Wednesday, June 25, 2008

MOSS 2007 - Workflows and it exposes to Enterprise Information Integration and Enterprise Application Integration

I am personally very excited about MOSS 2007 and it's brand new key futures, from last few weeks I am really involving my self to see MOSS's new key futures and it's innovative implementation(s) for those areas intersecting with Integration, rather it's Enterprise Information Integration (EII), Enterprise Application Integration (EAI) or Data Integration (ETL). I have worked in my past with SharePoint Portal Server 2003 and it was really complicated to integrate different user activities/events with across the enterprise through BizTalk and Web services. Always it dragged me to develop more custom components/web parts/web controls and calling web services, transferring information and events through BizTalk server. Looks really complicated but believe me it was much tougher then it looks...

Now at new mission I am trying to find out more flexible integration/Work flow base implementations, here I have developed one sample solution to support my view on the Information Integration within MOSS 2007 Tasks and announcement. I am primarily trying to develop some workflow which can pick announcement which is direct live integration with sample Loan Application Management (any custom application generate application details) through WF (which hosts on Windows Services and connected through WCF for my sample, it's open space for any integration tool provide direct integration with MOSS site like BizTalk ;-) etc...). Let me comeback to sample, now I have developed one pilot Workflow which pick each announcement and generate tasks on SharePoint as well as through WCF/Web services it integration with external applications too. Another Workflow application get invoked on completion event of those Task and automatically generate following to do tasks and assign automatically.

Now these workflow also provide me standards functionalities of Windows Workflow Foundation, like listen, event base routing (you can check my previous articles to know more about event base routing), it's really empower developer to go beyond the classic and traditional boundaries of SharePoint sites to next generation workflow and information oriented collaboration development.

Let's back to sample, workflow1 picks announcement and process it and generate proper Task and other artifices, too. In the process of generating automated task and artefacts it's utilize many EII services to authenticate credit and other historical information of an applicant.

You can see below snap, first activity shape will invoke the workflow on any new announcement arrival or creation. Then the workflow is trying to received data and contract through Get activity and parallel processing other code too. At end of successful processing of whole parallel shape it will create all tasks needed for the announcement and at end it will log whole history. Please have a look at figure-1 and figure-2.

After deployment on to your MOSS Site you can check the workflow status by going to Site Settings->Galleries->Workflows. You can see figure-3 and figure-4 for site navigation and Workflow Collection. Site Collection Workflow will show you the association of the workflow to different activities and In-progress workflows too.

Let's come to another sample workflow of the pilot solution, which watch on every complete event of Task and according to the event it flow the application further for consideration and human approval. Where it also involve it self into request response with Web services and EII Service contract through workflow service. And similarly create further to do events in MOSS site.
Have look to MOSS Site Snaps.

1. Creating announcement for sample Loan Application.

2. You can see below figure announcement has been added to list. It shows 11111 id for loan application.

3. After sometime it was picked by workflow and processed, in solution I have appended string called " Processed By...", you can see here it has updated title of announcement and also added new relevant task for the loan application. During the creating of new task it went though to WCF application and receive back some valuable credit information and rating.

4. Task's detail page, you can see here generated description and information.

5. Once Task has been completed another workflow2 processed it and generated siblings task and to-do also it updated the title of the task (You can track related artifacts by "11111" id).

Such futures of MOSS 2007 make life easy for Integration developer and we can also develop such infrastructure suits MOSS 2007 features which help more easy and quick development for complex definitions.

Previously I was using BizTalk adapter or custom .net code but it always want huge resource to implement such workflow and integration for SharePoint site also it increase high volume of data and security threats while such implementation like workflow really help to develop much abstracted information and service access layers and less resource consuming infrastructure artifacts. I analyze such implementing with workflow pattern and pilot application performance results, it has ability to shirk our transaction volume across BizTalk by 40% compare to previous and 50% better performance with easy to maintain requirement. These are not derived figures but these are my assumption on the standard scenario which I analyzed.

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1 comment:

Nilay Parikh said...

A very good demonstration of concept.