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Deferred Processing

The engine has a deferred processing feature that allows long-running tasks to be handled by background engines instead of in real time. Deferring the execution of activity functions to background engines allows the Workflow Engine to move forward to process other activities that are currently active. The engine can be set up to operate anywhere on a continuum between processing all eligible work immediately, to processing nothing and marking all transitions as deferred.

Each activity has a user-defined processing cost. You can set this cost to be small if the activity merely sets an item attribute, or you may set it to be very high if the activity performs a resource-intensive operation. If the result of a completed activity triggers the execution of a costly function, you might want to defer the execution of that costly function to a background engine.

The Workflow Engine integrates with Oracle Advanced Queues to carry out deferred processing. If a function activity has a cost that exceeds the main threshold cost, the Workflow Engine marks that activity with a status of 'DEFERRED' in the workflow status tables and enqueues the deferred activity to a special queue for deferred activities. A special queue processor called the background engine checks and processes the activities in the 'deferred' queue. The order in which the deferred activities are processed are based on the first in, first out ordering of an activity' enqueue time. At least one background engine must be set up to run at all times. Some sites may have multiple background engines operating at different thresholds or item type specifications, to avoid tying up all background processing with long-running operations.

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