This glossary contains terms that are used with the Cadence product.


A business-level task that implements your application logic such as calling a service or transcoding a media file. An activity usually implements a single well-defined action; it can be short or long running. An activity can be implemented as a synchronous method or fully asynchronously involving multiple processes. An activity is executed at most once. This means that the Cadence service never requests activity execution more than once. If for any reason an activity is not completed within the specified timeout, an error is reported to the workflow and the workflow decides how to handle it. There is no limit on potential activity duration.

Client Stub

A client-side proxy used to make remote invocations to an entity that it represents. For example, to start a workflow, a stub object that represents this workflow is created through a special API. Then this stub is used to start, query, or signal the corresponding workflow.


Any action taken by the workflow function is called a decision. For example: scheduling a task, canceling a task, or starting a timer.


A namespace-like concept. All entities stored in Cadence are stored in a specific domain. For example, when a workflow is started, it is started in a specific domain. Cadence guarantees a unique workflow ID within a domain, and supports running workflow executions to use the same workflow ID if they are in different domains. Domains are created and updated though a separate CRUD API or through the CLI.


An indivisible operation performed by your application. For example, acitvity_task_started, task_failed, or timer_canceled.


An append log of events for your application. History is durably persisted by the Cadence service, enabling seamless recovery of your application state from crashes or failures. It also serves as an audit log for debugging.


A synchronous (from the caller’s point of view) operation that is used to report a workflow state. Note that a query is inherently read only and cannot affect a workflow state.

Run ID

A UUID that a Cadence service assigns to each workflow run. If allowed by a configured policy, you might be able to re-execute a workflow, after it has closed or failed, with the same Workflow ID. Each such re-execution is called a run. Run ID is used to uniquely identify a run even if it shares a Workflow ID with others.


An external asynchronous request to a workflow. It can be used to deliver notifications or updates to a running workflow at any point in its existence.


The context needed to execute a specific activity or workflow function. There are two types of tasks: activity tasks and decision tasks (workflow tasks).

Task List

A queue that is persisted inside a Cadence service. When a workflow requests an activity execution, Cadence service creates an activity task and puts it into a Task List. Then a client-side worker that implements the activity receives the task from the Task List and invokes an activity implementation. For this to work, the Task List name that is used to request an activity execution and the name used to configure a worker must match.

Task Token

A unique identifier for a Cadence activity.


Also known as a worker service. A service that hosts the workflow and activity implementations. The worker polls the Cadence service for tasks, performs those tasks, and communicates task execution results back to the Cadence service. Worker services are developed, deployed, and operated by Cadence customers.


A program that orchestrates activities. A Workflow has full control over which activities are executed, and in which order. A Workflow must not affect the external world directly, only through activities. What makes workflow code a Workflow is that its state is preserved by Cadence. Therefore any failure of a worker process that hosts the workflow code does not affect the workflow execution. The Workflow continues as if these failures did not happen. At the same time, activities can fail any moment for any reason. Because workflow code is fully fault tolerant, it is guaranteed to get notifications about activity failure or timeouts and act accordingly. There is no limit on potential workflow duration.

Workflow Execution

An instance of a Workflow. The instance can be in the process of executing or it could have already completed execution.

Workflow ID

A unique identifier for a Workflow Execution. Cadence guarantees the uniqueness of an ID within a domain. An attempt to start a Workflow with a duplicate ID results in an already started error.