I recommend having a separate Development machine and Test machine for working with the SDK.  I have mine set up as follows:

  • Development machine - contains Visual Studio 2008, Workflow Studio 1.0, and the Workflow Studio 1.0 SDK (C# templates).
  • Test machine - just has Workflow Studio 1.0 on it for testing activities created on the development machine.   Having a separate box for testing allows you to be sure that your activity works on a non-development machine.

One thing you may notice is that I have the full Workflow Studio 1.0 product on my development machine as well.  The benefit of placing Workflow Studio on the development machine is that it allows you to step through your code in Visual Studio by attaching to the key Workflow Studio processes.   I’ll go into more detail on that later in this blog series.   Technically you can get by without installing Workflow Studio on your dev machine by copying over 5 key DLLs from another Workflow Studio installation.  The Activity Developers Guide provides details on how to locate and copy these DLLs if you wanted a more minimal installation. 

1 – My initial development machine layout:
When I started building my Dev machine I had a barebones Windows Server 2003 installation:

  • Windows Server 2003 SP1
  • IIS with ASP/ASP.NET enabled

2 – Install the prereqs for Visual Studio 2008 and Workflow Studio 1.0:
Next, I installed the prereqs for Workflow Studio and Visual Studio listed below. 

3 – Install Visual Studio 2008
Third, I installed the Visual Studio product.

  • During installation, select at least the C# language since the WFS Activity templates are based on C#. You can choose other languages as well if you want to use this machine for other purposes later on.
  • After installation, launch Visual Studio and select the C# development layout on the first time use screen.   I’ve tried both the VB IDE layout and C# IDE layout and the C# layout makes it a lot easier to set up the “stepping through code” settings for later on. 

4 – Install Workflow Studio 1.0
Fourth, I installed Workflow Studio 1.0.

  • During installation, point to your SQL Database installation (mine was local SQLEXPRESS).  When configuring the Runtime Service, I added one service that is tied to my local admin account.
  • After installation, launch Workflow Studio and ensure you can access the Workflow Studio Console 

5 – Install Workflow Studio 1.0 SDK
Finally, I installed the Workflow Studio SDK.   This installation adds 4 templates to Visual Studio (2 project templates and 2 class templates)

  • During installation, take all of the defaults.
  • After installation, launch Visual Studio and verify that these templates are present.  Essentially, try to create a new C# project and the Workflow Studio project templates should be listed there. 


After completing the final step, you’re all set to start writing custom activities.   If this is your first time developing an activity I definitely recommend checking out the Activity Developers Guide that explains how to create a few sample activity projects. 

Blogs in this series: