Chapter 1 – Sharepoint Workflows for Your Business Process

Manning – Sharepoint 2010 Workflows in Action

Work flow – process that manages the flow of work among individuals, office, departments or entire companies.

Sharepoint workflow – automated flow of objects through a sequence of operations that are related to a business process. An object in Sharepoint is a document or an item in a list like an announcement or a task. E.g., Approval workflow. You can attach this workflow to a document in a document library and specify individuals who need to approve the document before another action occurs.

Workflow Settings can be accessed by going to the List/Library Setting page of a list/library.

For there you can select a workflow to attach to the library. Or remove an existing work flow.
(If there is no existing attached workflow)

Change Start Options

(If there are existing attached workflows)

Sharepoint Workflow leverages a separate platform called Windows Workflow Foundation. Use Sharepoint Designer to customize the workflows.

The WF artchtitecture and Sharepoint supports two types of workflows(1) Sequential and (2) state machine.

WF Architecture: 3 layers (low high): Hosting layer, Runtime layer and Programming Layer.

Hosting Layer —
Hosting layer is the business application on which the WF can run. The application (hosting layer) must provide persistence capabilities (state of the workflow need to be persisted while it is waiting for an action to occur). The work flow should resume where it left off. Provide timer and tracking capabilities.

Runtime layer —
Core services that come with WF. Hositng Layer (timer, tracking, persistence) supports core activities at this level.

Programming Layer —
Sharepoint developer’s favoriate layer. Typically the layer they need to worry about. Has out-of-the-box activites (actions for Sharepoint Designer workflows) that can perform various functions in the workflow, and it allows for custom activities and rules that workflow interact with.Activities are the building blocks of a workflow. Activities do the work.

Types of workflow —
Sequential – the steps within the workflow execute sequentially, one after another. Always progresses forward, never going back to a previous step.
State machine – executes in no particular order. Moves from one state to another until the logic concludes the workflow has completed.

It’s difficult to change from sequential to state machine, so think through the requirements before you create a workflow.

** Sharepoint Designer can only do Sequential
** VS 2010 can do both types of workflows.

Workflow-enabled Sharepoint objects (such as Lists, doc libraries etc.)
List Item —
Workflow can run on generic list items. For instance, you can run approval workflow on an announcement list. With this setup, announcement won’t be displayed to end users until approved.

Infopath Forms —
InforPath forms saved in a form library can attach to a workflow.

Content types —
*** A content type can have one or many workflows assigned to it. When a workflow is deployed into a content type, new instances of that workflow can be initiated where ever list items of that content type exist.

Sharepoint Sites —
You can bind a workflow to a sharepoint site – called site workflow. A workflow deployed onto a site can run actions on and react to events across all lists., all doc libraries and items.

Out-of-the-box Sharepoint workflows – (P.14)
3-state workflow: by default, leveraged to issue tracking list. 3-state: (1) Active, (2) Ready for Review, and (3) Complete. Names of the states are configurable.

Approval Workflow —
One of the simplest workflows. Most popular. Submission can be serial (one approver at a time) or parallel (multiple approvers at the same time).

Collect Feedback Workflow —

Acquire feedback from peer on the status of the submitted document.

Collect Signature Workflow —
Collect digital signature. Can only be initiated from Office client such as Word. Not from browser.

Disposition Approval Workflow —
Manage document expiration and retention. Enable you to decide what will happen to documents when they expire. A possible option, instead of deleting a document, is to archive it and send email notification.

Translation Management Workflow —

Tools for building custom Sharepoint Workflow —

Sharepoint 2010 Designer —
Visual Studio 2010 —
Visio —

Forms –
Much of a business process is capture in a form, and the business process reacts to the values in a form. Out-of the box forms, InfoPathforms, asp.net forms.
Object Models —

Diagramming Business Process —

To start, use Visio 2010, using template with Sharepoint Workflow.

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