Starting a workflow creates a workflow instance based on the settings found in the workflow definition. Each workflow instance stores the run-time data indicating the current state of a single workflow that is in progress.
A workflow activity is a logically isolated unit that implements a particular operational step of a workflow. The logic incorporated in an activity takes effect both at design time, when you add the activity to a workflow definition, and at run time, when a workflow instance is executed. When all the activities in a given flow path are finished running, the workflow instance is completed.
The Workflow Designer is a graphical tool provided by Active Roles for constructing workflows. The tool represents the workflow definition as a process diagram, with icons denoting workflow activities and directional arrows denoting transitions between activities. Users drag activities from the activities panel onto the process diagram and configure them using the pages provided by the designer interface. Separate pages are provided for configuring workflow start conditions.
Active Roles leverages Microsoft’s Windows Workflow Foundation runtime engine for creating and maintaining workflow instances. The engine can support multiple workflow instances running concurrently. When a workflow is started, the engine monitors the state of the workflow instance, coordinates the routing of activities in the workflow instance, determines which activities are eligible to run, and runs activities. The workflow engine is hosted in-process with the Administration Service, which enables workflows to communicate with Active Roles at run time.