SharePoint 2010 offers many new improvements for workflow developers and builds on the popularity of workflow in SharePoint Server 2007. Moving further, now SharePoint 2013 Hosting has arrived in the market with far more better workflow features seen in SharePoint 2007 and SharePoint 2010. SharePoint workflow is recommended for long-running human workflows where we are often waiting for people to complete tasks.
Changes in Workflow Model Design Tools
SharePoint 2010 provides more choices in tooling to better fit the needs of those creating and maintaining workflow models. The tools for workflow development include Visual Studio 2010, SharePoint Designer 2010, and Visio 2010. SharePoint 2010 requires .NET Framework 3.5. The next version of the .NET Framework 4.0 is currently in development but product timelines meant SharePoint 2010 was not dependent on it.
SharePoint Designer 2010 also has a new graphical workflow designer for designing workflows and deploying them directly to SharePoint. It can also be used as a prototyping tool before workflows are further developed in Visual Studio 2010.
Another improvement in SharePoint Designer 2010 is that it now allows you to edit the out-of-the-box workflows that come with SharePoint. It will also use InfoPath forms if InfoPath is installed or the Data Form Web Part if InfoPath is not installed; previously, only ASPX forms were used by SharePoint Designer 2007. Since you can use InfoPath forms now, it makes it very easy to edit those forms later with InfoPath to improve them.
SharePoint Designer 2010 includes a new task process designer that creates an activity in the workflow but allows flexibility in how you manage the approval process all within that one activity. This includes defining escalation processes, delegation, defining approval requirements and semantics of what happens if the underlying document is changed during the approval.
Workflow models can be created in Visio 2010 for further editing in SharePoint Designer 2010. Visio 2010 supports Business Process Modeling Notation. It also supports sub-processes and containers to break up the diagram and validation to analyze a diagram to ensure it is properly constructed.
Latest Workflow Models in SharePoint 2010
Site workflows release workflow developers from requiring a list item or document item to run workflows against. This is useful for when the process that the workflow is implementing does not start as a result of a list item or document. This is such a common scenario that developers will create dummy lists and items in order to just to add workflows. In Visual Studio 2010, you simply pick Site Workflow when creating the workflow project item.
Reusable Declarative Workflows
In SharePoint Designer 2010, you can create reusable declarative workflows. In SharePoint 2007, a workflow model created in SharePoint Designer could only be associated with one list. These reusable workflows do not rely on a specific list but can be associated with any list. The workflow design can be reused and associated with multiple lists. Also, the Save as Template command can be used to create a WSP file containing a reusable workflow which can be moved to another SharePoint server or to Visual Studio 2010. In SharePoint Designer, this means you don’t have access to the list fields to access data since no specific list structure is connected.
SharePoint 2010 Workflow Models—Uncomplicated and Booming
The new tools in Visual Studio 2010, SharePoint Designer 2010 and Visio 2010 make workflow in SharePoint 2010 much easier for developers to get started with and to be successful. The new features in the SharePoint 2010 workflow host make SharePoint both more robust and applicable to solving a wider variety of workflow problems in software.
Workflows are now easy to build and deploy to SharePoint using the standard SharePoint WSP file packaging tools that come with Visual Studio 2010. Workflows in SharePoint make it easy to build long-running processes that communicate with people through tasks and e-mails. Workflows in SharePoint also now make it easier to communicate with systems through pluggable workflow services, business connectivity services and with BizTalk Server.
Take advantage of SharePoint Workflow Models and other useful features of SharePoint 2010 hosting, SharePoint Foundation hosting or SharePoint Server 2010 – with shared or dedicated hosting by Apps4Rent. Also see feature by feature comparison of SharePoint Foundation vs Server 2010. We offer free SharePoint with our hosted exchange plans. Microsoft Office SharePoint Server 2007 or MOSS 2007 is also available.
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