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)!