Istituto di Informatica e Telematica     
Marchetti A., Tesconi M., Minutoli S. XFlow - An xml-based document-centric workflow. How to stress XML technologies in a web application. Technical report, 2005.
To ensure the efficiency of document circulation and administration in generic enterprise day-to-day operations, appropriate workflow management systems (WFMS) are necessary. This paper aims at investigating on an appropriate framework that allows the definition of workflows for collaborative document procedures, to be used in a multiplatform and decentralized enterprise environment. This framework, called XFlow, is based on a complete independence between workflow definition and engine, and supports the simultaneous collaborative document processing. Workflows are described by means of a new XML application called XFlowML (XFlow Markup Language) largely based on XSLT Processing Model. XFlowML describes the document workflow using an agent-based approach. Each agent can participate to the workflow with one or more roles defined as XPath expressions based on a hierarchical role chart. An XFlowML document contains as many templates as agent roles participating to the workflow. The selection of the templates will establish the order with which the agents will receive the document. The document workflow engine constitutes the run-time execution support for the document processing by implementing the XFlowML constructs. A prototype of XFlow has been implemented with an extensive use of XML technologies (XSLT, XPath, XForms, SVG) and open-source tools (Cocoon, Tomcat, mySQL). It is a web-based application where human agents interact with the system through an XForms browser that displays the document to process as a web form whereas software agents interact with the system via web services. In the next future XFlow will be extended in order to develop a distributed framework based on mobile agents.
Subject Document-centric workflow
Cooperative authoring
Web application
Xml technologies
H.4.1 [Office Automation] Workflow Management

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