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Workflows

Windows SharePoint Services 3

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A workflow allows you to attach a business process to items in Windows SharePoint Services 3.0. This process can control almost any aspect of an item in Windows SharePoint Services 3.0, including the life cycle of that item. For example, you could create a simple workflow that routes a document to a series of users for approval.

Workflows can be as simple or complex as your business processes require. You can create workflows that the user initiates, or workflows that Windows SharePoint Services 3.0 automatically initiates based on some event, such as when an item is created or changed.

Windows SharePoint Services 3.0 workflows are made available to end users at the list or document-library level. Workflows can be added to documents, list items, and content types. Multiple workflows may be available for a given item.

You can create workflows using the Visual Studio 2005 Designer for Windows Workflow Foundation. Each workflow is compiled into its own DLL.

In addition, your workflows can interact directly with the user through custom workflow forms. Workflow forms enable you to gather information from the user at each stage of the workflow.

While Windows SharePoint Services 3.0 includes prebuilt workflow templates, you can also create your own workflow templates. You can use either Visual Studio 2005 Designer for Windows Workflow Foundation, or a declarative rules-based, code-free workflow editor, such as Microsoft Office SharePoint Designer 2007. Each authoring tool produces workflows with different attributes and capabilities:

  • In Visual Studio 2005, you can use the Visual Studio 2005 Designer for Windows Workflow Foundation to create workflow templates and custom workflow activities. You can include code in your workflow, as well as design forms that the workflow can use to communicate with the workflow users during association and run time.

    NoteNote

    When you are developing workflow templates in the Visual Studio 2005 Designer for Windows Workflow Foundation, you are not programming against a specific SharePoint site.

  • In a declarative rules-based, code-free workflow editor such as Office SharePoint Designer 2007, you are designing a workflow for the specific SharePoint site in which you are working. Office SharePoint Designer 2007 provides a user interface that enables you to create declarative rules-based workflows for the selected site. With Office SharePoint Designer 2007, you are assembling pre-existing activities into workflows.

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