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Archive for November, 2013

SharePoint 2013 Workflow – GOOD TO KNOW

Posted by Amit Bhatia on November 7, 2013


It’s been some time since I wrote my last blog post on “Missing Feature ID error while doing SharePoint 2010 CU patching”.

I have been working on SharePoint 2013 Workflows and found them to be an interesting tool to map the business process of organisations. In my analysis, I found that lot of developers and Tech Leads make wrong assumptions during the architecture, design and development of these workflow. Therefore, I am here to write on the best practices, similarity/dissimilarity between SharePoint 2010 and SharePoint 2013 workflows.

Best Practices to be followed for SP 2013 workflows:-

  • Workflow Design: Better to model a business process in a single workflow than to break the workflow logic into smaller workflows
  • Workflow Approval Action: Use “Stages” feature in the Approval action instead of creating multiple Approval actions
  • Reusable workflows should use Association Columns:  If you create a reusable workflow that relies on its list having a specific field,  you make the field an association column.
  • DO NOT use a user account for elevated privileges for impersonation : Use a generic account or neutral account for workflow impersonation actions
  • Variable Check: Check variables for non- null, correct data type and expected values to prevent errors
  • Use Trace Log for debugging: Use Trace Log effectively before the beginning and ending of a step to log into Trace logs for effective debugging
  • Write strings and variables to the history list by using the Log to History List action for debugging purposes

Things to remember:-

  • Workflow execution: Workflow execution engine now lives outside of SharePoint and resides in Windows Azure. The new workflow infrastructure introduces Workflow Manager Client 1.0 as the new workflow execution host. Whereas in previous versions workflow execution was hosted in SharePoint itself, this has changed in SharePoint 2013. Workflow Manager Client 1.0 is external to SharePoint and communicates using common protocols over the Windows Azure service bus, mediated by OAuth
  • Fully declarative Workflows: Workflow in 2013 is based on Windows Workflow foundation WF4 platform and is fully declarative. Workflows are no longer compiled into managed assemblies and deployed to an assembly cache. Instead, XAML files define your workflows and schedule their execution
  • Addition to the Workflow Object Model : Workflow Service Manager allow you to manage and control your workflows and their execution. The primary zones of interaction for the services manager are deployment, messaging, instance control, and interoperability with SharePoint 2010 workflows
  • Improved SharePoint Designer: SharePoint Designer can now create and deploy both SharePoint 2010 and SharePoint 2013 workflows. Visual Studio 2012 not only provides a designer surface for creating declarative workflows, but it can also create apps for SharePoint and solutions that fully integrate Workflow Manager Client 1.0 functionality
  • Workflow associations: Workflow associations (which are built on the WF concept of subscriptions) are the SharePoint infrastructure pieces that support Windows Azure to connect the infrastructure to customer data
  • Default Scope for SharePoint workflows:  SPList (list workflows) and SPWeb (Site Wirkflows) are the default scope supported by messaging infrastructure.  SharePoint 2013 does not support workflows that are scoped to a content type SPContentType
  • If a Workflow starts automatically on a repeatable event, it cannot start workflow of a given association until the existing instance of workflow association has completed running
  • SharePoint workflow Interop: SharePoint workflow interop enables SharePoint 2010 workflows (which are built on Windows Workflow Foundation 3) to be called from SharePoint 2013 workflows, which are based on Windows Workflow Foundation 4. This allows you to execute 2010 workflows from within 2013 workflows

I hope you would take the above points into consideration while designing and developing SharePoint 2013 workflows.

See you later.


Posted in SP2013, Workflows | 1 Comment »

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