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On the Definition of Exception Handling Policies for Asynchronous Events in Workflow Processes

On the Definition of Exception Handling Policies for Asynchronous Events in Workflow Processes
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Author(s): Belinda M. Carter (University of Queensland, Australia) and Maria E. Orlowska (University of Queensland, Australia)
Copyright: 2007
Pages: 4
Source title: Managing Worldwide Operations and Communications with Information Technology
Source Editor(s): Mehdi Khosrow-Pour, D.B.A. (Information Resources Management Association, USA)
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-59904-929-8.ch043
ISBN13: 9781599049298
EISBN13: 9781466665378


Workflow technology is ideal for supporting highly repetitive and predictable processes. However, exceptional situations may occur in any process and due to the costs associated with exception handling, this functionality should be automated wherever possible. One important class of such exceptions is those that represent predictable deviations from the normal behavior of the process that can be anticipated at design time. Such ‘expected’ exceptions are often caused by the occurrence of external events. These exceptions are asynchronous with respect to the process and will generally occur infrequently, but they are a part of the semantics of the process, and so should be included in the process model. The desired handling response to these events will often depend on the current state of process execution, as described through exception handling policies. In this paper, we present a qualitative discussion on issues relevant to the definition of policies for handling asynchronous expected exceptions. First, we highlight the requirement for workflow control data to be referenced in the policies if these exceptions are to be handled in a meaningful way. We then demonstrate that the definition of exception handling policies is not a trivial exercise in the context of complex processes, and discuss correctness criteria for these definitions. Finally, we outline a methodology for the policy specification phase to ensure that the set of policies for each event is complete and consistent with respect to all possible states of process execution for any given model.

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