Wednesday, March 12, 2014

Cross-stage workflows for beginners. Part I. SharePoint Designer

One of the most important things in SharePoint 2013 is cross-stage workflows. SharePoint 2010 has "sequential" chain-like workflows with plain passage in flow. Sequential workflows pass through the flow from start point to end point with executing a defined set of activities. This is restricting your vision of any workflow in your organization. Let me show you how you can implement workflow with a complex business logic.

Workflows in SharePoint 2013 can be represented as shown in a schema:

Cross-stage workflow

The flow can pass from one stage to another. As you see, flow passes from Stage 2 to Stage 3 if Condition 1 is satisfied, and from Stage 2 to Stage 4 if Condition 2 is satisfied.

In SharePoint Designer you can develop workflows without any line of code.

SharePoint Designer 2013 workflow, text-mode example

In text mode you just add a stage, define it actions and set it transition to any stage. Stage with transition to workflow terminating must exist.

Stage transition explanation

In transition gate you can define conditions and so determine stage to go:

Gate with condition
And as a bonus, a Visio-like workflow view is available if you have Visio 2013 installed. So you can develop workflows in a graphical mode:

Visio view

Happy workflow developing!

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