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Overview: BizTalk Server Workflow

Office 2003

At the heart of every organization live its business processes. Business processes are dynamic entities – constantly changing and interacting with new data or participants. Generally, the term "workflow" is used to describe applications that are modeled as business processes. Typical workflow applications include forms routing/approval, document review/publishing, and issue tracking. While you can implement such applications in nearly any programming language or development environment, you can simplify the task with the use of a workflow engine and specialized workflow modeling tools.

Whether you are a business analyst or a developer, you can use Microsoft® BizTalk® Orchestration Designer – an exceptionally powerful workflow modeling tool – to easily change the implementation of a business process as the need arises. BizTalk Orchestration Designer also enables you to define the overall design, or "flow," of a business process in a simple, high-level Microsoft Visio®-based graphical representation. You can modify or extend the process definition easily without rewriting all of the low-level application code.

The built-in workflow engine in BizTalk Server executes and manages individual instances of a process definition. The integration with Message Queuing (also known as MSMQ) helps send messages between the business processes.

In short, integration with BizTalk Server makes it easy to achieve business process automation and integration. Orchestration Designer and the workflow engine allow workflows to be managed easily; applications can model the frequently changing business processes with less effort.

This BizTalk Server Workflow solution starter demonstrates how workflow applications can be built using Microsoft Office Project Server 2003 and BizTalk Server 2002. Applications with workflow logic can be developed using the BizTalk Orchestration Designer and the workflow engine; and project data and methods can be accessed by making Project Data Service (PDS) calls against Project Server.

About the BizTalk Server Workflow Solution Starter

Timesheet is a popular application that is frequently customized and extended by enterprises to suit their specific requirements. Project Server 2003 ships with a timesheet application that allows multiple approvers to approve submitted timesheets. Timesheets must be finally approved by the project manager – to be marked as accepted and to update the actuals. This out-of-the-box timesheet workflow may not fit every organization's needs and some customization may be necessary to mirror the organization's timesheet business process.

This solution starter is intended to provide a demonstration of building workflow-enabled customizable solutions that extend Project Server 2003. The timesheet application, built using BizTalk Server, simplifies changing the implemented business process. A business analyst or a developer can update the workflow orchestration diagram to reflect the changes and recompile the diagram into its XML representation. This reduces the redevelopment effort significantly whenever there is a change in the basic business process.

Download   Download the solution starter from the Microsoft Office Project 2003 SDK (pj11SDK2003.exe) available from the Microsoft Download Center. The file contains all of the topics and source code samples for the Microsoft Office Project 2003 Software Development Kit, including the BizTalk Server Workflow solution starter files.