Beautiful Workflows: A Matter of Taste?

  • Wil M. P. van der Aalst
  • Michael Westergaard
  • Hajo A. Reijers
Part of the Lecture Notes in Computer Science book series (LNCS, volume 8106)


Workflows can be specified using different languages. Mainstream workflow management systems predominantly use procedural languages having a graphical representation involving AND/XOR splits and joins (e.g., using BPMN). However, there are interesting alternative approaches. For example, case handling approaches are data-driven and allow users to deviate within limits, and declarative languages based on temporal logic (where everything is allowed unless explicitly forbidden). Recently, Rinus Plasmeijer proposed the iTask system (iTasks) based on the viewpoint that workflow modeling is in essence a particular kind of functional programming. This provides advantages in terms of expressiveness, extendibility, and implementation efficiency. On the occasion of his 61st birthday, we compare four workflow paradigms: procedural, case handling, declarative, and functional. For each paradigm we selected a characteristic workflow management system: YAWL (procedural), BPM|one (case handling), Declare (declarative), and iTasks (functional). Each of these systems aims to describe and support business processes in an elegant manner. However, there are significant differences. In this paper, we aim to identify and discuss these differences.


Workflow Management Business Process Management Case Handling Declarative Languages Functional Programming 


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 2013

Authors and Affiliations

  • Wil M. P. van der Aalst
    • 1
    • 2
    • 3
  • Michael Westergaard
    • 1
    • 2
  • Hajo A. Reijers
    • 1
    • 4
  1. 1.Architecture of Information SystemsEindhoven University of TechnologyEindhovenThe Netherlands
  2. 2.International Laboratory of Process-Aware Information SystemsNational Research University Higher School of Economics (HSE)MoscowRussia
  3. 3.Business Process Management DisciplineQueensland University of TechnologyBrisbaneAustralia
  4. 4.Perceptive SoftwareApeldoornThe Netherlands

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