Prototype: Biologist workflow implemented as StateMachineActivities

I have a solid prototype of a wizard that steps through the workflow we agreed on. It’s a “perpetual motion” machine that keeps going until the user hits cancel. It maintains the model structure as the user goes along. Each model entity (cyg, patch, waypoint) is represented by a different statemachine based on windows workflow foundations. There is one state machine per model object instance (for example every CYG has its own instance of a cyg workflow).

Basically, it keeps asking for more until you cancel, tracking what is complete and what still remains to sample.

There’s a little video (mhscontroller-test-20080624.swf) which is relatively boring except for what is going on under the hood. The movie just loops.

Next steps are to wire these workflows and the new model into the main application. Then fine tune the events from measuring instruments.

The Biologist’s Workflow

CurrentYearGrowth state machine workflow activity

PlantPatch state machine workflow activity

Waypoint state machine workflow activity

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Workflow: Sampling Biomass at a Waypoint

This diagram describes the decisions and processes that a field biologist would use to completely sample the biomass at a specific agency waypoint. The workflow aims to be flexible by allowing the biologist to select a variable number of patches or twigs. The design focuses on what the user would experience rather than what they would have to click. Many of the decision points and steps will be driven automatically by input from measuring instruments. For example, measuring long axis with the disto would automatically transtion the user to the process of measuring the short axis.

This is me interpreting the notes from Don, Kenrick and myself. The idea is this is the users perspective. Then once this is agreed I can do a state machine from the “computer’s” perspective. I’ll do quick mockup forms that represent the different dialogs in the state machine (wizard). Then that gets turned into a windows .net workflow and a series of .NET forms.


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New Home for Repository & Blog

Last summer I switched the CVS repository over to SVN. I was hosting at home. This summer I’ve moved the subversion repository and the wordpress blog to UAA’s Mathematical Sciences server; bigmazzy. The new web url is

The new subversion URL isn’t working yet because mazzy has an older version of SVN. Plus, I need to arrange anonymouse access. But here’s the hint for the project members.


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