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Tracking allows workflow information to be extracted from running workflows. The information is usually saved to a storage medium for monitoring or analysis. Tracking is not added to the WF runtime in its default configuration; it is an optional, pluggable runtime service (just as the persistence service is). WF ships with a SQL Server tracking service that stores running workflow information to SQL Server. If you need to store the information in a different storage medium, you can customize the tracking service to do so. WF also ships with the WorkflowMonitor SDK sample that reads the information in the SQL Server tracking database and graphically displays it. Figure 1.14 shows a running sequential workflow graphically displayed (the same one displayed at design time in Figure 1.10). The checkmarks illustrate which activities executed. The left pane allows you to select the workflow model and specific instance you are interested in. There is also a filtering mechanism at the top that can be used to select which workflows to show.

Figure 1.14

Figure 1.14 Workflow Monitor sample.

WF's very powerful tracking capability is used to extract the tracking information from running workflows. The information can be stored to any medium. WF's SQL Server tracking service is used to store the information to SQL Server. Then the WorkflowMonitor SDK application is used to graphically display and interact with the information that is extracted from the workflow and stored in SQL Server.

If the objective were to compare orders to target and display pie charts and trigger alerts for problem orders, another front-end application would be developed to do this. A BPMS would generally have more tools as part of its BAM offering that simplify developing user interfaces that show workflow information in analytical formats. WF's focus is to make sure the information can be extracted and not on the tools that control the output, although the WorkflowMonitor application is useful in and of itself.

Tracking is covered in Hour 13, "Learning to Track Workflows."

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