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Project Description
TextFlow is a language-based workflow compiler and execution environment. It allows authors to create Windows Workflow-based executable programs using a language syntax as opposed to drag and drop in the WF designer.

The project consists of several parts: an authoring environment that displays workflow syntax as well as visual flowchart; a compiler to translate syntax to WF programs; a decompiler to translate from WF program to syntax; and an execution engine that provides all necessary runtime infrastructure.

The grammar that defines workflow syntax is built using ANTLR ( It supports various control flow constructs such as conditional branching and looping, iteration, parallel execution, etc.

Here's a simple "Hello World" in TextFlow:


WAITFOR 3 SECONDS // delay thrown in just for fun...

"Hello, World!" => Message // 'Message' DependencyProperty of custom activity bound to string

DisplayMessage // some custom activity that displays a message, somehow


Noteworthy aspects of the codebase:

- demonstrates how to build workflows using the WF activity object model, including data binding
- demonstrates how to host the WF designer in a Windows Forms application
- demonstrates use of .NET 3.5 expression trees ( to compute conditional logic
- demonstrates how to implement a serialization surrogate (needed to allow WF infrastructure to serialize expression trees, which aren't inherently serializable)
- demonstrates use of Reflection.Emit APIs to dynamically generate Activity subclasses, including dynamic DependencyProperty creation (necessary to bind arbitrarily-typed inputs and outputs)

Constructive feedback welcome, and appreciated!



Last edited Mar 1, 2008 at 3:08 AM by jplane, version 2