The Activity Designer
Not actually a WF 4.0 blog any more :)
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The Activity Designer
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(WF4,VS) WorkflowDesigner Extensions in Visual Studio 2012
(Intro: Sometimes as part of testing I go to silly lengths to try to point out what I think is going to be a bug in a piece of code I have seen. And frequently when I do this, I am basically wrong, for any of various reasons – it’s a bug according to some world view which is not quite aligned with reality...
4 Oct 2012
(WF4) Link - Using WF4 custom activities to consume OData
Today I’m just advertising another MSDN blog that got circulated my way. This post may only going to make full sense if you’ve heard of OData already. If you’re heard of OData, and have been wondering what a good way to use it from workflow might be, I think you’ll find it good food for thought. http...
13 Sep 2012
(WF4) Survey–have you customized FlowDecision?
Today I was involved in a playful discussion about what would we do different about Workflow Designer if we could, and the question of ‘what do customers want?’ came up. I think there’s a lot that can change, but one of the ideas I can’t stay away from is improving Flowchart. For instance, searching...
5 Sep 2012
(News) Workflow 1.0 Beta
Dropping the stealth cloak a little, it’s time for some personal news about what I’ve been up to for the last year and a bit. And the answer is? Testing what we are calling in our docs “Workflow 1.0 Beta” (name may change) which is Microsoft’s new Workflow hosting offering...
17 Jul 2012
(WF4.5) Enabling new .Net framework 4.5 features in your rehosted designer application
[Minor disclaimer: content in this post is based upon a non-final release candidate build of .Net 4.5] The workflow designer team had two slightly conflicting goals to tackle in .Net 4.5. Goal one: Make Workflow Designer more awesome for everyone in .Net 4.5. It should be easier to use, it should look...
4 Jun 2012
(WF4.5) Using CSharpValue<T> and CSharpReference<T> in .Net 4.5 – Compiling expressions–and changes in Visual Studio generated XAML
I’ve been publicizing for a while that Visual Studio 11 (still in Beta) supports C# expressions in workflow designer. Of course you might also possibly want to use C# or VB expressions by writing a workflow in code, instead of by building it in Visual Studio. There are actually a couple tricks...
24 May 2012
(WF4, Transactions) Implementation of Transactions in WF4, and Implications
Although I haven’t used this feature in my regular work, I’ve known for a while that WF4.0 ships with a palette of activities designed to support distributed transactions. A distributed transaction is when you have a transaction, which is an atomic commit of a set of operations with a consistency guarantee...
13 Mar 2012
(WF4, Xaml) Mc:Ignorable, ViewStates, HintSizes, VisualBasic Settings, and manipulating XAML programmatically
[Edit 2/5/12: fixed spelling of 'ignorable' everywhere]. Or “What is this weird XAML I get from workflow designer that doesn’t look like ‘normal’ XAML?” (No ‘news’ today, just some WF4 olds in article format, and mostly implementation level trivia stuff...
15 Feb 2012
(WF4 - Link) For your reading pleasure – PeteGoo
Today I stumbled upon another WF4 blog with some quality content, so here is my unsolicited and personal recommendation to - if you are thinking about the how-to-host aspects of WF4 - to take a few minutes gaining some insights on how and why WorkflowServiceHost can be a good building block for your...
19 Jan 2012
(WF4) Less Known Features - Declarative Expressions using Activities, and ExpressionServices.Convert
If you’re exclusively using the Visual Studio workflow designer to design activities, you might go for a very long time (or forever) without discovering a particular System.Activities namespace, which is System.Activities.Expressions . The first reason you might never discover them is that none of the...
9 Jan 2012
(WF4) Adding VB namespace Imports to your workflow programmatically
These questions (paraphrased) have come up a bunch of times so it’s not that hard to find the answer, but I just rediscovered them so it’s on topic for today. “I want to add a namespace to the Imports designer automatically at design time, so the user doesn’t have to do it manually. How can I do that...
2 Nov 2011
(WF4) WF4 Sessions from //build/
As I mentioned earlier this week there were two WF focused sessions at //build/ this week. Now they’re done, but the videos are available online. Of course, also this week, at //build/ the developer previews of Windows 8, .Net Framework 4.5, and Visual Studio 11 were announced. For VS and .net...
18 Sep 2011
(WF4) ExpressionTextBox Expression Property and ArgumentToExpressionConverter
There are many examples of binding ETB, but I notice they tend to be short on the details of why the example code looks as it does. Maybe it is because we are short on the ‘why’ that people can get a little lost once they want to do something other than the well-documented scenarios (e.g...
5 Sep 2011
(WF4) Hosting the WorkflowDesigner (or other WPF stuff) in a separate AppDomain
A little while I begin a new rehosted designer project, and this time I want to get a little bit more creative with it, mixing in some of the stuff I have done earlier with XAML compilation. The more functionality like that I add, the closer to the Visual Studio scenario the scenarios it is capable of...
18 Aug 2011
(WF4, Toolbox) Updating the WF4 Toolbox Icon FAQ (for Rehosting and Custom Activities)
Introit - call it whatever, but today I’m recycling an old post. And I have one more little confession. When I started writing a new rehosted app today, I found out my old toolbox FAQ was fairly useless. It was even getting to the point where someone had to post this in the forum : “I...
12 Aug 2011
(WF4) Setting a default type parameter for Generic Activities added from the Toolbox
One of our internal customers pinged me with a quick question today. He asked whether it is possible to set a default type argument for T if you have an activity of GenericType, say DataCollectorActivity<T>. I might have said this in passing by before but the answer is yes, the same technique is...
4 Aug 2011
(WF4) The Story of State Machine
Hello State Machine fans! There have now been several eras of support for state machines in WF4 and WF3, and I think it would be good for a retrospective, part stocktake, part promo and making sure everyone is up-to-date (+reminder of CTP license terms), and so on. It’s targeted less at solving specific...
2 Aug 2011
(WF4,WF3) Workflow Performance Talk
Today I had the pleasure of attending a brownbag (read ‘lunchtime presentation’) by Dustin Metzgar from the WF Performance team. He ran us through a slide deck with a lot of interesting performance comparisons between WF3 and WF4. Workflow Foundation 4.0 really is faster than Workflow Foundation 3.0...
10 Jun 2011
(WF4) ModelItem, ModelItemImpl and ICustomTypeDescriptor
[Update 08/03/11: fixed a few horrible proofreading issues which slipped past my nonexistant editor] Today we’re going to explore some internal workings of ModelItem - or really its concrete subclass ModelItemImpl. ModelItemImpl is an internal class, making all of what we talk about below ‘undocumented...
11 Apr 2011
(WF4) Custom Rules for Diffing XAML Files
Link - “TFS and WF4- The diff noise problem” - I just saw this post from Rory which looked useful for anyone using WinMerge (it’s free). Of course not everyone uses the same diff tools. I’m rather partial to SourceGear|DiffMerge (also free), which is configurable in much the same way. Here’s DiffMerge...
7 Apr 2011
(WF4) Showing an InArgument<bool> as a CheckBox in the Workflow Designer Property Grid
Here’s a workflow designer FAQ finally getting the attention it deserves, and helping show off how to do custom property editing in designer. “How do I show an InArgument<bool>/<enum> in the property grid as a checkbox/combobox?” [Aside: Before we start the guide, note that actually...
6 Apr 2011
(WF4) Rolling your own Undo Units in Workflow Designer .net 4.0
A long time go in a galaxy very, very close (so close it could be coincidental or indeed the same) I remember writing a couple things which touched upon Undo and Redo in workflow designer. Since someone invented hyperlinks, I should probably use this neat feature of the interwebs and point you at them...
29 Mar 2011
Why can’t I change the TypeArgument of Switch<> or FlowSwitch<> using the property grid?
I don’t remember anyone ever actually asking me this, but I found myself wondering the question today while rustling up a quick rehosting app. Foreach<> activity lets you change the TypeArgument dynamically via the property grid. But FlowSwitch<> doesn’t. Why? In order...
28 Mar 2011
Public and Private in Depth (“Custom ‘Activity Sequences’ with Private Implementation” Interlude)
[In this interlude, we’re spiritually continuing the Custom ‘Activity Sequences’ With Private Implementation series, but without referring to any code from the original problem. Read Part 1 for the introduction. Or guess from this summary – we’re looking at how we can build custom activities compositionally...
17 Nov 2010
(WF4) Workflow 4.0 Hosting Extensions
[Update: Dear Readers, To those of you who found this post interesting, but still a little too vague on how exactly you can use extensions for workflow-host communications, how this ties in with bookmarking, or what might be involved in implementing your own custom Send/Receive semantics in a workflow...
7 Jun 2010
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