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METEOR

Designer

The METEOR designer (MTDes) is a tool kit to visually design and build workflows. It has two design modes. The first mode, called Process Modeler, is aimed as a tool for the management of a typical enterprise. A workflow design may be initiated at the high, organizational level, without worrying about implementation details. This mode focuses on high-level specification issues without going into the procedural issues of the runtime. The Process Modeler stresses the what of the process rather than the how. The second mode, called Workflow Builder, is closer to the implementation aspects of creating a workflow application. Technical engineers or system analysts who would know the details of the underlying run time system would use this mode. The design specification created with the Process Modeler is refined in a more fine-grained manner using the Workflow Builder to create a complete workflow application. It is in this mode that we specify the entire map of the workflow including various tasks, task managers, and their interactions. As has been mentioned earlier, the tool has a graphical user interface. The designer has several components, including the map designer, the data designer, and the task designer. These components can model:

  • the workflow map expressing the ordering of tasks and the dependencies among them,
  • the data objects manipulated and transmitted by the tasks,
  • the details of the individual tasks (workflow activities), and
  • the interface to external task development tools (e.g., Microsoft's FrontPage to design the interface of a user task, or a rapid application development tool).

The functionality of the METEOR workflow designer has been tailored so that it allows for almost-complete automatic code generation for a complete workflow application. User tasks involving human interactions and database tasks are automatically generated. For the computer (automatic) tasks including those accessing legacy systems, wrapper code is generated to utilize an executable code. Each runtime (ORBWork and WebWork) has a suitable code generator. Workflow specified by the designer can also be stored in the METEOR repository (which can be accessed using a WfMC API).

Current designer version 2.4 is C++ based and runs on Windows95, NT and Sun/Solaris. A fully Java-based designer is due to be completed in Q4'98. Additional capabilities it is expected to support include design and specification for exception handling and recovery, security (including multi-level security), and correctness of specification. A METEOR-CD with the designer, multimedia tutorial, documentation, etc. is available to faculty members teaching graduate courses involving workflow management from the LSDIS lab, or for commercial use evaluation from Infocosm, Inc.

METEOR Designer and WEBWORK enactment system [March 1997] (Zipped Powerpoint 7.0 file).

A detailed presentation on METEOR's Workflow Designer (Zipped Powerpoint 7.0 file).