Editor’s note: The following is a guest post by SharePoint Server MVP Brian Farnhill from Australia. This post is part of the MVP Award Program Blog’s series, “10 Days for Office 2010.”
The ability to create custom workflows for data was one of the great wins in the previous release of SharePoint Server, and in the new Office 2010 system there are now more ways to create and customize workflows that will make taking a workflow from the design phase through to implementation a much easier exercise.
Let’s start with Visio 2010. You can now create a diagram based on the “SharePoint Workflow” template, which will allow you to drag common SharePoint workflow items, such as approvals and sending emails, on to your diagram and then connect them all together to show the flow of the whole process. At this point you would normally save this somewhere and hand it to a developer to build from scratch, but not anymore – now you are able to export this workflow diagram into a format that SharePoint Designer 2010 can recognise and use this as the basis of a new workflow for a site.
Next, we open up SharePoint Designer 2010 and connect to our SharePoint 2010 site. I can go to the workflow item under the Site Objects list and then select “Import from Visio”. Now, SharePoint Designer will create the workflow based on the diagram. All I need to do is fill in the blanks (such as the name of who approves a task or the contents of an email.) Once the workflow has been finished I can save it there and start using it. I can export it back to Visio if I made changes and need to keep my diagram up to date, or I can export for Visual Studio so that a developer can add custom code to achieve something that SharePoint Designer couldn’t do.
This is just one of the many ways that various tools in the Office 2010 and SharePoint 2010 range can work together to make creating great solutions simple and I really hope you guys enjoy using it.
Cross Posted at The Office Blog