The Future of Work and Workflow – Speaking at the Rocky Mountain Tech Trifecta on Feb. 21st

If you’ve read this blog for any length of time where I’ve posted regularly, you’ll know that I’m a pretty big wonk for composition, Composite Apps and all things assembled and reused over coding from scratch.

So it should be no surprise that I’m quite a fan of Windows Workflow Foundation (WF), the Chico Marx of the .NET Framework, underappreciated for it’s elegance, simplicity and power to fundamentally change the way that applications are built in the future. Wait, that last part doesn’t quite apply to a lesser-known Marx brother, but you get the idea.

I’ve been interested in WF (If you hear me speak about it, notice that I will never, ever call it “Dub-F.” Can’t do it.) from the beginning, and have spent the last four months swimming in the deep end with WF, building some key pieces of an integration layer for a payment processing system that Thought Ascent has been working on for some time. Over that time, I’ve discovered that WF really does have all of the potential I suspected it did, and then some.

WF is a platform that will change the way we look at building applications, and I think that WF is a great example of the kinds of technologies that will move us closer and closer to true composition of applications over the next 5-7 years. Of course, being a Workflow platform released in concert with a universal framework for building connected systems (WCF) and the UI framework of the future (WPF) sort of makes Workflow Foundation like the third member of Destiny’s Child. Those other technologies were game changers from day one. WF has an uphill battle to fight for recognition and adoption, but I believe it’s the game changer of the future.

Not that it’s being ignored, I just think it’s been undervalued in the past, typically met with comments from developers and architects like “I get how it works, I just don’t see what it’s for”or “what does this give me that I can’t do myself with code?”

But I see that tone changing, with Microsoft putting a better and better case around Workflow though integration with key technologies, along with richer complimentary services and tighter integrations with WCF.

So why am I telling you all this?

As you may or may not know, the Rocky Mountain Tech Trifecta is coming up in Denver on February 21st. This event will bring together several experts in the world of .NET, SQL and Windows, along with a few wannabees like myself who will present on just about anything you could hope to hear about in a developers conference. And there will be some heavy hitters to be sure: Scott Hanselman, Paul Neilsen, Rob Bagby and others. I’m not worthy…

If you hadnt’t guessed from the first paragraphs of this post, I’ll be speaking on Windows Workflow Foundation. Here’s the abstract for the talk:

The Future of Work and Workflow

Since .NET 3.0, Windows Workflow Foundation (WF) has lived in the shadow of its flashy framework companions WCF and WPF. Yet from the start WF has been, at its core, about new ways of creating durable applications and composable units of work, both of which have the potential to change the way that developers assemble solutions. In this talk, Brandon will cover some of the highlights and recent enhancements to WF (Creating workflow services with WCF and WF, Workflow Persistence and Tracking), tips and tricks for advanced workflow scenarios (using MSMQ with workflow services, custom activities, etc.), and a preview of some upcoming Workflow features in the 4.0 Framework.

If you’re close to Denver and haven’t signed up yet, you can sign up at And if you’re planning on coming, drop me a line. It should be a fun day.

And if you’re not planning on coming, look for slides and code here over the next few weeks.