Workbench 0.18 User Guide


Context and Adaption

A Workbench Workflow is not just a static list of instructions; such a model wouldn’t be able to adjust to our circumstances.  A Workbench Workflow is:

  • Contextual – as we step through the workflow it prompts us for information which is then used to provide context to later workflow steps
  • Adaptive – the path through the workflow varies based on the information we feed it

Let’s look an example of a workflow to see the contextual and adaptive nature of a Workbench Workflow.

The workflow below is one being use to analyse an application performance problem.

Sample workflow

Notice how step 4 prompts for the name of the user that experienced the problem, and how this name is used in the very next step to provide context to the question regarding the application name.  The use of context in this way avoids clumsy, ambiguous questions and makes the workflow easier to understand.

In step 6 we start to collect information about the symptom, and this time value is used several times later in the workflow.

Step 7 is the first sign that the workflow adapts.  The user is prompted with a question regarding the type of device that Marc uses to access Contoso.  The options were PC, VDI session or MAC Book.  At this point the workflow forks.  The next ten or so steps for a scenario involving a PC are quite different from those where a VDI Session was used.  This is quite a simple example and as you can imagine these fork points can become quite sophisticated.

No instructional video could offer this level of flexibility and sophistication.

The workflows are delivered by a cloud service.  At the time of writing the library of workflows is small, but we will be significantly increased over the coming months as we see this as the most important feature of Workbench.