Global transaction support for workflow management systems: from formal specification to practical implementation

P.W.P.J. Grefen, J. Vonk, Peter M.G. Apers

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47 Citations (Scopus)
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In this paper, we present an approach to global transaction management in workflow environments. The transaction mechanism is based on the well-known notion of compensation, but extended to deal with both arbitrary process structures to allow cycles in processes and safepoints to allow partial compensation of processes. We present a formal specification of the transaction model and transaction management algorithms in set and graph theory, providing clear, unambiguous transaction semantics. The specification is straightforwardly mapped to a modular architecture, the implementation of which is first applied in a testing environment, then in the prototype of a commercial workflow management system. The modular nature of the resulting system allows easy distribution using middleware technology. The path from abstract semantics specification to concrete, real-world implementation of a workflow transaction mechanism is thus covered in a complete and coherent fashion. As such, this paper provides a complete framework for the application of well-founded transactional workflows.
Original languageUndefined
Article number10.1007/s007780100056
Pages (from-to)316-333
Number of pages18
JournalVLDB journal
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - Dec 2001


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