While the theoretical concepts around Microsoft Workflow technologies have already been discussed in this chapter, this section familiarizes you with some of its practical aspects.
WF is available free with .NET Framework 3.5 and can be downloaded from the Microsoft Web site at http://msdn.microsoft.com/en-us/netframework/aa663328.aspx. It's one of the prerequisites for installing WSS v3 and MOSS 2007. SharePoint has its own implementation of many of the important runtime services provided with WF, such as persistence, tracking, notification, messaging, and roles.
However, it still relies on the WF runtime engine to execute the workflows and call the runtime services when and as required. Also, SharePoint Designer requires that you install WF to be able to use its workflow features. SharePoint Designer uses ASP.NET 2.0 Web services, which SharePoint implements to create, compile, and deploy workflows on SharePoint sites.
WSS is one of the most popular implementations of workflow infrastructure provided by WF. Because the primary goal of a SharePoint deployment is to introduce enterprise-level collaboration and process management, workflows provide an important role in completing the SharePoint end-to-end offering in people, document, and information management. MOSS 2007 builds on this infrastructure provided by WSS and offers a number of out-of-the-box workflows ...