Forum OpenACS Q&A: Workflow package download, Where and How-To

Request notifications

[09:43:43] dominique klutz: i spent 5 hours today to find the workflow package... quite disappointing.
[09:43:59] … broken links, 404 etc.
[09:50:16] … openacs-4/packages/workflow
[09:50:40] …
[10:06:04] …
Posted by Kenneth Wyrick on
We found it, downloaded it to the package folder, it installed fine via install service and now we are trying to use the tclsh interpreter as follows:
package require workflow
can't find package workflow

The main thing is trying to use the tclsh interpreter and we see that some packages work and some packages do not work. Where can we go to better understand how this works with the OpenACS and in particular the status of using the Workflow package which is what is required for a provisioning system we have inherited a design for that we need to make work better.

Posted by Kenneth Wyrick on
OK. We found the following document which is explaining
pkg_mkIndex -
Build an index for automatic loading of packages

Are we on the right track?

Posted by Torben Brosten on


grep workflow packages/*/*.info | grep requires shows that these packages require the workflow package:


Workflow is a great idea, so long as workflows can be defined well in the paradigm of the workflow one is using. This blog item ( links to a table that shows current limitations of common workflows.

I have had an extended, bad experience trying to debug bug-tracker with its dependence on workflow. workflow appears to be in a state of limbo with the original programmer having abandoned OpenACS and I believe no newer packages depending on it.

You might have an easier time creating your own workflow paradigm, or be able to bypass workflow altogether by creating code for input/outputs that create output based on the dependencies of inputs. This way, processes can be as flexible as the structure of the data flow. Just some thoughts..

good luck!

Posted by Dave Bauer on

OpenACS packages are not related to the Tcl package concept at all. You can not call "package require" from tclsh and expect any OpenACS package to function.

Most OpenACS packages will require the AOLserver Tcl APIs especially database APIs to function.

Posted by Kenneth Wyrick on
dominique klutz: well, nothing much to say - it's clear - forget about workflow - rewrite -it.
Posted by Kenneth Wyrick on
] dominique klutz: i don't understand a lot about their answers - but one sentence is interesting : because of the nature of the language - it's possible to write directly a workflow logic, that can be changed (dynamically).
[09:06:26] … I am thinking on that.I might be able to come up with a solution
Posted by Kenneth Wyrick on
dominique klutz: My main concern, is that ther is too much doc that is obsolete, or packages untouched since 1999, 2001. Those are not maintaned - not reliable. I am sure ActiveState, and Dekka spent a lot of time to debug that all thing.
Posted by Kenneth Wyrick on
[09:13:54] dominique klutz: I will spend one week to rebuild (if possible) the interpreter and AOL server - find memory leaks and un-initalized data. and testing openacs on that rebuilt platform. If successfull, i will evaluate how much time for testing the basic tcllib. Could take a few months. Will see if my customer has the budget.
[09:14:50] … some packages look ok like xotcl
[09:15:22] … but not sure about openacs.
[09:16:58] dominique klutz: at a certain point i will compare with Groovy - yes.
[09:18:05] Kenneth Wyrick: so you figure you will be able to use tcl but you need to test whether or not the openacs will work for you.
[09:18:49] dominique klutz: it's like a big forest, some people are born in it, they know where to go and where not to go. It's another story for a newcomer.
[09:19:29] Kenneth Wyrick:
[09:19:38] dominique klutz: But knowing TeX very well, i see the power of TCL behing a web server.
[09:20:09] Kenneth Wyrick: ok i was thinking that based on what you told me before.
[09:21:25] dominique klutz: My hope is to discover that aolserver is rock solid like TeX.
[09:21:45] Kenneth Wyrick: yes that would be good
[09:22:09] dominique klutz: Tex did not have any new release since 2001 (i think) and i never put any customer in danger using tex.
[09:22:35] Kenneth Wyrick: so the same thing is the case with some of the oacs
[09:22:42] dominique klutz: So I have no problem with aolserver not having new release.
[09:22:54] … If it's really rock solid.
[09:23:23] … because with TCL we can extend to anything.
[09:23:34] Kenneth Wyrick: that's cool
[09:25:23] dominique klutz: the other positive thing is that openacs is a base for quickly presenting prototypes.
[09:26:46] Kenneth Wyrick: i like that too. i've started going through the new tutorial.
[09:27:03] dominique klutz: so far i have 21 files C++ compiled successful.
[09:27:17] Kenneth Wyrick: how many total?
[09:27:51] dominique klutz: ~100
[09:28:39] … for tcl interpreter - I have to say " well written"
[09:28:57] … not too cryptic.
Posted by Brian Fenton on
Hi Kenneth,

we in Quest Computing still use the original acs-workflow package (which was later rewritten as plain "workflow" but we prefer the original- it's incredibly powerful). I know Frank Bergmann in Project Open uses it too (see this posting and also - I know Frank has written a lot of documentation around it).

Hope this helps

We are still trying to understand how to use the workflow inside the openacs. We now know that the package concept of tcl is different from the package in openacs. So the work DK did on recompiling the tcl interpreter while being good for him using tcl will not do anything for us using openacs.

Our issues include being able to generate a list of all the workflows being used. AND getting a feel for using it in the creation of a package.

So we started with the list of oacs applications you provided (above) and continued looking for details as follows:
[00:18:21] …
[00:20:23] …
[00:22:54] …
[00:25:06] …
[00:27:23] …
[00:28:48] …
[00:43:56] …
[00:44:23] …
workflow.Action_SideEffect Get the name of the side effect to create action
workflow.ActivityLog_FormatTitle Output additional details for the title of an activity log entry
workflow.NotificationInfo Get information for notifications
workflow.Role_AssigneePickList Get the most likely assignees for a role in a workflow case
workflow.Role_AssigneeSubQuery Get the name of a subquery to use when searching for users
workflow.Role_DefaultAssignees Get default assignees for a role in a workflow case

It would be great if you could give us more details about the work you have done on the bug-tracker and any specifics on the things that did and did not work?

What bug tracker solution are you using today?
It got late and

Posted by Torben Brosten on
workflow in the wiki:

workflow specs at Collaboraid via is using workflow 2.1.1

bugtracker bugs:

workflow bugs:

Note bugtracker bug 2978 and workflow bug 2756

If you install bugtracker from repository via /acs-admin/install then the dependent workflow package is automatically added to the package installation process.