The SharePoint Designer team is very proud and happy to announce the release of SharePoint Designer 2013 Customer Preview! This new release of SharePoint Designer is going to bring about a HOST of new and amazing changes which we’re all hoping you guys will love!
Show me the Blogs!
First of all, for those of you who aren’t aware, the entire Microsoft Office organization has setup a blog site where you can find out all of the latest info regarding the new Office 2013. The Office blog can be found here:
You can find all sorts of information regarding Office 2013.
We’re also going to be releasing help files online with tons of general information regarding SharePoint Designer 2013. You can find that here:
You can also find a great set of info on SPD 2013 and the new Workflow architecture here:
This will be our primary blog though, our current plan is to use this blog for examples and to drill deeper into some of the new features we’ve created for 2013.
Where’s the bits?
First thing is first though, if you’re looking to download a copy of SPD 2013, you can do so here:
Important Note: Remember, the new SPD 2013 needs to be connected to a SharePoint 2013 site. And if you want to take advantage of all the new workflow features, you’ll need to install and configure Windows Azure Workflow server.
You can find install and configuration notes here:
So what’s new?
The SharePoint Designer team has spent a large amount of effort revamping and changing up how we create and edit workflows in SharePoint Designer 2013. The bulk of the new features are in this area. Here’s a short list of some, but not all, of the new stuff we have for you all:
1) Ability to create workflow based off the new .Net 4.x Workflow Infrastructure
a. While at the same time still able to create and edit the old SharePoint 2010 Workflows
2) Tight integration with Stages.
a. Workflows no longer have to be serial.
b. All 2013 Workflows are now state-based, and you can have your workflow jump to any stage you want, even to a previous stage.
3) The new Visual Designer
a. A brand new design surface that integrates the Visio canvas right inside SharePoint Designer
b. You can create workflows using click and drag
c. You can even set the properties of every action right within the Visual Designer. No need to jump back to the Text-Based Designer if you do not wish to.
4) Copy and Paste
a. You can now Copy, Cut, and Paste within the Text-Based Designer!
a. Loops are now a fully integrated action which you can use within all 2013 Workflows
6) Call Web Service Action
a. You can now call Rest/HTTP web services right from within SharePoint 2013 workflows.
7) Start Workflow Actions
a. We now have an action that lets you spawn up old 2010 workflows right from within a 2013 workflow.
b. You can use this action to take advantage of any 2010 workflow functionality (e.g. your old custom actions)
a. You can now package individual workflows straight from within SPD
9) Dictionary Type Variables
a. You can now create variables that can hold an array of values!
b. Combining this with the new Loop action opens up a whole host of new scenarios.
There are still many more new features we’re introducing this release, and we’ll go over them all in separate blog entries. For now, I highly recommend everyone go out and download the current Customer Preview version of SPD and try it out yourselves!