WorldWideWorkFlow (WWWF or W3F) Concepts

If the World Wide Web (WWW) represents the global framework of publicly Internet accessible documents (Web Pages) and a gateway to applications running on remote servers world wide (Web Services), then the World Wide WorkFlow (WWWF or W3F) represents the nascent global framework of publicly Internet accesible workflows and their constituent applications.

While WWW deals mainly with information transfer of Web content which the user can browse freely, and WWW’s Common Gateway Interface (CGI) provides the interactivity between client and server, the W3F deals with information transfer between steps of a series of work processes, the information flow in a business logic, the protocol and procedures of many steps leading to a certain outcome, and the interfaces which the client user can interface with each of the steps of the workflow.

W3F is a world wide workflow system because

  • anyone should be able to develop a W3F application easily and offer the application for anyone (including the W3F application developer herself) to provide a W3F service based on that W3F application,
  • anyone (i.e. the W3F workflow developer) should be able to connect a series of W3F services into steps of a workflow where the ouputs of one step can be the inputs of other subsequent steps,
  • anyone (i.e. the W3F user) should be able to browse or search for specific workflows which another person (the W3F workflow developer) has constructed and published on the W3F,
  • anyone should be able to select workflows or templates authored by others and published on the W3F, and take the workflow and reuse or repurpose the selected workflow with new inputs and parameters and run the workflow on a selected and compatible W3F Workflow Orchestrator server,
  • any W3F Orchestrator server, based on the repurposed workflow so defined, can call designated or automatically assigned W3F Enactor/Executor servers to execute the so-advertised W3F application, and provide workflow management for the system to check with user, control and security policies, parameters, and other software before execution, and record workflow provenance and other audit trail features;
  • and like a WebEditor or WebMaster or Web Adminstrator for Web content creation, Web management and adminstration, the W3F orchestrator service provider can assemble a set of W3F enactors and offer these enactor services to the W3F users to assemble their workflows or workflow of workflows.
  • using W3F Browsers, anyone in the world can browse through W3F services comprising workflows and application services offered by W3F Orchestrators, just like Web Browsers allow users to traverse the WWW of content.
  • using W3F Editors, anyone in the world can drag and drop, link and connect W3F applications and compose their W3F workflows for their own use, or advertise it on a W3F Orchestrator service provider for others to reuse or repurpose with their W3F Editors.
  • emerging workflow standards will eventually allow the islands of W3F implementations to interoperate, such as any workflow can call the applications residing across different W3F Orchestration domains provided security issues are met, permissions are acquired, and economic issues are resolved.