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Workflow deployment process

Updated: May 22, 2008

Applies To: Office SharePoint Server 2007

Updated: 2008-05-22

There are three types of workflows: predefined workflows, SharePoint Designer workflows, and Visual Studio custom workflows. Workflows are built on the Windows Workflow Foundation and are hosted by Windows SharePoint Services. They run inside SharePoint sites and are integrated with and accessible across the Office system, as follows:

  • Microsoft Office SharePoint Server 2007: Used to install, activate, configure, start, participate in, and track workflows.

  • Microsoft Office SharePoint Designer 2007: Used to create user-defined workflows.

  • Word, PowerPoint, Excel, and InfoPath: Used to start and participate in workflows.

  • Outlook: Used to receive workflow notifications and track tasks.

The process for deploying all three types of workflows is described as follows.

Deploying predefined workflows

Predefined workflows have already been installed as features in Office SharePoint Server 2007. To deploy a predefined workflow, you simply activate it for the site, associate (add) it with a list or document library, and start the workflow.

  1. Activate the workflow

    You activate predefined workflows at the site collection level. Only active workflows can be associated with the lists and libraries on your site. For more information about activating workflows, see Activate workflows.

  2. Add the workflow to a list, document library, or content type

    When you add a workflow, you associate the workflow with a list, document library, or content type and configure the workflow by specifying parameters such as the workflow name, start options, participants, and completion options. For more information about adding a workflow, see Add a workflow to a list or document library and Add a workflow to a content type.

  3. Start the workflow

    Workflows can be started manually by a user or started automatically when changes are made to an item in the associated list or library. The workflow configuration settings determine whether the workflow is started manually or automatically. The workflow runs on items in the list or documents in the library with which the workflow is associated. For more information about starting a workflow, see Start a workflow.

Deploying SharePoint Designer workflows

When user-defined workflows are enabled, users can deploy SharePoint Designer workflows on their sites.

  1. Enable user-defined workflows

    To allow users to create and run SharePoint Designer workflows, you must ensure that user-defined workflows are enabled for the site collection. This setting is enabled by default. When this setting is enabled, users can define workflows in a declarative workflow editor such as the Workflow Designer wizard provided in SharePoint Designer. For more information about enabling user-defined workflows, see Enable SharePoint Designer workflows.

  2. Create a SharePoint Designer workflow

    By using the Workflow Designer wizard in Microsoft Office SharePoint Designer 2007, you can create workflows that add application logic to your site or application without having to write custom code. The Workflow Designer incorporates the tasks of creating the workflow, activating the workflow, and adding it to the list or library. You do not need to perform any manual configuration tasks outside the wizard. For more information about creating SharePoint Designer workflows, see Create SharePoint Designer workflows.

  3. Start the workflow

    Workflows can be started manually by a user or started automatically when changes are made to an item in the associated list or library. The workflow configuration settings determine whether the workflow is started manually or automatically. The workflow runs on items in the list or documents in the library with which the workflow is associated. For more information about starting a workflow, see Start a workflow.

Deploying Visual Studio workflows

After a Visual Studio custom workflow is created and installed, the processing for deploying it is similar to that of a predefined workflow. From the user’s perspective, there will be no difference between the two.

  1. Create a custom workflow

    You can create custom workflow templates and custom workflow activities in Visual Studio by using the Windows Workflow Foundation workflow designer. A Visual Studio workflow is composed of a feature.xml file, a workflow .xml file, a workflow assembly, and potentially one or more forms as needed to support the workflow activities. For more information about creating a custom Visual Studio workflow, see Workflow Development in Visual Studio 2005 (http://go.microsoft.com/fwlink/?LinkId=119646&clcid=0x409).

  2. Install the custom workflow

    You install a custom Visual Studio workflow as a feature in a site collection. For more information about installing custom workflows, see Install Visual Studio custom workflows.

  3. Activate the workflow

    You activate custom workflows at the site collection level. Only active workflows can be associated with the lists and libraries on your site. For more information about activating workflows, see Activate workflows.

  4. Add the workflow to a list, document library, or content type

    When you add a workflow, you associate the workflow with a list, document library, or content type and configure the workflow by specifying parameters such as the workflow name, start options, participants, and completion options. For more information about adding a workflow, see Add a workflow to a list or document library and Add a workflow to a content type.

  5. Start the workflow

    Workflows can be started manually by a user or started automatically when changes are made to an item in the associated list or library. The workflow configuration settings determine whether the workflow is started manually or automatically. The workflow runs on items in the list or documents in the library with which the workflow is associated. For more information about starting a workflow, see Start a workflow.

After a workflow is started, participants interact with the workflow through the various tasks that the workflow generates and assigns to them. The workflow continues running until all tasks are completed or the workflow is terminated.

See Also

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