Workflow in SharePoint is getting better for user-created workflows: power to the people on the workplace

Workflow in SharePoint is one of the strong points of the 2007 platform. Every project I did had workflow items on it, and there are 4 ways to do workflow:

– use out-of-the-box functionalities: this is basically based on: change your workflow to match the sharepoint one. Great if you have a small budget and a small organisation

– buy a 3d party workflow solution: as I am among the first to admit that SharePoint really needs partners in order to become a killer-platform for customers, there are great (and expensive) workflow applications these days: Nintex to name just one which are great, but only financially available to big organisations

– develop your workflow in code: you need a developer in order to do this. He will dive in after an initial analysis and create rules and activities. This is great if you have a really specific workflow you want to embed in code so everyone follows it.

The last option was (in my opinion) not really a great alternative: SharePoint Designer. SPD workflows had some flaws: you have limited activities and conditions, but the major drawback was the installation on only 1 list. So if you wanted to use the WF on 100 sites, you had to recreate and publish it for every site.

Emile Bosch on AgileDirect blog, a heavy supporter of SPD, created a codeplex project (currently in beta) which can compile your SPD workflow into a feature. This will create a WSP package that you can deploy and activate everywhere you want to use it.

I do think this is big for 2 reasons. With the current crisis, companies don’t want to spend a lot of money on tools for their tools..

Second reason is the new world-of-work I see happening everywhere. Teams have to work more agile then before and the production times are melting like the northpole without ozone-layer. This will put the information worker in a position where he has to control everything he does. SPD will work perfectly in this situation!

Power to the people (on the workplace)!

About: Marijn

Marijn Somers (MVP) has over 14 years experience in the SharePoint world, starting out with SP2007. Over the years the focus has grown to Office 365, with a focus on collaboration and document management. He is a business consultant at Balestra and Principal Content Provider for "Mijn 365 Coach" that offers dutch employee video training. His main work tracks are around user adoption, training and coaching and governance. He is also not afraid to dig deeper in the technicalities with PowerShell, adaptive cards or custom formatting in lists and libraries. You can listen to him on the biweekly "Office 365 Distilled" podcast.

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