Workflows are implementation of business processes allowing people to collaborate on documents through various project tasks assigned to individuals. They enhance productivity and organization of work in an organization. This enables people to only concentrate on tasks given to them. It’s basically a planned series of tasks assigned to individuals to achieve an outcome.
Workflows included in MOSS:
Overall MOSS workflows target at higher productivity keeping collaboration and business processes in mind.
MS Visio cannot be used to create the Sharepoint workflow itself, but can be used for workflow visualization. What this means is that, the flow diagram designed in Visio can be imported in Sharepoint Designer where all the functionality can be added and deployed to Sharepoint.
To use Visio 2010 for workflow visualization, you must be running the Enterprise version of SharePoint Server 2010 and Visio 2010 Premium.
While workflow associations are often created directly on lists and document libraries, a workflow association can also be created on a content type that exists within the Content Type Gallery for the current site or content types defined within a list.
In short, it can be applied ...
At the level of a list (or document library)
At the level of a content type defined at site scope
At the level of a site ( Sharepoint 2010 )
MOSS has the capability for a workflow participant to fill an initiation form to start a workflow.
The initiation form can have fields that support:
One can use these to create forms by using custom application pages (aspx pages), which are deployed to run out of the _layout directory on MOSS server or using Microsoft Office Infopath 2007 /2010.
In SharePoint 2010, you have an option to customize the Out-of-Box workflows. The four most popular workflows in SharePoint Server 2007 the Approval, Collect Feedback, Collect Signatures, Publishing Approval workflows have been completely rebuilt as declarative reusable workflows, meaning that they are now fully customizable in SharePoint Designer 2010.
Reusable List Workflows:
You can create a reusable list workflow (reusable workflow) in the top-level site in the site collection, and that workflow can be made globally reusable — meaning that the workflow can be associated to any list, library, or content type in the site collection. You can also create a reusable workflow in any subsite in the site collection; this workflow is available for reuse in that particular subsite.
A site workflow is associated to a site not to a list, library, or content type. So unlike most workflows, a site workflow is not running on a specific list item. Because of this, many of the actions that are available for items not available for site workflows.
SharePoint Designer 2010 automatically generates the forms, but you can customize them by going to the settings page for the workflow, in the Forms section, click the form you want to customize. Workflow forms are either InfoPath or ASP.NET pages. They are stored on the SharePoint site with the workflow source files.
Two different approaches can be used to develop custom input forms for a WSS workflow template.
You can create your forms by using custom application pages, which are standard .aspx pages deployed to run out of the _layouts directory. ( disadv: lot of code required when compared to Infopath approach).
using Microsoft Office InfoPath 2007 /2010 (disadv: picks up a dependency on MOSS, i.e. it cannot run in a standalone WSS environment).
you can design List Workflows, Reusable List Workflows and Site workflows using SharePoint designer 2010.
When you have more than one action associated with a condition, the actions can be set up to run at the same time (parallel) or one after another (serial), the default.
Some of the additions in workflow model are :
Lets look at this one by one.
Events : An event is what starts or initiates a workflow. Events can also be used to manage the timing of actions within a workflow, such as waiting for the status of an item to change.
There are three events that can start a workflow:
Actions: An action is the most basic unit of work in a workflow. SharePoint Designer 2010 provides a set of ready-made, reusable actions for you to incorporate into your workflow.
For example, your workflow can:
Conditions – When you design a workflow, you can use the workflow editor to create rules that apply conditional logic to SharePoint sites, lists, items and content types. A rule establishes a condition where the workflow performs the associated action only if that condition is true. For example, you can create a rule where the workflow sends a reviewer an e-mail message only if an item is created by a specific person.
Workflows are the way an organization functions, a series of actions that correspond to a work process, such as the process for purchase orders.SharePoint 2010 helps you automate these workflows, thereby increasing the efficiency and productivity of the organization.
A method activity is one that performs an action, such as creating or updating a task. An event activity is one that runs in response to an action occurring.
You can create four different types of input forms including an association form, an initiation form, a modification form, and a task edit form. Note that these forms are optional when you create a workflow template.
With SharePoint Designer 2010, you can create three types of workflow forms:
Initiation form: An initiation form gathers information from the workflow participant when they start the workflow. It is automatically generated when you create the workflow in SharePoint Designer 201@Initiation forms are displayed to users when they manually start a workflow on a given SharePoint item. With an initiation form, users can specify additional parameters or information about the workflow as it applies to the given SharePoint item.
Task form : A custom task form allows workflow participants to interact with tasks in the Tasks list specified for the workflow. With the Custom Task Wizard, you can easily create custom form fields and add them to a custom task form. When you finish designing the workflow, SharePoint Designer 2010 automatically generates the InfoPath or ASP.NET forms for your custom tasks.
Reusable workflow: association form A reusable workflow, by default, only provides the fields common to all items, such as Created and Modified by. This is because a reusable workflow isn’t by default associated with a list, library, or content type. An association form enables you to associate fields with a reusable workflow so that the fields will be available when you design and run the workflow.