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Tutorial: Hosting the WF Designer

Visual Studio 2008

The Windows Workflow Foundation (WF) Designer is used to represent a workflow visually in order to view, create, and modify workflows graphically during design time. Additionally, it can be used during runtime execution to show the current state of an executing workflow by using the tracking information associated with that workflow. This tutorial demonstrates the necessary steps to host the Windows Workflow Foundation Designer in a Windows Form-based application. The application that you construct will allow an end user to manually enter the XAML representation of a workflow in a TextBox control and automatically see the results graphically in the hosted Windows Workflow Foundation Designer. For more information on hosting the workflow designer see Basic Designer Hosting Sample, Outlook Workflow Wizard Sample, Workflow Monitor Sample, and Windows Workflow Foundation: Everything About Re-Hosting the Workflow Designer.

The primary classes that you use in this tutorial are as follows:

  • The .NET DesignSurface class, which implements what the user perceives as a designer by providing a completely self-contained design surface.

  • The WorkflowView class, which displays a visual representation of a workflow that is described in workflow markup.

  • The WorkflowDesignerLoader class, which supports custom loading of a workflow designer and workflow designer components.

For more information, the Basic Designer Hosting sample shows how to use these classes to create a simple version of the workflow designer hosted in a Windows application.

The WorkflowDesigner control that is part of the Workflow Tracking Profile Designer provides a good starting point for a custom workflow designer hosting application. The WorkflowDesigner control provides an easy way to add and extend workflow designer functionality in a host application.

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Last Published: 2010-03-04