The development of an object-oriented framework for workflow management system

Pao Yue-kong Library Electronic Theses Database

The development of an object-oriented framework for workflow management system


Author: Lam, Yick-kin Keith
Title: The development of an object-oriented framework for workflow management system
Degree: M.Sc.
Year: 1997
Subject: Production management
Object-oriented databases
Management information systems
Hong Kong Polytechnic University -- Dissertations
Department: Multi-disciplinary Studies
Pages: x, 244 leaves : ill. ; 30 cm
Language: English
InnoPac Record:
Abstract: At the brink of the 20th century, the business environment is progressing towards a completely new atmosphere. Nowadays most businesses are forced to compete globally in order to exploit a larger market in developing countries. They set up operation units in almost every part of the world. Due to the revolutionary breakthroughs in telecommunication technology, it induces a high motivation for a business to set up global business processes which run across the entire corporation. It is not difficult to anticipate that the business processes in 21st century are many times mare complex than that of today. There will be an acute need of workflow management system to manage and control the ever-growing complexity of business processes. The software business is booming in nineties but it also brings about a hindrance to its own development. Most corporations employ a lot of software applications in their business ranging from personal organizers to corporate transaction processing systems. However the integration between these applications is only limited and slim. The success of early workflow management systems gives a promising solution to future business. With workflow management systems, end-users will not be over-flooded with applications. Instead they will receive a consistent, user-friendly way of doing their business. This dissertation aims to build an object-oriented framework in the workflow domain. The Workflow Framework is a collection of co-operative object-oriented classes. Its main objective is to encapsulate the principal structures and behaviours, which are fundamental to the workflow domain. Thus, the users of Workflow Framework, usually the developers of workflow related applications, can pull the appropriate components from the framework and plug them together to build a new workflow application. The methodology used in developing the Workflow Framework adopts those for the development of object-oriented applications. Methodologies including Object Modelling Techniques(OMT), Object-Oriented Software Engineering (OOSE), Booch Methods and FUSION have been used whenever appropriate. In addition, the history and state of the workflow operations are recorded using object persistence. To support persistence, the ObjectStore's object-oriented database system is utilized. Various strategies have been established in the Workflow Framework to make automatic persistence possible. In this fashion, users of the Workflow Framework hardly need to be concerned with the underlying mechanisms for persistence storage. In order to demonstrate the effectiveness of the Workflow Framework, a workflow engine has been built using the framework as the prototype application. The result of the prototype indicates that the object-oriented framework provides a high degree of software reuse at various levels. Although the development of object-oriented framework requires more resources initially, the efforts spent are justifiable since it will be paid back by the savings in subsequent application developments of the same domain.

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