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Dependency injection with Windows Workflow Foundation 4 can be very complex. 

This extension allows to use property injection on Windows Workflow Activities. 

Let us quickly dive into an example how this extension can be useful. Imagine you have a workflow which does the following:

	(1) Observes a given folder for file changes. When a new file arrives in the observed folder the workflow is resumed.
	(2) The new file which is indicated by the file changed event is opened and parsed by an IParser implementation
	(3) The result is passed to the client which invoked the workflow.
We have the following key problems now with classical Windows Workflow Foundation:

	(1) How to get IFolderWatcher into the step which observes a given folder for file changes.
	(2) How to get IParser into the step which parses the file
	(3) For event processing we need extensions which might need external dependencies.
	(4) How to unit test WorkflowInvoker and WorkflowApplication events like Completed, Faulted etc.

The workflow	
    public class FileInputTransformationWorkflow : Activity
        public InArgument<string> Filter { get; set; }

        public InArgument<string> Folder { get; set; }

        protected override Func<Activity> Implementation
                return () =>
                        var path = new Variable<string>();
                        var parsedValues = new Variable<IDictionary<string, double>>();

                        return new Sequence
                                Variables = { path, parsedValues },
                                Activities =
                                        new ObserveFolderStep
                                                Folder = new InArgument<string>(env => env.GetValue(this.Folder)),
                                                Filter = new InArgument<string>(env => env.GetValue(this.Filter)),
                                                Path = new OutArgument<string>(path),
                                        new ParseDataStep
                                                FilePath = new InArgument<string>(path),
                                                ParsedValues = new OutArgument<IDictionary<string, double>>(parsedValues),

                base.Implementation = value;
    public sealed class ObserveFolderStep : NativeActivity
        public InArgument<string> Filter { get; set; }

        public InArgument<string> Folder { get; set; }

        public OutArgument<string> Path { get; set; }

        public IFolderWatcher FolderWatcher { get; set; }

        protected override bool CanInduceIdle
                return true;

        protected override void CacheMetadata(NativeActivityMetadata metadata)
            // Tell the runtime that we need this extension


        protected override void Execute(NativeActivityContext context)
            var observeExtension = context.GetExtension<IObserveFolderExtension>();

            this.FolderWatcher.Folder = this.Folder.Get(context);
            this.FolderWatcher.Filter = this.Filter.Get(context);



            context.CreateBookmark(observeExtension.Bookmark, this.OnFileChanged);

        private void OnFileChanged(ActivityContext context, Bookmark bookmark, object value)

            this.Path.Set(context, (string)value);
    public sealed class ParseDataStep : CodeActivity
        public InArgument<string> Path { get; set; }

        public OutArgument<IDictionary<string, double>> ParsedValues { get; set; }

        public IParser Parser { get; set; }    

        protected override void Execute(CodeActivityContext context)
            var filePath = this.Path.Get(context);

            var result = this.Parser.Parse(filePath);

            this.ParsedValues.Set(context, result);
Workflow Hosting

	var workflow = this.kernel.Get<IWorkflowApplication>();

	// or use dictionary<string,object>
	var inputs = new { Folder = @"C:\temp\", Filter = "*.txt" };

	workflow.Initialize(new FileInputTransformationWorkflow(), inputs);
	// The binding for extensions must be transient to profit from the workflow foundation scoping.
Conditional bindings?

Activities can be reused. In the example the ParseDataStep could not only be used in FileInputTransformationWorkflow it might also be used in a SlightlyDifferentInputTransformationWorkflow which uses
another IParser implementation. Therefore you would need to define a binding to IParser depending on in which workflow the ParseDataStep would be reused. This is possible with the


or even more fancier stuff like

this.Bind<IParser>().To<Parser>().WhenInjectedIntoActivity(root => fancyCondition: bool);
this.Bind<IParser>().To<SlightlyDifferentParser>().WhenInjectedIntoActivity(root => anotherFancyCondition: bool);
How to hook into the injection chain?

In some cases you want to perform additional stuff on the activities. For example register certain activities on an Event Broker etc.
This can be achieved by implementing IActivityInjectorExtension. With CanProcess the extension must indicate whether it likes to
process a certain activity or not. In the Process method the actual operation such as registering on event broker etc. can be done.


The extensions are collected upon creation of the IActivityInjector. The order of the extension invocation is not predictable.	

Possible side effects?

The default activity resolver uses WorkflowInspectionServices.GetActivities recursively to retrieve all activities under a certain root activity.
This can have the following side effects (extract from MSDN):

To retrieve a specific activity instead of enumerating all of the activities, 
Resolve is used. Both Resolve and GetActivities perform metadata caching if
WorkflowInspectionServices.CacheMetadata has not been previously called. 
If CacheMetadata has been called then GetActivities is based on the existing metadata.
Therefore, if tree changes have been made since the last call to CacheMetadata, 
GetActivities might give unexpected results. If changes have been made to the workflow 
after calling GetActivities, metadata can be re-cached by calling the ActivityValidationServices Validate
method. Caching metadata is discussed in the next section.

You know it better?

If you have a smarter idea how to resolve all activities then you can swap out the internals of the extension. Simply rebind IActivityResolver.



Ninject extension for Windows Workflow Foundation 4







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