Oracle Workflow, a brief introduction – Part 1 Setting up an environment

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Maybe the following question will arise after reading the title: Oracle Workflow isn’t that obsolete technology?

The answer can be very short: Yes it is. (Read the SOD on
But it’s still interesting enough to dive into it. Oracle Workflow is heavy used in the E-Business Suite and also used by Warehouse Builder, with, in both cases, workflow customizations. There are also a lot of customers using the standalone variant. Imagine they all want to convert to Oracle BPEL…  Then it would be nice to know something about it.

In the next (at least) 3 blogs, i will give you a brief look into the world of Oracle Workflow, consisting of the following subjects:

•    Building a simple workflow
•    Setting up a workflow with email communication
•    Using the Business Event System

What do you need for a start?
Download the Oracle database and the corresponding Companion CD from OTN. You also need the Workflow builder software (in a later stage). It can be found at the following link:

The basic installation of the database software with a starter database (I used the EE) will be enough to install and run the Workflow server.

Workflow Server installation
Run the setup for the Companion CD after completing the database install. Select the following option to install the Workflow Server:

Select the Oracle home of the installed database and complete the install wizard with defaults.
This installation only puts a wf directory on your hd with the Workflow Server installation and configuration software.

After installing these products you’re able to install the Workflow Server in the database.

Check if your database is running.

Select the following install file: ORACLE_HOME\wf\install\wfinstall.bat or select (Windows install): Start menu, choose Programs, then Oracle – HOME_NAME, then Configuration and Migration Tools, then Workflow Configuration Assistant.

Choose the Server Only install option and enter an (database) account and password for installation of the server components.

To retrieve the TNS Connect Descriptor you can follow the steps below:

TNS Connect Descriptor – The database connect string in TNS format:

host_name)(PORT = port_number))) (CONNECT_DATA = (SERVICE_NAME =

The connect string is stored in the tnsnames.ora file, which in a default installation is located in ORACLE_HOME\network\admin. An easy way to find the connect string in a single-line format is to run the tnsping command at a command prompt, output the results into a text file, and then copy and paste the connect string into the TNS Connect Descriptor box. For example, to get the connect string for a database named ORCL you could enter:

c:\> tnsping orcl > tns.txt

You can leave the checkbox for LDAP and Mailer blank. I will get back to these options in one of the following blog’s. They can be configured after this basic installation.

Workflow Middle Tier installation
After completing the database server install, run the setup of the Companion CD again and choose the following option:

Don’t forget to choose a separate home for this installation!!!

Check both options as shown in the screen below:


Enter user and database information you used to install the Workflow Server. After clicking next, enter the password of the Workflow Server database user.


After finishing this Workflow Middle Tier installation your workflow environment is complete and consists of the following components (except Workflow Builder and of course the mail client):

Browsing your Workflow environment
You can browse your environment with 2 standard delivered web applications:
–    Workflow Homepage
–    Workflow Manager

The Workflow Homepage can be reached with the following URL http://<hostname>:<port>/pls/wf/wfa_html.home. The host name and port number (HTTP Server port) variables can be found in WORKFLOW_MIDDLETIER_HOME\ install\ portlist.ini file. The HTTP server installed with the Workflow Middle Tier installation must be running.



Accessing the Workflow Manager is a little bit more complicated. You have to start the OC4J Workflow Management Container. To start the container click ORACLE_DB_HOME\ wf\admin\wfmgrstart.bat.

After that, start the Enterprise Manager page of your database (http://<hostname>:<port>/em). The port number variable can be found in ORACLE_DB_HOME\ install\ portlist.ini. The hostname variable equals the Workflow Homepage hostname. Log on with, for example, your SYS user. The link to the Workflow Manager can be found at the bottom of the page under Related Links. The Workflow Middle Tier installation installs the Workflow Manager by default as a plug-in for Enterprise manager.

Click the link and log on with the Workflow database user from the server install.

Congratulations!! Your environment is ready to use.



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One thought on “Oracle Workflow, a brief introduction – Part 1 Setting up an environment

  1. He Andre,
    Leuke blog, krijg je al veel reacties?
    Als ik tijd kan vinden ga ik de boel ook eens installeren denk ik.
    Ik kijk al uit naar je volgende blog!
    Groeten, Frans

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