Workflow systems at apnic how they help everyone
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Workflow Systems at APNIC How they help everyone. Robert Loomans <[email protected]> February 2, 2007. Contents. What is a “workflow”? What is a “workflow system”? Why care? Workflows at APNIC Workflow systems at APNIC Where to from here? Summary Resources. What is a “workflow”?. Data

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Workflow Systems at APNICHow they help everyone

Robert Loomans <[email protected]>

February 2, 2007


Contents

  • What is a “workflow”?

  • What is a “workflow system”?

  • Why care?

  • Workflows at APNIC

  • Workflow systems at APNIC

  • Where to from here?

  • Summary

  • Resources


What is a “workflow”?

  • Data

  • State or Context

  • Process

    …or Business Process


Process


What is a “workflow system”?

  • Workflow model

    • Data store

    • Workflow definition

    • Programming API

  • Workflow engine

    • Execution

    • Remote API?

  • Modeling and analysis tools


Why care?

  • Structured development

    • Decouple different layers

    • More modular, reusable code

    • More definition and declaration

  • More manageable operations

    • Less random cronjobs

    • Less scary direct poking in databases or files

    • Potential for better logging, stats and audit trails

    • Privileged code running in one place

    • Access control


Really, why care?

  • Faster responses from APNIC and much better worst case

  • Quicker fixes to broken processes

  • More automation of common tasks


Hype

Source: The State of Workflow by Tom Baeyens


Workflows at APNIC

  • External

    • New membership

    • Resource application

    • Help!

    • Membership renewal

    • Lame DNS delegations

    • Policy drafting

  • Internal

    • Travel and leave requests

    • Expense claims

    • Purchasing

    • Software feature requests and bugs


Workflow systems at APNIC

  • Web forms  Email

    • No structure

  • Request Tracker

  • Ad-hoc applications

  • Workflow.pm


Email

  • Trail of email messages

  • Spam

  • Little or no metadata


Request Tracker

  • Email gateway

  • Spam

  • Limited metadata

  • Difficult to impose business processes


Ad-hoc applications

  • Slow development cycle

  • Duplicated bugs

  • Proliferation of cronjobs on multiple servers

  • Difficult to change


Workflow.pm

  • Simple Perl module on CPAN

  • Not a separate WFE

  • XML workflow definition

    • States

    • Actions

    • Conditions

  • Works but immature


Billing renewal notifications

  • Notices to members asking them to pay up

  • Were done manually from an Excel spreadsheet


Very

Happy finance staff

Happy software staff

Happy ops staff

Found problems with existing data and processes

How successful?


Where to from here?

  • Extend member workflow

  • More workflows

  • Workflow engine

    • Java, .NET or PHP

    • jBPM http://www.jboss.com/products/jbpm

    • OpenWFE http://www.openwfe.org/

    • con:cern http://con-cern.org/


Resources

  • The State of Workflow - Tom Baeyens http://www.jboss.com/products/jbpm/stateofworkflow

  • Process Management Standards Overview - Michael zur Muehlen http://www.wfmc.org/standards/docs/Process_Management_Standards_files/frame.htm

  • Open Source Workflow Engines in Java http://www.java-source.net/open-source/workflow-engines


Summary

  • Useful? Yes!

  • Lots more to do, but definitely worthwhile even in a simple form


Questions?


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