Foundations of Workflow: An Introduction to Windows Workflow Foundation
Brian R. Myers, Apress, October 2006, 978-1-59059-718-7
Workflow is the one thing that most applications have in
common. If you’re building an ecommerce application you’ll have order fulfilment
and this is just one of the numerous examples where you have a workflow that
you need to implement. The one problem, and the one thing that all the
workflows have in common, is that they’re nearly always bespoke developments and
built entirely in code. What is needed is a “platform” for building workflows
and this is exactly what Microsoft has provided with Windows Workflow
With any new technology that is introduced the first release
of books tend to be incomplete and, like software, you’re better off waiting
for the service pack. Thankfully Brian Myers’ book doesn’t fall into this
The main goal with any book, and in particular with an introductory
book such as this, is to explain from the ground up without assuming that you know
anything about the topic. Starting from an introduction to workflow Myer’s book
gradually introduces all of the functionality in WF without asking you to learn
everything in one fell swoop.
This is accomplished by splitting all of the Activities that
WF provides into separate topics and spending a chapter at a time looking
solely at that topic. As well as looking at the different Activities in
isolation each chapter also ties together the different Activities by building
a real-world application (the obligatory purchase order system).
That isn’t all the book covers though. As well as the
basics the book also has chapters dealing with Web services, integrating with SharePoint
and Office 2007, and Deployment. There is also a chapter that builds an
ASP.NET application and looks at the process from analysis all the way through to
Although this book is well worth the $34.99 cover price it
isn’t without its faults. It is as the title suggests an introductory book and
in places you’ll want more detail. You’ll also be disappointed if you’re a C#
developer – the emphasis of the book is VB.NET and you’ll find places where
there is no corresponding C# code.
As a beginner’s book you’ll find Foundations of WF ideal.
If you’re looking for something more advanced then I’d suggest waiting for Pro
WF: Windows Workflow in .NET 3.0, also by Apress.
Damien Foggon, 15th January 2007