Workflow in SharePoint 2010: Overview

Workflow provides structure to processes around the collaboration process in SharePoint.

Example: Expense Reporting

  • Report is filled out and uploaded to server
  • Send to manager(s) for their approval
  • If successful, reimburse the expenses

Basically you've got an artifact, a user, and a decision that is made regarding the document with different results. They are chained and combined to make more complex workflows.

He said this is going to be a demo heavy presentation. He's showing how the out of the box workflow works, and it looks pretty similar to the current process. It does use an InfoPath form in the browser for initiating the workflow.

Wow, the new status page is a running visualization that's powered by Visio services. It's VERY slick, showing you diagrammatically the current workflow and the status along with all the details about each step.

LOL, someone asked him to slow down, I was actually wanting him to speed up. I mean this is the basic workflow the biggest difference is the visual representation of the workflow and it's status.

Workflow Spectrum

  • Out of the box – Ready to use, common approval scenarios
  • Out of the box customization – Association and initiations settings, modify logic in SharePoint designer, Design forms in InfoPath
  • Custom Declarative – Start from scratch or existing, new actions, task process framework, more types of workflows
  • Custom Activities – Encapsulate custom code in a new action, deploy in full or partial trust as user code
  • Custom Non-Declarative – Import into Visual Studio, advanced modeling, Hook up workflow to events

The workflows are now more flexible, allowing more usage of out of the box workflows instead of having to immediately go to a custom workflow

Hehe, he's already back up to his speed of speaking.

You can now use InfoPath with the no code workflows to customize them.

He's now showing how you can modify the existing workflows without the SharePoint designer yet.

Oooops, my bad, he is going to use SharePoint designer. I really like the navigation on the side now, it's geared to the SharePoint structure instead of a folder based, it makes a lot of sense. It displays a summary page of information about a workflow, including the ability to edit the workflow in the designer. He's backing out and copying the default one to a new workflow so he can edit it.

Oooh, you can modify the start page including adding new parameters or change the existing ones.

Nice, new InfoPath looks very pretty and less confusing.

What's new in Workflow Design

  • New workflow types, site, content type, reusable
  • Logic constructs and impersonation!!!
  • Data binding and on-demand columns
  • Manager, user profile lookups
  • Doc set and record management
  • Read/write to external lists (isn't this BCS feature?)
  • Visio is being used as a graphical designer
  • Solution packaging for portability

You can force a list to create a column if it doesn't currently exist.

In 2007 you basically used a single task, or combine tasks.

In 2010 you can cascade either single tasks, or combine them with automatic data binding.

It's easier to build in robust behaviors with out of the box workflows using the Task Process Designer.

You can use behaviors to modify the out of the box workflows. You can selectively modify just the parts that are needed to be changed.

Again you can add additional fields when you create a workflow in SharePoint designer.

LOTS of demos, you should check the slides and video for the stuff he's going through.

You can add custom code to a workflow for just one piece of it, while keeping all the other out of the box tasks.

Visual Studio extension of workflows is not covered in this presentation.

I like the designer in SharePoint Designer 2010 for Workflows.