The .NET Endpoint

Blog by the .NET and AppFabric teams about WCF and WF development, deployment, and management

WF4 Performance Tip–Cache Activities

WF4 Performance Tip–Cache Activities

  • Comments 3

When you create a new WorkflowConsole application you will see a line of code like this

   1: WorkflowInvoker.Invoke(new Workflow1());

Looks innocent enough right? If you were only going to invoke this activity once this is not a problem.  But what if you were going to invoke this activity thousands of times? Suppose you wanted to use the activity in a WCF Service? What would the performance characteristic be?

You need to understand what happens when you create and invoke an activity. There is a great deal of one-time overhead which you could avoid by making one simple change. Here it is…

   1: private static Activity cachedActivity = new Workflow1();
   2:  
   3: private static void CacheInvoke()
   4: {
   5:     WorkflowInvoker.Invoke(cachedActivity);
   6: }
   7:  

How big of a difference does this make? Plenty… Here is a test app that uses each method 100 times.

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How about 4ms vs 504ms – is that fast enough for you?

Want to know what is really going on under the covers here?  Watch this.

  • Testing - wrote a comment,not sure you got it.

  • Would this CacheInvoke() method be thread-safe? MSDN does not indicate that Activity instances are thread-safe.

  • Yes - Remember that cachedActivity is a workflow definition (like a Type in the CLR).  And in fact the CLR caches Types for the same reason.  When you invoke it again a new instance of the activity is created and this is thread safe.

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