Workflow overview

Overview of Dapr Workflow

Dapr workflow makes it easy for developers to write business logic and integrations in a reliable way. Since Dapr workflows are stateful, they support long-running and fault-tolerant applications, ideal for orchestrating microservices. Dapr workflow works seamlessly with other Dapr building blocks, such as service invocation, pub/sub, state management, and bindings.

The durable, resilient Dapr Workflow capability:

  • Offers a built-in workflow runtime for driving Dapr Workflow execution.
  • Provides SDKs for authoring workflows in code, using any language.
  • Provides HTTP and gRPC APIs for managing workflows (start, query, pause/resume, raise event, terminate, purge).
  • Integrates with any other workflow runtime via workflow components.
Diagram showing basics of Dapr Workflow

Some example scenarios that Dapr Workflow can perform are:

  • Order processing involving orchestration between inventory management, payment systems, and shipping services.
  • HR onboarding workflows coordinating tasks across multiple departments and participants.
  • Orchestrating the roll-out of digital menu updates in a national restaurant chain.
  • Image processing workflows involving API-based classification and storage.

Features

Workflows and activities

With Dapr Workflow, you can write activities and then orchestrate those activities in a workflow. Workflow activities are:

  • The basic unit of work in a workflow
  • Used for calling other (Dapr) services, interacting with state stores, and pub/sub brokers.

Learn more about workflow activities.

Child workflows

In addition to activities, you can write workflows to schedule other workflows as child workflows. A child workflow is independent of the parent workflow that started it and support automatic retry policies.

Learn more about child workflows.

Timers and reminders

Same as Dapr actors, you can schedule reminder-like durable delays for any time range.

Learn more about workflow timers and reminders

Workflow HTTP calls to manage a workflow

When you create an application with workflow code and run it with Dapr, you can call specific workflows that reside in the application. Each individual workflow can be:

  • Started or terminated through a POST request
  • Triggered to deliver a named event through a POST request
  • Paused and then resumed through a POST request
  • Purged from your state store through a POST request
  • Queried for workflow status through a GET request

Learn more about how manage a workflow using HTTP calls.

Workflow patterns

Dapr Workflow simplifies complex, stateful coordination requirements in microservice architectures. The following sections describe several application patterns that can benefit from Dapr Workflow.

Learn more about different types of workflow patterns

Workflow SDKs

The Dapr Workflow authoring SDKs are language-specific SDKs that contain types and functions to implement workflow logic. The workflow logic lives in your application and is orchestrated by the Dapr Workflow engine running in the Dapr sidecar via a gRPC stream.

Supported SDKs

You can use the following SDKs to author a workflow.

Language stack Package
Python dapr-ext-workflow
.NET Dapr.Workflow
Java io.dapr.workflows

Try out workflows

Quickstarts and tutorials

Want to put workflows to the test? Walk through the following quickstart and tutorials to see workflows in action:

Quickstart/tutorial Description
Workflow quickstart Run a workflow application with four workflow activities to see Dapr Workflow in action
Workflow Python SDK example Learn how to create a Dapr Workflow and invoke it using the Python DaprClient package.
Workflow .NET SDK example Learn how to create a Dapr Workflow and invoke it using ASP.NET Core web APIs.
Workflow Java SDK example Learn how to create a Dapr Workflow and invoke it using the Java io.dapr.workflows package.

Start using workflows directly in your app

Want to skip the quickstarts? Not a problem. You can try out the workflow building block directly in your application. After Dapr is installed, you can begin using workflows, starting with how to author a workflow.

Limitations

With Dapr Workflow in beta stage comes the following limitation(s):

  • State stores: For the 1.12.0 beta release of Dapr Workflow, using the NoSQL databases as a state store results in limitations around storing internal states. For example, CosmosDB has a maximum single operation item limit of only 100 states in a single request.

  • Horizontal scaling: For the 1.12.0 beta release of Dapr Workflow, if you scale out Dapr sidecars or your application pods to more than 2, then the concurrency of the workflow execution drops. It is recommended to test with 1 or 2 instances, and no more than 2.

Watch the demo

Watch this video for an overview on Dapr Workflow:

Next steps

Workflow features and concepts >>