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 product. Here’s a few quick facts about this piece of software.
“Workflow 1.0 Beta” is a separate piece of software being released alongside the Office 2013 Beta, but also a requirement for enabling some of Office’s Sharepoint Workflow features.
It is a ‘server’ application which stores, loads and executes declarative XAML workflow definitions, the same as WF4 XAML authored custom activities.
“Workflow 1.0 Beta” is also an Azure platform service running in the cloud, which will enable you to host long-running workflow in the cloud without requiring VM role subscriptions.
See also the longer, official answer.
Currently nothing at all - it’s a free beta, and for the server product, it is also a separate install from Office. Disclaimer: pricing plans may change for future releases.
The answers are linked in the line above.
There are many differences.
One difference is that workflows now get hosted/installed on the server by publishing workflows to the server using a client API which talks to the server via an REST style HTTP API. As this is a multi-tenant workflow offering, you can also create multiple tenancies on your server, and your own customers can use this client API to upload their workflow definitions to their tenancy on your central server.
Another difference that will feel very different to existing WF4 customers is that workflows run in a sandboxed mode which disallows all potentially dangerous types and activities. Sort of like running in partial trust, or as a restricted user.
This may feel like a severe limitation given how used we are to creating custom code activities. However, if you are running “Workflow 1.0 Beta” as an on-premise server, there are ways you can configure “Workflow 1.0 Beta” to allow your own custom activities which I’ll hopefully get to posting some time soon, assuming people are interested!
It’s all starting here!
Further questions are welcome in the comments section!