another Workflow system

Lyn Headley laheadle@REDACTED
Tue Feb 1 07:33:16 CET 2005

Hi Bob,

your workflow system reminds me of the system I'm working on,
although not exactly. My system facilitates 2-party "complex
conversations" (it's designed for working social theorists, e.g.
professors, grad students, etc, but should work for any kind of
complex conversation). right now it's a quick and dirty
distel/erlang program looking for a more robust network semantics
and backend. the idea is that a conversation consists of a series
of topics, where a topic is displayed in an emacs frame and
contains 4 buffers called perspectives, which represent positions
in the evolving argument/dialogue. 

like so:

| self-strong | other-weak |
|other-strong | self-weak  |

where self-strong is my position, other-strong is your position,
self-weak is my reply to your position, and other-weak is your
reply to my position. then at any time i can either

1) rewrite self-strong
2) rewrite self-weak or
3) create a new topic.

now here's where the workflow comes in. once we've got two (or
more) topics going we'll have several fairly independent lines of
dialogue going. Thus I may be writing a reply on topic one while
you update topic two. The difficulty for my system is that,
although it is useful for the system to inform me when my partner
has made a "move," this doesn't mean my partner must wait on my
reply before moving again. in fact, if I make a change and don't
like it, I can just change it again. So I suppose my system needs
something like an event notification engine, rather than the
strict turn-based ordering you can rely on. But I like the tabbed
interface idea with Green and Red indicating the "needs
attention" status of the tab. And I'm thinking of going over to
UBF at some point too. So i'll be curious to see where your
project heads.

Lyn Headley

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