Web Supported Enactment of Petri-Net Based Workflows with XRL/Flower

  • Alexander Norta
Part of the Lecture Notes in Computer Science book series (LNCS, volume 3099)


This paper describes concepts and features of a Web-based system called XRL/flower for carrying out Petri-net based workflows described with XRL (eXchangeable Routing Language). XRL/flower uses XML technology and is implemented in Java on top of the Petri-net Kernel PNK. Standard XML tools can be deployed to parse, check, and handle XRL documents. The XRL enactment application is complemented with a Web server, allowing actors to interact with the system through the internet. A database allows the enactment engine and the Web server to exchange information with each other. Since XRL is instance based, a modelled workflow serves as a template that needs to be copied and may be possibly refined for enactment. For that purpose XRL constructs are automatically translated into Petri-net constructs. As a result, the system is easy to extend: For supporting a new control flow primitive, the engine itself does not need to change. Furthermore, the Petri net representation can be analyzed using state-of-the-art analysis techniques and tools.


Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.


  1. 1.
    van der Aalst, W.M.P.: Structural Characterizations of Sound Workflow Nets. Computing Science Reports 96/23, Eindhoven University of Technology, Eindhoven (1996)Google Scholar
  2. 2.
    van der Aalst, W.M.P.: The Application of Petri Nets toWorkflow Management. The Journal of Circuits, Systems and Computers 8(1), 21–66 (1998)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  3. 3.
    van der Aalst, W.M.P., ter Hofstede, A.H.M., Kiepuszewski, B., Barros, A.P.: Workflow Patterns Home Page, http://www.tm.tue.nl/it/research/patterns/
  4. 4.
    van der Aalst, W.M.P., ter Hofstede, A.H.M., Kiepuszewski, B., Barros, A.P.: Advanced Workflow Patterns. In: Scheuermann, P., Etzion, O. (eds.) CoopIS 2000. LNCS, vol. 1901, pp. 18–29. Springer, Heidelberg (2000)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  5. 5.
    van der Aalst, W.M.P., Kumar, A.: Xml based schema definition for support of interorganizational workflow. Information Systems Research 14(1), 23–47 (2003)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  6. 6.
    van der Aalst, W.M.P., Verbeek, H.M.W., Kumar, A.: XRL/Woflan: Verification of an XML/Petri-net based language for inter-organizational workflows (Best paper award). In: Altinkemer, K., Chari, K. (eds.) Proceedings of the 6th Informs Conference on Information Systems and Technology (CIST 2001), pp. 30–45. Informs, Linthicum (2001)Google Scholar
  7. 7.
    BEA Systems, Intalio, SAP AG , Sun Microsystems. Web Service Choreography Interface (WSCI) 1.0 Specification (2003), http://wwws.sun.com/software/xml/developers/wsci/
  8. 8.
    Berglund, A., Boag, S., Chamberlin, D., et al.: XML Path Language (XPath) 2.0 (2003), http://www.w3.org/TR/2003/WD-xpath20-20030822
  9. 9.
    BPML.org. Business Process Modeling Language (BPML) version 1.0. (2003), Accessed August 2003 from www.bpmi.org
  10. 10.
    Workflow Management Coalition. XML Process Definition Language (2002), http://www.wfmc.org/standards/docs/TC-1025_10_xpdl_102502.pdf
  11. 11.
    Curbera, F., Goland, Y., Klein, J., Leymann, F., Roller, D., Thatte, S., Weerawarana, S.: Business Process Execution Language for Web-Services (2003), http://www-106.ibm.com/developerworks/library/ws-bpel/
  12. 12.
    IBM. Web Service Flow Language (WSFL) 1.0 Specification (2003), http://www-3.ibm.com/software/solutions/webservices/pdf/WSFL.pdf
  13. 13.
    Kiepuszewski, B.: Expressiveness and Suitability of Languages for Control Flow Modelling in Workflows. PhD thesis, Queensland University of Technology, Queensland University of Technology, Brisbane, Australia (2002)Google Scholar
  14. 14.
    Kiepuszewski, B., ter Hofstede, A.H.M., van der Aalst, W.M.P.: Fundamentals of Control Flow in Workflows. Acta Informatica 39(3), 143–209 (2003)MATHCrossRefMathSciNetGoogle Scholar
  15. 15.
    Kindler, E., Billington, J., Christensen, S., et al.: The petri net markup language: Concepts, technology, and tools. In: van der Aalst, W.M.P., Best, E. (eds.) ICATPN 2003. LNCS, vol. 2679, pp. 483–505. Springer, Heidelberg (2003)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  16. 16.
    Kindler, E., Weber, M., et al.: Petri Net Kernel (PNK) Home Page (2003), http://www.informatik.hu-berlin.de/top/pnk/
  17. 17.
    Kindler, E., Weber, M., et al.: Petri Net Markup Language (PNML) Home Page (2003), http://www.informatik.hu-berlin.de/top/pnml/
  18. 18.
    Kindler, E., Weber, M.: The petri net kernel - an infrastructure for building petri net tools. International Journal on Software Tools for Technology Transfer 3(4), 486–497 (2001)MATHGoogle Scholar
  19. 19.
    Norta, A.: XRL Home Page, http://www.tm.tue.nl/it/research/xrl/
  20. 20.
    Norta, A.: XRL/flower Home Page, http://www.tm.tue.nl/it/research/xrl/flower
  21. 21.
    Thatte, S.: XLANG: Web Service for Business Process Design (2003)Google Scholar
  22. 22.
    Verbeek, H.M.W., van der Aalst, W.M.P.: Woflan Home Page, Eindhoven University of Technology, Eindhoven, The Netherlands, http://www.tm.tue.nl/it/woflan
  23. 23.
    Verbeek, H.M.W., van der Aalst, W.M.P.: Woflan 2.0: A Petri-net-based Workflow Diagnosis Tool. In: Nielsen, M., Simpson, D. (eds.) ICATPN 2000. LNCS, vol. 1825, pp. 475–484. Springer, Heidelberg (2000)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  24. 24.
    Verbeek, H.M.W., Basten, T., van der Aalst, W.M.P.: Diagnosing Workflow Processes Using Woflan. The Computer Journal, British Computer Society 44(4), 246–279 (2001)MATHGoogle Scholar
  25. 25.
    Verbeek, H.M.W., Hirnschall, A., van der Aalst, W.M.P.: XRL/Flower: Supporting interorganizational workflows using XML/Petri-net technology. In: Bussler, C.J., McIlraith, S.A., Orlowska, M.E., Pernici, B., Yang, J. (eds.) CAiSE 2002 and WES 2002. LNCS, vol. 2512, pp. 93–109. Springer, Heidelberg (2002)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  26. 26.
    Weber, M., Kindler, E.: The petri net markup language. In: Ehrig, H., Reisig, W., Rozenberg, G., Weber, H. (eds.) Petri Net Technology for Communication-Based Systems. LNCS, vol. 2472, p. 455. Springer, Heidelberg (2003)Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 2004

Authors and Affiliations

  • Alexander Norta
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of Information and TechnologyEindhoven University of Technology, Faculty of Technology and ManagementEindhovenThe Netherlands

Personalised recommendations