Essential Windows Workflow Foundation – Chapter 1

I’ve been very interested in Windows Workflow Foundation (WF) for some time but I’ve not been able to devote any time to it. I really believe I could use it to solve a number of technical issues that I work with every day. So I’ve finally grabbed the WF bull by the horns and purchased, "Essential Windows Workflow Foundation – Dhama Shukla, Bob Schmidt". I chose this book because of the authors involvement in the product and that it promises to be a real in-depth view of the subject. Rather than wait until I’ve finished reading the book I thought I’d blog on per chapter basis, so here goes…

Chapter 1 – Deconstructing WF
This is easily the strangest introduction to a technical book I’ve seen in a while, but it is very clever. The chapter makes almost no reference to WF at all, if at all. The chapter introduces the idea of a reactive program – one that requires some outside stimulus to complete. It follows the progress of a very simple read/write console application through its evolution into a scalable, robust and thread/process agile application via a type of bookmark pattern. The chapter finished by explaining how the c# example can be represented in other declarative formats (obviously paving the way to the WF XAML) including graphical representations (obviously paving the way to the WF designer).

The chapter is very interesting and the example code is reminiscent of the transaction scope implementation, i.e. striving to remove the complexities of managing the underlying framework from the developer. I did find it difficult to read because I’m chomping at the bit to get started and I must admit I did use a dictionary on at least two occasions only to discover the words were not in there! But hey now I can use elide and isomorphic in everyday conversation, I know I need to get a new dictionary and I understand the basic pattern underlying WF – not bad for one chapter.

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