Home > Books, SharePoint > Book review: SharePoint 2010 Workflows in action

Book review: SharePoint 2010 Workflows in action


I have read this Manning book in order to achieve a better knowledge about workflows, and it was very useful.

The book is not recent, but it took a long time in order to follow in the spare time the examples.

Every type of workflow is well examined , with clear examples that i was able to follow and repeat , without using the downloadable book code.

I was buying the book as part of the MEAP program (Manning Early Access Program) which is useful because you access the book while is not still fully finished: this has some drawbacks (typos, an approssimative look) but when a technology is very “fresh” could be an serious advantage.

The book starts from an exam of the workflows type can you develop (using the out of the box workflows that you can add via browser, SharePoint Designer ,Visual Studio) with a clear explanation of what is available in SharePoint Foundation and what in the SharePoint Server edition.

In the book are developed some workflows starting from adding a workflow in a library tools (Chapter 2) using the settings page, then in Chapter 3 are examined the workflows done with SharePoint Designer, with an very useful example about a calendar: in this chapter are well explained the components of a workflow.

Chapter 4 is interesting , is about the relations between Workflows and task processing with useful examples about task assigning from a workflow.

Chapter 5 , about advanced workflows with Designer, reveals and well explains some very interesting concepts about security and the use of external data sources.

The use of Visio for workflows development is explained in Chapter 6: i was tempted to skip, but anyway how to have an diagram in your workflow page that shows the followed logic (with Visio Services) could be useful.

The Chapter 7 is about to develop workflow forms with Infopath: the example of to have a form containing a table for expenses with totals is interesting , even if not completed (the reader will review in Chapter 9 this example that will be finished with the calculations).

The Chapter 8 is about custom Visual Studio workflows, so it is very developer oriented and the first part ,where are explained the Activities that you could put in a workflow, is very valuable.

Here i have encountered some problems on the book code that i have explained in my previous post.

At the end of page 202 there is an invite to deploy solution, but before you should make the steps of page 203.

For a State Workflows is not so easy ,as the book depict, to have an State Workflow working with an OnWorkFlowItemChanged , for me is better to use an EventHandler and then from this launch the WorkFlow (without the OnWorkFlowItemChanged event management).

In Chapter 9 is interesting the part “Adding .NET code to an InfoPath form”, but the book doesn’t explain well that when you add code in a InfoPath form then (at least in my experiments) the Publishing by Quick Publish does not work (you get an error for InternalStartup routine) and you must publish by File->Publish->SharePoint Server and choose Administrator-Approved (then manage the upload in http://<server><port>/_admin/manageformtemplates.aspx); following this path for every successive update.

In every case i have noticed that using the InfoPath filler at runtime the events works correctly, in the browser the events are working only when you save and you don’t set the property Postback of the Amount control to “Always”.

The Chapter 10 is about the Tasks, more interesting is Chapter 11 on Custom activities and conditions: here is explained how to create your activities library with some useful tricks for the every day work.

Very interesting the section in Chapter 11 where is explained how to develop a .actions file, in order to have custom actions and conditions in the SharePoint Designer: i think that the samples could be more simple but is ok.

In the last Chapter 12 there are interesting hints for debugging and fault handlers, hints on versioning, and some samples on the workflow object model.

But the very interesting part in this chapter is on the Pluggable workflow services, that is how to communicate from a workflow with the external world (another database, for example).

Categories: Books, SharePoint
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