Workflow for Team Foundation?

We have a number of scenarios we’d like to enable in future releases of Visual Studio Team Foundation that would really benefit being part of a generalized workflow framework.  Things like code review/checkin processes, build release and staging, etc.  And no matter how many scenarios you cover, customers will always come up with more.  Building workflow into a system can be hard enough without having to make it extensible too.  Fortunately, Microsoft is working on the Windows Workflow Foundation as part of WinFX.  This looks very promising.  One of the folks on the team, Mark Schmidt, has written an authoring tool that looks interesting.

A company I worked for many years ago developed a huge workflow system for OS/2 and Unix so I’ve always been intrigued by this stuff.  It was ginormous and had all sorts of memory limits, usability was poor (it used lots of non-modal windows – and I mean lots), and everything was so darned generic that as a user you really had too much of the implementation exposed to you.  The problem is that it was a generalized engine that wasn’t really a proper API that had a GUI slapped on top of it.  When what you really want is an engine that manages the flows and allows you to build a tailored customer experience that is relevant for your scenarios.

Stay tuned…

Comments (2)

  1. davidacoder says:

    Well, I feel you guys could ditch your custom work item store and use WSS3 as your work item engine. They have complete support for different content types within one list (ie work item types), workflow based on the workflow engine, Infopath smart client edit, web browser form edit via Infopath server side and everything would be nicely integrated into the sharepoint portal. Have you thought about that?

  2. The TeamPlain Team System blog links to a MSDN Virtual Lab: Managing Work Items with TeamPlain Web Access….