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Workflow Development in Visual Studio

Published: May 2010

Windows Workflow Foundation (WF) provides the Visual Studio 2010 Workflow Designer that enables developers to create their own custom workflows and workflow activities.

You can use the Visual Studio 2010 Workflow Designer to create workflow templates and custom workflow activities. You can include custom code in your workflow, as well as design forms, such as ASP.NET forms, to be used by the workflow to communicate with the workflow users during association and run time. You can even create custom activities to be used in other workflows.

For information about creating workflow forms using technologies such as Microsoft ASP.NET, see Workflow Forms Overview.

For information about creating custom workflow activities, visit the Windows Workflow Foundation Developer Center.

After you have completed your solution, you can package the solution files into a workflow template by using the Feature Packaging functionality. SharePoint Foundation feature packs provide a mechanism by which developers can package the files needed for a solution—such as workflows, Web Parts, lists, and site definitions—for ease of distribution and deployment.

For more information about feature packaging, see Using Features in SharePoint Foundation.

In general, when you develop workflows for SharePoint Foundation by using the Visual Studio 2010 Workflow Designer, follow these basic steps:

  • Author your workflow, including the code-behind file if needed, in the Visual Studio 2010 Workflow Designer.

    For more information, see Visual Studio Designer for Windows Workflow Foundation Overview.

  • Design and publish any forms you want to use with your workflow.

    For information about creating workflow forms by using technologies such as ASP.NET, see Workflow Forms Overview.

  • Author the feature definition and workflow template definition file, which contains information about the workflow assembly, and binds the forms to the workflow assembly.

    For more information, see Workflow Definitions.

  • Compile the workflow files into a .NET assembly.

  • Package the workflow assembly and workflow definition together and deploy them by using the Features functionality in SharePoint Foundation.

    For more information, see Workflow Deployment Using Features.

  • Debug the live workflow assembly by using the Visual Studio 2010 Workflow Designer.

    For more information, see How to: Debug Your SharePoint Foundation Workflow.

  • Recompile and deploy the workflow assembly as necessary to fix any bugs found.

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