Hiring guide for Windows Workflow Foundation (WF) Engineers

Windows Workflow Foundation (WF) Developer Hiring Guide

Windows Workflow Foundation (WF) is a technology for defining, executing, and managing workflows, developed by Microsoft as part of .NET Framework 3.0. It provides a programming model, in-process workflow engine and rehostable designer to implement long-running processes as workflows within .NET applications. Introduced in 2006, WF was designed to allow developers to build applications which can host workflows and provide services to them. It has been used in various Microsoft products such as SharePoint and Dynamics CRM. This information is sourced from Microsoft's official documentation and various historical records on the evolution of .NET Framework technologies.

Ask the right questions secure the right Windows Workflow Foundation (WF) talent among an increasingly shrinking pool of talent.

First 20 minutes

General Windows Workflow Foundation (WF) app knowledge and experience

The first 20 minutes of the interview should seek to understand the candidate's general background in Windows Workflow Foundation (WF) application development, including their experience with various programming languages, databases, and their approach to designing scalable and maintainable systems.

What are the main components of Windows Workflow Foundation?
The main components of WF are the Workflow Runtime Engine, Base Activity Library, Custom Activities, and Host Process.
Describe the difference between Sequential and State Machine workflows in WF.
Sequential workflows are a series of steps that execute in order until the workflow completes. State Machine workflows, on the other hand, can execute steps in any order based on events and conditions.
How would you implement persistence in a WF application?
Persistence in WF can be implemented by using the SQLWorkflowInstanceStore class or by creating a custom instance store.
What are bookmarks in WF and how are they used?
Bookmarks in WF are points of interest or resumable points in the workflow. They are used to pause the workflow and wait for an external event to continue execution.
What is the role of the WorkflowInvoker class in WF?
WorkflowInvoker is a class in WF that is used to invoke a workflow as a simple function call. It is typically used for workflows that do not have bookmarks.
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What you’re looking for early on

Does the candidate have a solid understanding of Windows Workflow Foundation (WF)?
Has the candidate demonstrated experience with WF?
Can the candidate articulate how to design and implement workflows in WF?
Does the candidate have a good understanding of .NET and C#?

Next 20 minutes

Specific Windows Workflow Foundation (WF) development questions

The next 20 minutes of the interview should focus on the candidate's expertise with specific backend frameworks, their understanding of RESTful APIs, and their experience in handling data storage and retrieval efficiently.

How would you handle exceptions in a WF application?
Exceptions in WF can be handled using the TryCatch activity. This activity allows you to catch specific exceptions and perform actions based on the exception type.
What is the purpose of the CorrelationHandle class in WF?
The CorrelationHandle class in WF is used to correlate messages to the correct instance of a workflow. It is typically used in scenarios where multiple workflow instances are waiting for messages from the same source.
How would you implement parallel activities in a WF application?
Parallel activities in WF can be implemented using the Parallel activity. This activity allows multiple child activities to execute at the same time.
What is the difference between a CodeActivity and a NativeActivity in WF?
A CodeActivity in WF is a simple activity that executes a single method. A NativeActivity, on the other hand, has more control over the execution process and can create bookmarks, schedule other activities, and interact with the runtime.
How would you use the WorkflowApplication class in WF?
The WorkflowApplication class in WF is used to host workflows. It provides control over the workflow's lifecycle, including starting, pausing, resuming, and terminating the workflow.
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The ideal back-end app developer

What you’re looking to see on the Windows Workflow Foundation (WF) engineer at this point.

At this point, a skilled Windows Workflow Foundation (WF) engineer should demonstrate strong problem-solving abilities, proficiency in Windows Workflow Foundation (WF) programming language, and knowledge of software development methodologies. Red flags include lack of hands-on experience, inability to articulate complex concepts, or unfamiliarity with standard coding practices.

Digging deeper

Code questions

These will help you see the candidate's real-world development capabilities with Windows Workflow Foundation (WF).

What does the following Windows Workflow Foundation (WF) code do?
WorkflowInvoker.Invoke(new Workflow1());
This code is invoking a workflow synchronously using the WorkflowInvoker class. It creates a new instance of a workflow called 'Workflow1' and runs it.
What does the following WF code do?
WorkflowApplication wfApp = new WorkflowApplication(new Workflow1());
This code is creating a new instance of a workflow application with a new instance of 'Workflow1' and then running the workflow application. This is an asynchronous execution of the workflow.
What does the following WF code do?
Variable count = new Variable { Default = ExpressionServices.Convert((env) => 0) };
Sequence sequence = new Sequence { Variables = { count } };
This code is creating a new integer variable 'count' with a default value of 0 in a WF sequence. The sequence is then being added to the workflow's list of variables. This variable can be used within the sequence for various tasks.
What does the following WF code do?
WorkflowApplication wfApp = new WorkflowApplication(new Workflow1());
wfApp.Completed = delegate(WorkflowApplicationCompletedEventArgs e) {
Console.WriteLine('Workflow Completed with state ' + e.CompletionState);
This code is creating a new instance of a workflow application with a new instance of 'Workflow1'. It then assigns a delegate to the Completed event of the workflow application, which will write the completion state of the workflow to the console when the workflow completes. Finally, it runs the workflow application.

Wrap-up questions

Final candidate for Windows Workflow Foundation (WF) Developer role questions

The final few questions should evaluate the candidate's teamwork, communication, and problem-solving skills. Additionally, assess their knowledge of microservices architecture, serverless computing, and how they handle Windows Workflow Foundation (WF) application deployments. Inquire about their experience in handling system failures and their approach to debugging and troubleshooting.

What is the role of the WorkflowRuntime class in WF?
The WorkflowRuntime class in WF is the main entry point for creating, running, and managing workflows. It provides methods for creating and starting workflows, and events for handling workflow lifecycle events.
How would you implement a custom activity in WF?
A custom activity in WF can be implemented by creating a class that inherits from the Activity class and overriding its Execute method. The activity's behavior is defined in the Execute method.
What is the purpose of the WorkflowInstance class in WF?
The WorkflowInstance class in WF represents a running instance of a workflow. It provides methods for controlling the workflow's execution, such as Start, Suspend, Resume, and Terminate.

Windows Workflow Foundation (WF) application related

Product Perfect's Windows Workflow Foundation (WF) development capabilities

Beyond hiring for your Windows Workflow Foundation (WF) engineering team, you may be in the market for additional help. Product Perfect provides seasoned expertise in Windows Workflow Foundation (WF) projects, and can engage in multiple capacities.