The OCoN Approach to Workflow Modeling in Object-Oriented Systems

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Workflow management aims at modeling and executing application processes in complex technical and organizational environments. Modern information systems are often based on object-oriented design techniques, for instance, the Unified Modeling Language (UML). These systems consist of application objects which collaborate to achieve a common goal. Although application objects collaborate in the context of business processes that can be supported by workflow technology, workflow modeling is typically done with proprietary workflow languages. Hence, two separate formalisms are present for modeling application objects and workflows. In this paper we try to remedy this situation by proposing the use of Object Coordination Nets (OCoN) for workflow modeling. OCoN nets provide a seamless integration with UML structure diagrams. The OCoN formalism also helps to deal with all relevant aspects of modeling complex workflow systems in a scalable and consistent manner.

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