Usage of XML in Workflow Management System

Technology & Business Perspectives

Usage of XML in Workflow Management System


    XML can be extensively used in WMS. WMS architecture is designed to take advantage of XML and typically contains the following layers

    • Client / UI layer

    • Rules Engine

    • Workflow Engine

    • Business logic layer

    • Database layer

    XML is used end-to-end in all the layers of WMS.

    XML usage in WMS components

    Some of the typical areas where XML is used in WMS include


    Data interchange between layers
    • WMS process definition details

    • Process Rules/Business Logic

    • Third party software interaction definitions and data exchange definitions

    • Data exchange between UI layer and Business logic layer

    • Data exchange between various components of the Workflow engine

    End user application

    Once the Business analyst specifies the process and defines the rules of business, WMS automatically generates the client application for the end user. This minimizes/eliminates the requirement for custom development of application for each business process flow.

    This generation of application and administration of application to the end user is possible through extensive usage of XML. WMS handles multiple business process flows and multiple versions of the same business process. This was made possible only through usage of XML for handling business logic data and transaction data.

    The application is designed in such a manner to be dynamic enough to metamorphosis itself to handle different business processes that were defined in WMS.

    Interaction with other Software systems

    In the total enterprise scenario, we understand that disparate systems need to co-exist in an organization. For these systems to co-exist and provide comprehensive benefits to the organization, they all need to interact and exchange data between them. XML being a universal format facilitates this. WMS comes with a Handoff tool that provides easy mapping of Business process related transaction data to be exchanged with other applications using XML. Users can use the intuitive user interface for mapping the data available in WMS with data definitions of other systems. The data exchange can happen through Message Queues and WEB APIs.

    No matter what the underneath DB is used in WMS to store transaction data, a custom built component converts the transaction data into Hierarchical XML data for processing by the WMS engine.

    XML Related technologies used in WMS

    Some of the XML related technologies used in WMS include XHTML, XML DOM, XSL, DTD, SOAP.

    Realized benefits in WMS by using XML

    The following are some of the realized benefits

    • Interchange of data between external applications and WMS with respect to business process definition, Business logic & transaction data

    • Usage of XML schema has facilitated in generation of well-defined end user application automatically. Literally there will be nil time in developing the end user application once the business analyst & UI designer has defined the business process and UI aesthetics.

    • Openness of the system was made possible through XML usage.