A few weeks back I had some time to try the workflow available within SharePoint and work with InfoPath. Having worked with K2, I was curious how mature the workflow would be in Beta 2. Specifcally, how much effort would be required to create the form and the workflows in comparison with prior versions of SharePoint and thirdparty tools.
 
For my example, I created an InfoPath form and two workflows; 1) review and feedback and 2) approval. For the most part the experience was rather simple except for the InfoPath form creation though I believe a savvy end user could learn to develope some basic forms within a few weeks. I was curious about how much effort would be required to create the form and the workflows in comparison with prior versions of SharePoint and third party tools.
 
The form was a simple blog form that collected author, date, email, topic, overview, body of text and summary. The form was configured to publish to a SharePoint document library called Blogs. This exercise took about 15 minutes. Haven’t worked with InfoPath? Run through these labs and you’l be an expert http://msdn.microsoft.com/library/default.asp?url=/library/en-us/odc_2003_ta/html/odc_landinfo03_tr.asp.
 
The next step was to create a review and feedback workflow. Using the Wizard I created a simple workflow that would collect feedback from two people. The steps are:
  • To get started, open the Document Library in a browser
  • From the menu bar, click Settings, Form Library Settings
  • From the Permissions and Policies column, select Workflow Settings
  • Select “Add Workflow”
The configuration fields include:
  • Workflow – workflow type
  • Name – workflow name
  • Task List – workflow task list
  • History List – workflow history list
  • Start options – workflow start options
  • Workflow tasks – tasks to carry out
  • Default workflow start values – instruct the workflow when to start
  • Complete the workflow – task(s) to carry out once the workflow is complete
  • Post completion workflow – task to be executed once the workflow completes
This took about 2-3 minutes.  I then created an approval workflow whereby an editor would either approve or reject the blog and provide comments. This took about 2-3 minutes.
 
Overall the exercise took just over 20 minutes to complete. This sort of integration and simple configuration will greatly empower end users to create rich forms and custom workflows for publish content. Though simple in functionality the workflow should address 60-80% of most corporations requirements. Of course the challenge will be for corporations to decide on workflows (and ownership) for their key documents which is probably the greatest amount of work for such undertakings.
 
 
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