Wednesday, April 12, 2006
Friday, April 07, 2006
We have a number of scenarios we'd like to enable in future releases of Visual Studio Team Foundation that would really benefit being part of a generalized workflow framework. Things like code review/checkin processes, build release and staging, etc. And no matter how many scenarios you cover, customers will always come up with more. Building workflow into a system can be hard enough without having to make it extensible too. Fortunately, Microsoft is working on the Windows Workflow Foundation as part of WinFX. This looks very promising. One of the folks on the team, Mark Schmidt, has written an authoring tool that looks interesting.
A company I worked for many years ago developed a huge workflow system for OS/2 and Unix so I've always been intrigued by this stuff. It was ginormous and had all sorts of memory limits, usability was poor (it used lots of non-modal windows - and I mean lots), and everything was so darned generic that as a user you really had too much of the implementation exposed to you. The problem is that it was a generalized engine that wasn't really a proper API that had a GUI slapped on top of it. When what you really want is an engine that manages the flows and allows you to build a tailored customer experience that is relevant for your scenarios.
Then it came time to play the high school talent show. Lots of obstacles here. First, I was in trouble for some reason or another and was on restriction of some sort. Eric pleaded the case to my dad that it was not fair to the rest of the band to miss the opportunity so my folks relented and I could play the show. Then the talent show committee (or whatever it was) said Mike D. couldn't play in the band because he didn't go to our high school. So I filled in on bass - it sucked because we couldn't play the more interesting tunes we had planned on. Also, I didn't know the bass parts for the tunes we did play beforehand so I had a quick crash course on the tunes. We pulled it off and basically rocked the house. Of course we lost to some girl that did a really boring Asian dance. What a bunch of BS!!! Still, the talent show led to us getting to play a couple more keg parties.