XML-based schema definition for support of interorganizational workflow

W. M.P. Van der Aalst, Akhil Kumar

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

127 Scopus citations


The full potential of the Web as a medium for electronic commerce can be realized only when multiple partners in a supply chain can route information among themselves in a seamless way. Commerce on the Internet is still far from being "friction free", because business partners cannot exchange information about their business processes in an automated manner. In this paper, we propose the design for an exchangeable Routing Language (XRL) using extensible Markup Language (XML) syntax. XML is a means for trading partners to exchange business data electronically. The novel contribution of our work is to show how XML can also be used to describe workflow process schemas to support flexible routing of documents in the Internet environment. The design of XRL is grounded in Petri nets, which is a well-known formalism. By using this formalism, it is possible to analyze correctness and performance of workflows described in XRL. Architectures to facilitate interoperation through loose and tight integration are also discussed. Examples illustrate how this approach can be used for implementing interorganizational electronic commerce applications. As a proof of concept, we have also developed. XRL/flower, a prototype implementation of a workflow management system based on XRL.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)23-46
Number of pages24
JournalInformation Systems Research
Issue number1
StatePublished - Mar 2003

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Management Information Systems
  • Information Systems
  • Computer Networks and Communications
  • Information Systems and Management
  • Library and Information Sciences


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