Sharepoint 2010 : Designing a Workflow Using Visio 2010 (part 3) - Using Visio Services to Visualize Workflow State

10/12/2013 3:54:18 AM

3. Using Visio Services to Visualize Workflow State

In addition to the actions that we defined in our original Visio model, we’ve also included a few new actions to attach the captured data to our product item. We can export our updated workflow to Visio so that we can update our diagram with appropriate descriptions for these new actions. Once our model is updated, we can use it to provide status visualization for our workflow.

  1. In SharePoint Designer, select Workflows from the Site Objects pane. Select the Product Publishing workflow from the list.

  2. From the Workflows ribbon, click the Export To Visio button. Save the interchange file as PublishingProcedure.vwi.

  3. Open Visio 2010, and then either open the saved PublishingProcedure.vsd document that we created earlier or create a new document from the Microsoft SharePoint Workflow template.

  4. From the Process ribbon, click the Import button. Browse to the PublishingProcedure.vwi file that we exported in step 2.

  5. The revised workflow will be imported and will update our existing model where appropriate. Add descriptions for the two Set Field In Current Item actions. The first should be Store Technical Data and the second should be Store Product Image.

  6. With these changes made, we can tidy up the layout if appropriate and export our workflow as we did in the preceding section. The completed model should look as illustrated:

  7. Switch back to SharePoint Designer to import the changes. Select the Product Publishing workflow and then click the Import From Visio button in the Workflows ribbon to import the changes. You’ll notice that, this time, SharePoint Designer recognizes that the interchange file relates to an existing workflow, and rather than prompt you for details to create a new workflow, it automatically upgrades the existing workflow with the changes.

  8. To use our Visio diagram to provide status visualization for our workflow, we need to check the Show Workflow Visualization On Status Page checkbox in the Settings section, as illustrated. Click the Save icon in the upper-left corner to save the changes to the Product Publishing workflow.

  9. Before we can use the workflow, we need to publish it. After you publish the workflow, SharePoint Designer will automatically generate any required InfoPath forms. If the workflow being published is already attached to a list or content type, all new instances of the workflow will use the new published version, while currently running instances will continue to use the previous version. To publish our Product Publishing workflow, click the Publish button in the Workflow ribbon.

Associating Reusable Workflows

With our new workflow published, we can now associate it with our Product content type. You’ll remember that when we created our workflow, we specified that it should target the Product content type. Even though we specified this targeting, the workflow isn’t bound to any content type until we specifically bind it. When creating a workflow, the main reason for setting a content type target is to ensure that the fields of that content type are available as values within the workflow logic. For example, we specified Product so that we could make use of the Product Image and Technical Data fields.

  1. To associate our workflow with the Product content type, click the Associate To Content Type button in the ribbon. You’ll notice that the only option available in the drop-down list is Product. Since our workflow targets the Product content type, only content types that are derived from Product or the Product content type itself are valid selections. Select Product to begin the association process.

  2. The association process is performed using the SharePoint user interface. Since we want our workflow to start automatically when a new item is created, check the appropriate start option and then click Next to continue.

  3. SharePoint Designer automatically generates a custom association form based on the parameters that we specified in our workflow. Since we’re using a blank site, we don’t have specific user accounts for each of the three departments. We can use the built-in Approvers group for the purposes of this demo. Complete the form as illustrated, and then click Save to complete the association.

To see our new workflow in action, browse to the Products list and add a new item. Once the item is saved, the Product Publishing workflow automatically starts. By clicking the In Progress link in the Product Publishing column, we can see more detail on the workflow progress, including our Visio visualization, as illustrated. We can click the tasks that are created and enter the appropriate information to complete our workflow. Notice that the progress is indicated on our Visio visualization.


You’ll notice that the New Item form contains text boxes for each of the fields in our content type. Of course, this is perfectly reasonable in most situations, but in our case, we don’t want the Product Image and Technical Details fields to be populated, because these are completed by the appropriate department.

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