflow concepts. Please guide
 
Jimmy Clark
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What part do you need help with?
 
Marc Peabody
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Workflow concepts have grabbed my curiosity in the past couple years ever since taking a class on a BPEL tool.

At the time I was working on a mostly CRUD application that, near the end of the project, a few requirements slipped in to create pages of TODO items.

It bothers me greatly that expensive, propriety BPEL tools make it so easy to make these kinds of TODO lists but there wasn't a popular Java framework for making workflow management easy.

Your mention of "Workflow Architecture" got me curious of what might be out there that I hadn't heard of yet. Unfortunately, Googling for that term didn't help much. I'd be very grateful if you could post links to any of the whitepapers you say you've studied.

A little more Google searching churned up more workflow engines than I can spit at. There even seems to be a pretty sweet Eclipse Java Workflow Tooling (JWT) that I'm eager to look more into now.

Has anyone worked with any of these before? What are your thoughts?
 
Em Aiy
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Besides those links you have posted, here is one very useful link for case studies and white papers for WorkFlow Case Studies

This site can help you in evaluation of the available workflow engines for opensource development.

The following article can help you understanding the basic difference and need of workflow against RDBMS.

Btw, I am still in help of my scenario
 
sachin yadav
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can you please post the conceptual diagram for the application requirements.
 
Sai Surya
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Originally posted by Muhammad Ali:

Should we use "WorkFlow" architecture for it? I am not able to decide it yet. Since the activities and the intercommunication between users, managers, admins is giving me a green signal to have workflow in it.


Hi Ali,

It is crystal clear that you can follow workflow model for this scenario. If you are building a new workflow engine from scratch then you may need to consider customizing it a bit deeper to suit your needs.

I worked with Vignette workflow engine and most of the concepts you indicated fits well in the workflow model.
 
Em Aiy
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Originally posted by sachin yadav:
can you please post the conceptual diagram for the application requirements.


here is the conceptual model. The most important part is the *activity* phase which should be dynamic (totally). We can add/edit/delete any activity and this editing should reflect in the usecase.

Moreover, each task (activity) can be assigned to the roles (users, admins, etc).

 
Em Aiy
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Originally posted by Sai Surya:


Hi Ali,

It is crystal clear that you can follow workflow model for this scenario. If you are building a new workflow engine from scratch then you may need to consider customizing it a bit deeper to suit your needs.

I worked with Vignette workflow engine and most of the concepts you indicated fits well in the workflow model.

Thanks Surya. First of all, our main concern is to make final decision whether we need any WorkFlow engine or not.

Secondly, we don't want to use vignette as our solution since it's commercial.
 
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