Build Performance Evaluation Workflow with WorkflowEngine in .NET

WorkflowEngine in .NET

Last Updated on December 12, 2023 by Aram

A workflow is a set of activities and events to be performed to complete a task or a process.

There are so many use cases where you might need to build a workflow.

Few examples of these use cases include:

  • Tasks Management System
  • Document Signing Process
  • HR Appraisal System
  • HR Leave Management System
  • Software Deployments Management

And many more.

A workflow that include several activities and involve different people from different roles to perform actions on each of the workflow activity.

If you want to build such a feature from scratch, you can go ahead and do so, but good luck in completing it without spending tons of hours and hefty efforts into preparing all the needed requirements, splitting them into tasks and writing code to achieve them, let’s not forget about the testing part as well.

It is a very long and complicated process.

In this article we are looking further in one of these use cases.

Employee Performance Evaluation Use Case

The use case we are looking at here is a very common process in the world of careers and companies.

The below diagram represents a simple flow for how a performance evaluation process will happen from start till the end.

Usually employees will have to undergo performance appraisal throughout the year by the company, this is a very important process to be done for the following reasons:

  • Review the work for each employee
  • Identify potential career growth opportunities
  • Set goals and objects that are requested by each employee
  • Understand if there are any problems or issues that are hindering the employee

And this list goes on, there are so many benefits from conducting a performance appraisal.

Nevertheless, many companies do this process manually:

The HR will pass an evaluation paper document for each employee and ask them to fill it

Then the employee will have to sit with their direct manager to discuss and agree on the employee’s evaluation values

And then the paper document will be sent back to the HR for final review and confirmation.

See how this approach is tedious?

The possibilities of failures and the hassle to recreate the document in case there was an issue or the HR didn’t approve the evaluation, and many other reasons.

Introducing WorkflowEngine by OptimaJet

Here comes the power of automation and setting up a digitized Workflow solutions.

And what is better than WorkflowEngine to fulfill this requirement and provide a smart and robust solution for this widely common problem.

A trusted and reliable provider that already invested countless of hours into building a ready solution to integrate with.

WorkflowEngine is your ultimate .NET workflow library that would provide you a complete solution to design and build a workflow process and integrate it right into your .NET applications.

WorkflowEngine is a flagship product of OptimaJet.

WorkflowEngine Features

WorkflowEngine comes bundled you with a lot of amazing features, including:

  • HTML 5 Visual Designer
  • Core Components: Activities, Transitions, Actions, Actors, Commands
  • Version Control
  • Parallel Workflows
  • XML Import/Export
  • Localization
  • Timers

WorkflowEngine Components

The main components of the workflow engine are:

  • WorkflowEngine Designer
  • WorkflowEngine Runtime
  • DB Provider
  • Workflow Tables
  • IWorkflowRuleProvider
  • IWorkflowActionProvider

This tutorial will show you how to integrate with WorkflowEngine your .NET application. you build a project that integrates with WorkflowEngine and the result will be displayed in Web Pages using ASP.NET Core Razor Pages Technology.

So here is the final diagram for the employee evaluation workflow

So let’s start building our application with workflow integration

In this tutorial we will learn how to integrate with WorkflowEngine which includes:

Creating the needed workflow persistence tables in Microsoft SQL Server

Preparing the .NET 8 solution in Visual Studio 2022

The Solution will include a core project for the runtime workflow engine and the persistence library

We will be utilizing .NET 8 in Visual Studio 2022

DB Persistence Setup

Whether you want to connect WorkflowEngine to an existing database or you want to have it on a separate database, you are covered from both sides.

WorkflowEngine requires some tables to be existing to be able to persist and maintain the workflow scheme and keep full track of all the workflow activities and processes.

Which implies that it doesn’t matter if you want to keep your workflow integration separately or you want to include it within your existing database.

So head over to WorkflowEngine’s download path and download the “WorkflowEngine 12.0.0 .NET Core ” compressed folder.

The latest version of WorkflowEngine was recently added, in 04-December-2023

Once the download is complete, extract it and locate the folder “OptimaJet.Workflow.DbPersistence”

Then explore the SQL folder and open the file CreatePersistenceObjects.sql

Run the SQL script.

You will notice the following tables added:

This is the persistence layer that WorkflowEngine will communicate to manage all the workflow related processes.

Workflow Runtime

Now let’s go create a .NET solution to see how we can integrate with OptimaJet’s WorkflowEngine

I will use VS 2022 latest update, feel free to choose the IDE of your preference.

Open VS 2022 and create a new empty solution

Then add a project, choose class library

This will host the Workflow Runtime, the core module that handles all the heavy lifting of the WorfklowEngine

Let’s make sure to add the related Nuget Packages of the WorkflowEngine in this project:

Now create a new class file with name WorkflowInit

It will contain the Workflow Runtime Initialization code, which is basically the bare minimum setup needed to configure the WorkflowEngine Runtime:

You can learn more about the different configurations and features that are supported by the Workflow Runtime from the official docs page.

This is great so far, we have basically covered one major component of the WorkflowEngine.

Let’s get into the new step, which is preparing the project to host and display Workflow designer UI component.

It is the component that will help us build the Performance Evaluation or appraisal workflow.

Workflow Designer

Project Setup

From the solution, let’s create a new project with type ASP.NET Core MVC Web Application

Add the same dependencies to this project:

Also you will need to add a project reference to the previous project, I named it Workflow.Core

Now we have all the needed dependencies ready.

We will start by preparing our Workflow Designer’s API endpoint.

This endpoint will handle the communication between the Designer component on the UI and the Workflow Runtime.

Designer API

Add a new Controller with name DesignerController:

Also we need to make sure the connection string is correctly loaded and set to the database that hosts the workflow persistence tables, as we have previously added in this tutorial.

Since I am using SQL Server Express database for this tutorial, here is how my appsettings.json looks like:

Your connection string might look different based on the type of database you are using.

Now let’s jump to prepare the UI part to load our Workflow Design Component.

Designer UI

From the Solution explorer, add a new folder with name ‘Designer’ under th

And inside it add an index.cshtml file

This file should include the razor code to prepare the web page:

Now navigate to Home folder and open index.cshtml and edit it to look as the below code:

Head to WorkflowEngine.NET site to download the needed UI resources for the Workflow Designer

You will need to download the below items:

  • templates folder
  • workflowdesigner.min.css
  • workflowdesigner.min.js

Add them under wwwroot folder of your Workflow.Designer Project, as per the below image:

Next, we will need to prepare the building blocks that setup the Workflow Designer and display it properly on the page while making sure all its functions are attached.

The index.cshtml under Designer Folder should look as the below:

Now let’s add some css to style the page and the buttons:

Now your Designer is ready to be displayed on browser.

One last thing before we test it, we need to make sure the connection string is correctly loaded and set to the database that hosts the workflow persistence tables, as we have previously added in this tutorial.

Since I am using SQL Server Express database for this tutorial, here is how my appsettings.json looks like:

Your connection string might look different based on the type of database you are using.

Now open program.cs file, and the below line after method call

Testing the Workflow Designer

Make sure to set the Workflow.Designer Project as startup project, then press F5 to run it on browser.

Click on Open Design button on the page, you should then see the Workflow Designer nicely loading its comprehensive components:

Designing the Performance Evaluation Workflow

Now let’s see how can we design our Performance Evaluation Workflow with this designer tool.

Note that any design you make can be saved (persisted) in the Workflow tables as a scheme in XML format, so that it can be pulled again at any time and edited here.

Also the power of WorkflowEngine lies in that it allows the system owner or admin to change the workflow at anytime and it will be reflected on the system without having to deploy or change code.

So let’s start designing our workflow


Drag and drop an initial activity.

Double-click on it to show the details panel, Change the name and state as per the below then press Save.

Now let’s add some basic activities and a final activity, edit them same as we have done in the previous activity.

These should look as the below on the designer:

For now we have only defined activities, these can actually do nothing without connections.

These connections are known as Transitions in WorkflowEngine.


A transition can come in 3 different forms:

Direct, Reverse or unspecified

A transition can happen upon an action, which is called a trigger.


A trigger can either be auto, command or timer

We can create some commands to help us define how we will trigger the transitions from some activities.

Click on the command icon from the designer’s top menu, second button:

This will open the commands dialog.

Press Create and let’s add 2 commands:

Submit and Amend

We will use these to trigger transitions for some activities.

There is a complete documentation about all the different elements of the Workflow Designer

Check the official docs here.

Now let’s complete our designer sample to make it look as the below:

Now let’s see how the scheme xml for this workflow would look like, from the Menu choose File then download scheme

Here is our complete workflow xml:

Next Steps:

After doing all those previous actions to prepare and run a workflow designer on our localhost, next would come implementing the above into actual .NET project where you can integrate with Workflow to handle all the processes that are related to multiple step operations to complete an action, same as have seen in the Performance Appraisal example in this tutorial.

WorkflowEngine has great sample codes, built with ASP.NET Core.

You can download the sample code from the GitHub account, and follow all the steps mentioned in the readme to test the implementation and have a bigger picture on this great product.

The project in the link shows how to build vacation requests workflow in ASP.NET Core using WorkflowEngine

Here is how it looks like:

And it has other functions that directly communicate with the Workflow Runtime:

  • Creating a vacation request
  • Displaying all the vacation requests workflows
  • Seeing all inbox and outbox workflow notifications
  • Ability to switch between the different employees to see how they can interact with the workflow activities.

And many others.

If you have technical questions, please let me know or reach out directly to OptimaJet’s tech support

For commercial use, you can send email to


In this tutorial we have learned how can WorkflowEngine help you build a workflow process for Employee performance appraisal using .NET and SQL Server.

WorkflowEngine is a comprehensive product that provides you great flexibility to integrate a workflow process into your .NET applications.

You can find lots of samples to help you integrate your .NET application with Workflow Engine

Get started with WorkflowEngine from here

Also there are video tutorials in OptimaJet’s Youtube Channel that explain the different processes and parts of the WorkflowEngine.

And a video by Jeff Fritz where he explains in details about WorkflowEngine.


I am always open to discuss any protentional opportunities and collaborations.

Check this page to learn more about how we can benefit each other.

Sponsorships and Collaborations


The workflow topic is huge and requires a good amount of focus and a relaxed environment.

You can enjoy reading and learning more about WorkflowEngine with these brilliant classical masterpieces:

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