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 Projects  from:  OMP

XML for Workflow Management

Leader: Lubell, Joshua

New Hire - Student

Total FTE .45

1998 MEL Goals Supported

1. Laboratory research and development.

3. Information-based National and International Standards and Measurements

Project Objective

Explore the use of XML (eXtensible Markup Language), a standard for structured document interchange on the Web, for exchanging complex data objects between tasks in a distributed workflow application.

Needs Addressed

The increasing prevalence of virtual enterprises is driving a need to coordinate the efforts of individuals and teams using different computer platforms residing on different local area networks. Such coordination often requires the exchange of complex data objects among distributed applications. The Web has become a popular computing environment for virtual enterprises because it allows users on heterogeneous platforms to use the same applications and access the same data. The emerging XML standard provides a convenient and cost-effective way to define structured data objects to be shared among distributed tasks and applications on the Web. This project investigates the feasibility of XML as a means of reducing the cost to US industry of using distributed object technology for managing workflow.

Technical Approach

The WebWork workflow application development tool kit, created by the University of Georgia with funding from NIST's Advanced Technology Program, supports the building of distributed, web-based workflow applications. NIST has demonstrated the benefits of XML for representing highly structured documents such as product data standard specifications and has shown that WebWork can be integrated with an XML repository. Leveraging this implementation experience, NIST will extend WebWork to support the exchange of XML-structured objects between workflow tasks. NIST will demonstrate the efficacy of this approach by building a small application to manage a subset of the workflow in ISO TC184/SC4 (International Organization for Standardization Technical Committee 184, Subcommittee 4), an international standards body developing specifications for the representation and exchange of industrial data for which NIST serves as Secretariat.

FY 1998 Plans

  • Obtain and install latest version of the WebWork software from the University of Georgia.
  • Build application employing XML to manage subset of workflow for ISO TC184/SC4.
  • Implement extension to WebWork allowing data objects to be passed between tasks using XML
  • Choose an XML processor to be integrated with WebWork.
  • Survey third party XML software development tools and existing XML applications.

Five Year Plan Goals
vs. Fiscal Year

1998 Implement XML extension to WebWork [ATP Healthcare]

1999 Build workflow application for ISO TC184/SC4 [ATP Healthcare, APDE]

1999 Publish paper discussing XML/WebWork integration[ATP Electronic Commerce]

Standards and Measurement Services


W3C Activity on SGML, XML, and Structured Document Interchange, ISO TC184/SC4.

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