Windows Workflow Foundation By Jayesh Chudasama

Types of Windows Workflows – Sequential VS State Machine
September 11, 2006, 6:49 pm
Filed under: Books & writing, Functional

Windows workflows can be described as : 

  1. Sequential Workflow
  2. State Machine Workflow

A Sequential Work Flow is a top-Down process, also known as a Human Flow Process, where the activities emerge from a beginning situation and end after a predefined sequence of steps.

The State Machine Workflow does not have a defined path but signifies a set of states and transitions between these states.

Sequential Workflows are self-driven. Once they are initiated, they have an absolutely predictable behavior throughout the execution of the activities.

State Machine Workflows are event-driven. Activation of each state depends on predefined action / event. The engine executes the activities needed and stops after completion of the next state. State Machine Workflows are the solution for complex modeling processes where there is no deterministic execution path between the steps.

Each human activity can be described as a function of a Sequential Workflow. For example – Order processing, Expenses approval or Purchase requests process.

Best example for State Machine Workflow would be an order supply process where an order can have different states: received, approved, and shipped. Most workflows are having states and run for a relatively long time. Workflow which has many unplanned steps to track and where it may not be possible to represent all the possible paths to follow, a State Machine Workflow can be easier and more orderly to program.

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