Saturday, January 14, 2006

BizTalk v.s. Windows Workflow Foundation

I just got the MSDN in the snail mail box and was reading this morning about the new Windows Workflow Foundation (WWF). There is a strong similarity with Biztalk in regards to the Workflow part of BizTalk.

There are some other comments about this comparison. See Darren . Combine this with the news that Scott Woodgate has left the project, I wonder where the BizTalk product is heading to.

Brian Loesgen has published a nice comparison table of BizTalk features v.s. Windows Workflow Foundations.

4 comments:

Larry Beck said...

Hi Marco. I think you'll be able to identify some very specific scenarios where BizTalk will be a better fit (application connectivity, analytics, trading partners, guaranteed delivery scenarios, etc) than WWF. And the inverse as well (state machine workflows, adaptable workflows, client-side workflows, lightweight workflows).

Thomas E. Canter said...

Larry,
Eric Swift, the product manager for BizTalk said at the BPI Conference last year:
"Yes, when WWF is a better fit, they by all means, put WWF in BizTalk"

WWF is a tool with no hosting engine nor transport system.
BizTalk is a tool with a moderate Work Flow engine, what a perfect combination!

This shouldn't be about BizTalk vs. WWF, this should be about BizTalk and WWF.

James Taylor said...

What about business rules? Both products have some lightweight rules execution capabilities but both can benefit from accessing decision services that are built from properly managed business rules. Check out this post for the whys and wherefores.

Marco Ensing said...

James,

You are right that both BizTalk and WWF will benefit from a Rule Management System. It is a pity that all the different rule management system vendors have never agreed on a standard for a rule format. They all use their own internal proprietary format.

The simple Business Rules Composer that ships with BizTalk is often a better choice if you have to take into account the deployment model and the automatic update from one version to another.

The BizTalk rules are already stored into a rule repository (SqlServer) and with some little modifications access control, change management and rule audit log can easily be implemented.

Have a look at Acumen Business rule editors that access these BizTalk rules from a rule repository.

Extending the rule format with Decision trees and Decision tables is just another graphical format.

Defining a complete rule workflow process around this is not that hard as well.

Marco