I'm new to Workflow developement, and I don't think I'm really getting the "big picture". Or perhaps to put it differently, these tools don't currently "click" in my head.
So it seems that companies like to create business drawings to describe processes, and at some point someone decided that they could use a state machine like program to actually control processes from a line and boxes like diagram. Ten years later, these tools are huge, extremely complicated (my company is currently playing around with WebSphere, and I've attended some of the training, its a monster, even the so called "minimalist" versions of these workflow tools like Activiti are huge and complicated although not nearly as complicated as the beast that is WebSphere afaict).
What is the great benefit in doing it this way? I can kind of understand the simple lines and boxes diagrams being useful, but these things, as far as I can tell, are visual programming languages at this point, complete with conditionals and loops. Programmers here appear to be doing a significant amount of work in the lines and boxes layer, which to me just looks like a really crappy, really basic visual programming language.
If you're going to go that far, why not just use some sort of scripting language? Have people thrown the baby out with the bathwater on this? Has the lines and boxes thing been taken to an absurd level, or am I just not understanding the value in all this?
I'd really like to see arguments in defense of this by people that have worked with this technology and understand why its useful. I don't see the value in it, but I recognize that I'm new to this as well and may not quite get it yet.