A Framework for Document-Driven Workflow Systems

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Abstract

We propose and demonstrate the feasibility of a framework for document-driven workflow systems that requires no explicit control flow and the execution of the process is driven by input documents. The framework can assist workflow designers to discover the data dependencies between tasks in a process and achieve more efficient control flow design. The framework also provides an architecture to separate the workflow system from application data and facilitate inter-organizational processes. Document-driven workflow systems are more flexible than traditional control flow processes, easier to verify and work better for ad hoc workflows. We also implemented a prototype workflow system using the framework entirely in a RDBMS using Transact-SQL in Microsoft SQL Server 2000. A detailed comparison with control driven workflows has also been done.