Last PDC in 2005, I was part of the team that announced Windows Workflow Foundation (WF) as the new declarative programming model in .NET Framework. WF allows you to focus on writing the core logic of your application, declaratively. It handles a lot of complications and logic that exist in applications that orchestrate services or coordinate work. WF is best for programs that are long running; i.e. stop and start during their lifetime. We released key developer enhancement in each version of the framework, and will continue to do so.
As more people started using WF, they needed to write WF hosting environments to run the workflows in a scalable and reliable manner – if you ever wrote a server application you will immediately realize that this is not a trivial task. They also needed to invest and maintain infrastructure – for some businesses this is not an economical option.
Over the last months, myself and few other people spend all our time focusing on cloud-based hosting environment for workflows. The goal is to allow you to run workflows in a scalable and reliable off premises host which Microsoft wrote and maintain its infrastructure. Earlier today, at PDC 2008, with the help of a lot of people across the company, we announced the Microsoft off premises hosting environment for workflows: .NET Workflow Service. .NET Services and .NET Workflow Service are part of Microsoft Azure Services platform. Workflow Service runs declarative workflows in an off premises hosting environment which Microsoft wrote and maintain its infrastructure.
Please visit the developer center here: http://msdn.microsoft.com/en-us/azure/netservices to learn more about .NET Services and .NET Workflow Service. Also, you can download the SDK and start using the services by visiting http://portal.ex.azure.microsoft.com
Send me an email through this blog or visit the discussion forums here: http://social.msdn.microsoft.com/Forums/en-US/netservices/threads/ if you have any questions or feedback on .NET Workflow Service or .NET Services in general.