No Code Workflow

No Code Workflow

SharePoint 2007

Specifies a sequential workflow pipeline configured on a list or document library that requires no installation of server-side code. Also known as a declarative workflow.

Real World Example

A site designer needs to create a list that can route information to various people whenever a list item is added or modified. He uses Microsoft Office SharePoint Designer 2007 to create a workflow that contains the various processing rules in a pipeline.

Technical Details

No-code workflows are enabled by the Windows Workflow Foundation (WF) running on the server. Users can use Office SharePoint Designer 2007 to create and edit no-code workflows, but a user can work with a workflow enabled list or document library without any special tools.

Because no-code workflows contain no custom code, they are not compiled and deployed as assemblies. They are stored as source files within SharePoint Products and Technologies, and are only compiled into memory when needed.

For each site, the workflows of this type are stored in a separate document library. This document library contains a folder for each workflow authored in SharePoint Designer 2007. The folder contains all the source files needed for the workflow, including the following:

  • The workflow markup file

  • The workflow rules file

  • ASPX forms for any custom workflow forms that are needed

SharePoint Products and Technologies include a just-in-time compiler to compile the source files into a workflow the first time that the workflow is started on an item. SharePoint Products and Technologies retain the compiled workflow in memory until it is called again, much like servers cache compiled ASPX pages to speed execution performance the next time the page is called.

Each time a workflow is started on an item, SharePoint Products and Technologies determine whether the workflow was deployed as an assembly or as source files. If a workflow assembly exists, SharePoint Products and Technologies call that assembly to create the workflow instance. If the workflow was deployed as source files, SharePoint Products and Technologies next determine whether or not it already has a workflow compiled from those source files in memory. If it has, then SharePoint Products and Technologies call the in-memory complied workflow to create the workflow instance. If not, SharePoint Products and Technologies use the just-in-time compiler to compile the source files into an in-memory workflow, which it then calls to create the workflow instance.

No-code workflows can take advantage of new workflow activities or conditions that are installed on the server. Unlike coded workflows, no-code workflows can rely only on ASPX forms for data entry. The ASPX forms are automatically generated by the workflow designer in SharePoint Designer 2007, but they can be customized.

Support Details

To correctly use SharePoint Designer 2007 to create or edit no-code workflows, users should have the same version of Windows WF as is currently installed on the SharePoint environment.

No-code workflows are normally linked directly to the GUID of the list or document library that they were created for; this prevents them from being exported as part of a site or list template.

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