The first session of the afternoon that I attended on Saturday at SharePoint Saturday New York was Michael Lotter's "SharePoint 2010 Workflow Overview with Visio and SharePoint Designer." Michael stated right off that he's "really excited about the huge improvements with SharePoint Designer 2010," particularly as the majority of the improvements are in the service of "empowering the business user." Michael's agenda for the session incorporated not only an overview of key workflow improvements in both Visio and SharePoint Designer (SPD), but also demos on how to work with each product, both separately and in concert.
Describing Visio as being meant for Business Analysts, Michael began by demonstrating the ease of choosing a template, creating, and validating a workflow. Once validated, Michael showed how to export the workflow to SPD, also noting the import functionality which allows users to import existing workflows from SPD into Visio. As a result, round trips between Visio and SPD are possible, but take note: once a workflow is "put in Visual Studio, it stays there – it's a done deal." Another limitation that Michael made a point of mentioning is that while custom workflow actions can be created in Visual Studio, they're not importable to Visio.
Shifting his attention to SPD (which will continue to be free in 2010), Michael took the opportunity to mention some of the "really nice" 2010 enhancements: site workflows, list workflows, and reusable workflows, noting that with the 2010 release, SPD is now "a tool you can use for true workflow development."
In his SPD demo, Michael imported the existing workflow from Visio, then showed how to designate it as a list workflow or reusable workflow, selecting list workflow for the sake of his demo. Note that while making this selection, however, that in order to export your created-in-Visio workflow out of SPD and back into Visio, it "has to be marked as reusable."
Having saved the workflow in SPD, Michael concluded his demo by showing the start of the workflow in SharePoint.
Tune in tomorrow for my report on Saturday's "Ask the Experts" panel!
As a postscript, it's probably worth mentioning that I had a particular interest in the subject matter of Michael's SharePoint Saturday session, as Bamboo will release version 1.0 of Workflow Conductor next week.
Read the entire SharePoint Saturday New York series:
- Greetings from SharePoint Saturday New York!
- Paul J. Swider on "The Humanizing of SharePoint" in 2010
- Peter Serzo's "At the Movies with PerformancePoint Services"
- Michael Lotter's "SharePoint 2010 Workflow Overview with Visio and SharePoint Designer"
- "Ask the SharePoint Experts" Session with Michael Lotter, Bob Fox, Geoff Varosky and Tony Lanni
- Mark Miller on "Enhancing the SharePoint Interface with jQuery Solutions"