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Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Merry Christmas!

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Scope of the release 1.5.5

Sorry for not publishing this earlier - most of the Workbox team is currently off for holidays after the exhausting release 1.5. We will start working on the new release in January.
As always - after releasing the big release we are going to do the sub-release, that will be shorter and will only improve the existing features, without introducing any big changes.
In the next release of Workbox (expected by the end of January) we will introduce the following functionalities:
  • "Current item" check-box - you will be able to quickly point to the current item on item activities instead of defining the list and item filter "ID=[Current item ID]".
  • "As current user" check-box - you will be able to define on item activities, that in item modification history the "modified by" will be set to the user launching the action instead of the "system" account
  • "Do not change version" check-box - you will be able to set on the "edit item" activity that the changes should be done without adding new version to the item. Very useful when editing multiple fields.
  • Launch form templates - you will be able to save your launch form as a template and use it on another action in the same workflow
  • Read only fields on launch form
  • Permission level matching - currently permission levels are not matched during workflow migration. This will change in the new release
  • Activity grouping - you will be able to group selected activities on the activity diagram, fold such group, copy it, move, etc.

  • "If" activity name will be displayed on the diagram
We will also optimize the workflow deployment mechanism to speed up the workflow deployment process and fix any bugs from the previous releases.

Mathematical operations in Workbox

As you may have noticed, inputting "3+5" in the activity parameter will return "3+5". What to do, to receive (in this case) "8"?

To perform the calculation you need to pass the equation to a variable using "set variable" activity or use the "calculate" math function.
NOTE: The variable which will receive the equation must be of "double" or "integer" type. Only then the calculations will be performed.

Later, you can use this variable in other lookup fields.

So, for example - you want to take data from one SharePoint item field, subtract it from another field and put the equation result into another SharePoint item field. To do this:

  • In the activities window add "edit item" activity and double click it to enter the details
  • Pick the list, filters and field you want to add the new value.
  • Open the new value field
  • Click on the "Lookup" button
  • Go to functions -> math ->calculate
  • Click on the value textbox, new window will appear
  • Pick (using lookups) value of the selected SharePoint item field
  • enter minus sign
  • The equation should look like this (without quotation marks) "[list_name - field_name] - [list_name2 - field_name2]"
  • Click ok,
Now Workbox will do the calculation instead of treating the values as text.

You can use the following functions:
  • ^
  • +
  • -
  • /
  • *
  • cos
  • sin
  • exp
  • ln
  • tan
  • acos
  • asin
  • atan
  • cosh
  • sinh
  • tanh
  • sqrt
  • cotan
  • fpart
  • acotan
  • round
  • ceil
  • floor
  • fac
  • sfac
  • abs
  • log
  • %
  • >
  • <
  • &&
  • ==
  • !=
  • ||
  • !
  • >=
  • <=
and constants:
  • euler
  • pi
  • nan
  • infinity
  • true
  • false

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Item field permissions on for multiple workflows

If you have more than one Workbox workflow on a SharePoint list item or document in library, all of these workflows affect permissions for item's fields.
The general rule is that Workbox is taking the sum of all permissions for given user. So if in workflow A in state A1 you have permissions to view fields X,Y and in workflow B in state B1 you have permissions to view fields W,Y,Z then you will see fields W,X,Y,Z. If in state A2 you do not have permissions for any column, and in workflow B you are still in state B1, then you will have the W,Y,Z columns visible.
The same rule applies for the "edit" permissions.
Since there are no "deny" permissions, if you are included in a role that has permissions to see a column - you will see it, regardless of settings from other workflows.
If you are also using another Datapolis product - SCP, then SCP settings are ignored when the workflow kicks in. This mean that Workflow settings override SCP settings and you will get what you have defined for workflows in given states.

Hotfix for 1.5

We have released a hotfix for version 1.5.
The most important fix is the wrkstat.aspx error - please see details here.

As always you can download the newset version here

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Workbox 1.5 upgrade - best practice

Workbox 1.5 is here. But since we have change a couple of things (the most invasive one is the change of feature scope - from site collection feature to site feature) upgrade should be taken with a bit of care.

Before you start we recommend reading the "Upgrading..." chapter from installation instruction.We also recommend reading this page about new features.

This is the recommended upgrade scenario:
  1. Download Workbox 1.5 from here.
  2. If you do not want to turn on the Workbox feature on all sites of chosen web application please note the sites where you want to turn the Workbox feature.
  3. NOTE: Uninstalling and installing Workbox will cause the workflow actions to be unavailable. Make sure to perform the upgrade when users are not using Workbox workflows.Expected downtime is around 15 minutes. 
  4. Go to the location where you have your Workbox setup files (c:\program files\datapolis\workbox setup by default).
  5. Run setup.exe and choose the "remove" option.
  6. Do the IIS reset.
  7. Run the new installer
  8. Extract the files to Workbox setup 1.5 folder (or someplace different than the old setup files).
  9. Run the setup.
  10. Select the web applications. If you do not want to turn on the feature automaticaly, uncheck the checkbox.
  11. Run IIS reset after the setup (machine restart recommended).
If you do not follow the above steps and just select the "upgrade" option in the installer you can expect 2 things:
  • your machine might (but does not have to) cache the DLL's which may lead to some strange behavior (deployment problems, workflow stopping after start and lack of workflow actions)
  • Workbox site feature will not be activated anywhere, so you will have to activate it manually on every site.
  • Q: How will new version change my workflows?
  • A: We tried to make the new version as much backwards compatible as possible. There were some areas where it was impossible (for example the "BR" tags in mail messages). Generally your workflows should work without any problems with the new version, users will have a little different (better) experience with action launch form. The only thing that might work differently are the e-mails - you might lose some line spacing there. Please see the "What's new" article in Workbox help or on this page and help for the "Import/Export" and the "Launch form"
  • Q: Won't the uninstall destroy my workflows?
  • A: No. The workflows that are already running will not be affected by the uninstall. The only problem that might occur is with new workflow starting during the uninstallation or the users launching some actions. Also users will not be able to use the workflows until the new version is installed. We recommend doing the upgrade when no one is using Workbox workflows 

  • Q: I don't like the new functionality/something went wrong. Can I roll back?
  • A: Yes, you can. Simply use the new installer to deinstall version 1.5 and resintall the version you had previously.
If you have any questions or comments regarding the upgrade please leave your comments underneath this post.

Workbox 1.5 is ready!

After 4 months of development we have released version 1.5 of Workbox for SharePoint (build

In this version:
  • action launch form
  • Saving workflows in STP
  • Action URL
  • Folder in item activities
  • Logical funtions
and much more - see this page for full info.

You can download the new release from here.

If you are upgrading from version 1.4.3 or earlier please make sure you read the installation instruction. Release 1.5 brings in some changes that might stop your workflows. In general - please de-install old version using old installer and install the new version using the new installer. After setup turn on the Workbox feature on every site you would like Workbox workflows to work. Please see this post for details.