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What is a Workflow Language?

A. Leverkuhn
A. Leverkuhn

A workflow language is a kind of language needed to support workflow management systems (WfMS) for business execution. This kind of syntax is used with workflow software and other tools to help a business run smoothly. Lots of today’s companies are looking at workflow language and related systems to optimize different parts of their business plan.

The idea behind workflow language is that a workflow, as a complex set of procedural steps, can benefit from advanced modeling with software and other technology. A workflow model basically shows how business processes function, and helps planners to analyze what goes on in a company. Like any kind of advanced model, a workflow system needs a syntax, and a workflow type language helps to provide for coherent implementation.

Man holding computer
Man holding computer

Over time, different workflow languages have evolved to meet the needs of companies that are utilizing workflow management systems. A workflow oriented language may be used in conjunction with computer languages such as XML, a markup language that is popular for data handling applications. The workflow language may also be part of visual modeling, where parts of the workflow management system need to be accurately labeled for easy recognition and comprehension.

Workflow languages are also referred to as parts of Business Process Management (BPM). These languages can support programs on various platforms and operating systems. The general idea is to provide more versatility for processes. The system supported by a workflow language may be made of separate components. For example, in the new workflow language YAWL (Yet Another Workflow Language) pioneered at universities, the system includes a graphical display component, an execution engine, and a workflow handler. Using these various tools in conjunction can help business leaders make the leap from passive analysis into active implementation. The workflow language makes all of the various parts of the system more accessible to planners or to the casual observer.

In today’s business world, optimizing a workflow can take many forms. One popular area of analysis is in how data gets from one place to another within a business, and what forms that data takes. A workflow management system might look at a contrast between HTML and PDF files in a given location, or paper versus electronic records in a flow from one owner to another. Workflow languages supporting workflow management systems help business leaders to craft decisions and implement improvements to their everyday processes.

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