De Modo Operandi: Towards the Interoperability of Workflow Information

By Siegfried Reich .
Advised by Gerti Kappel

This work has been finished in April 1995.

The research reported in this dissertation deals with workflow management and electronic publishing. Recent developments like the evolvement of international standards, advanced communication services, as well as new delivery platforms, have resulted in a bewildering number of workflow systems, each of them being a proprietary solution. The consequences are non-interoperable systems where workflow information cannot be exchanged, a fact which does backfire with the ideas of recent developments.

HyTime is an international standard for the exchange of time-dependent, structured information. So-called HyTime architectural forms were developed for representing workflow information. Through this as well as through additional layers in the architecture of our workflow system we enable the interoperability of workflow information between different systems.

We investigate the publishing process and derive requirements for system support. Existing systems, both research prototypes as well as commercial systems are subject of the following investigation. Based on these investigations we have specified an architecture for workflow systems. Specification and Implementation of a prototypical system developed in Visualworks\Smalltalk demonstrate the usability of the concept by a running system. The role of workflow within CSCW (Computer Supported Cooperative Work) is investigated. Concluding remarks including the significance of our approach as well as future work finish the dissertation.