IT/Dev Connections 2017

Please join me in San Fransisco for IT/Dev Connections! I will be speaking on October 24th and 25th – I would love to have you join me.

On October 4th, I will be presenting Transition Your SharePoint Designer Workflows to Microsoft Flow and on the 25th my presentation will be all about Business Intelligence Using SharePoint and Power BI.

If you plan to be at the conference, please let me know so we can meet up!

You can register now and join us!

 

Cincinnati SharePoint User Group – June 22nd

On June 22nd 2017, I will again be speaking to the Cincinnati SharePoint User Group and this time around we will be discussing workflow. I will present the options for creating workflows in SharePoint and Office 365, as well as look at the process (and potential pitfalls) for upgrading your SharePoint Designer workflows to Microsoft Flow.

Find details on the topic, as well as register on the Meetup page.

[UPDATE]
Thank you so much to everyone who came out tonight to the meeting – I had a great time and the group participation was wonderful.

I mentioned tonight the Known issues and resolutions page Microsoft is maintaining for Flow – here is the link: https://ms.flow.microsoft.com/en-us/documentation/release-notes/#known-issues-and-resolutions

There were a few questions about Flow during the meeting that I wanted to make sure I followed-up with – the list of questions & my answers are below:

  1. Can Microsoft Flow monitor list item changes while the Flow is running – meaning can another Flow instance start if a user updates a list item while the Flow is already running.
    • It is my understanding that if the Flow is currently running on a list item, another instance of the Flow will not start when a trigger occurs.
  2. Is there a trigger in Microsoft Flow for item deletes?
    • No, just like SharePoint Designer workflows, there currently isn’t a way to detect item deletes.
  3. Is there a particular patch level for SharePoint 2013 that is required for Microsoft Flow to connect?
    • I haven’t seen documentation noting a specific service pack or patch-level that is needed, but I will ask Microsoft for clarification and post the answer here.

New Simple Approval Flows In SharePoint Libraries

Microsoft announced today the newest improvement in workflow for the SharePoint platform – easy-to-use approval workflows built-in that will enable you to route a document for approval and give you the ability to give a custom message.

In my workflow presentations, I talk about having a simple approval workflow being a great first step but we need a better user experience than what we have been given out-of-the-box with SharePoint in the past. We need the user to be able to approve/deny directly within their email client, without having to go to a SharePoint page, edit the task, complete the task, and then save it. Too many steps!!

New: Simple Approval Flows

With this new functionality using Microsoft Flow, we will now be able to ad-hoc route documents for approval and approval participant will have a one-step action link in their email.

New built-in approval flows

Make sure you check out the new Microsoft Mechanics video “Zero code business process apps in SharePoint with PowerApps and Microsoft Flow” showing this and other improvements to the SharePoint experience.

Creating & Upgrading SharePoint Workflows – April 9th 2017

I am excited to be speaking once again at the Nashville SharePoint Users Group. The meeting on May 9th 2017 is in-person and via online meeting and the topic is “Creating & Upgrading SharePoint Workflows”. The details of my presentation are below.

For a long time, we have used workflow for automating business processes in every version of SharePoint, while using various tools to create them: out of the box workflows, SharePoint Designer, Visual Studio, & third-party applications like Nintex and K2.

  • Now that SharePoint Designer will no longer updated and there is a push to move to the cloud, what are we supposed to do now to automate tasks and business workflow?
  • What if you aren’t moving to Office 365 and just want to know what tool you should use to create workflows moving forward?
  • Should you migrate your existing SharePoint Designer workflows to Microsoft Flow or a third-party tool? What would that process look like?
  • Should you continue to build workflows using SharePoint Designer in SharePoint 2010, 2013, 2016?In our time together, we will review those questions and more so you can be confident in your path forward with process automation, no matter what version of SharePoint you are using or where it is hosted!

[UPDATE]
I had a great time with the group tonight. There were some great conversation concerning the gaps between SharePoint Designer workflows and Microsoft Flow. Everyone stay tuned to this space and make sure you register for the May 16th Microsoft Virtual Summit.

SharePoint 2010 Workflows on a SharePoint 2016 Farm

[This is a quick post – it will be updated with more information soon]

During a recent client meeting, I was asked if SharePoint 2010 version workflows, developed on a SharePoint Server 2013 farm, will continue to work if the server farm is upgraded to 2016. SharePoint Server 2016 has not been released at the time of this writing, but we do have the Release Candidate to test with, so I went about testing.

On a SharePoint Server 2013 farm (version ​15.0.4719.1002, which is SP1 with May 2015 CU) I created a SharePoint 2010 version workflow and associated it with a document library. I took a SQL backup of the content database and restored it as a database named Site_SP13_to_SP16RC.

On the SharePoint Server 2016 Release Candidate (RC) machine, I ran the Test-SPContentDatabase PowerShell cmdlet to check the database for any issues that might be encountered during the upgrade.

Test-SPContentDatabase 2016 RC on SharePoint 2013 Database
Test-SPContentDatabase 2016 RC on SharePoint 2013 Database
The cmdlet ended without even a peep – which is a good sign. So, I performed the upgrade and it ran without error.

Mount-SPContentDatabase 2016 RC on SharePoint 2013 Database
Mount-SPContentDatabase 2016 RC on SharePoint 2013 Database
I loaded the newly upgraded site and was greeted by an old friend…

Working On It
Working On It
…and he (Working on it) stayed a while. It took several minutes for my simple team site to become available.

The website loaded and it was ‘wonderful’ ha! (see site name).

SharePoint 2013 Site Upgraded to 2016 RC
SharePoint 2013 Site Upgraded to 2016 RC
The workflow I created on the SharePoint 2013 farm is configured to kickoff when the document is modified or a new document is added. So, I simply changed the title of the Test document that was already in the library. The workflow successfully started and did assign a task as it should. However, I noticed something on the workflows screen for the document – within the Completed Workflows section, the history of the workflow when it ran on the 2013 farm was listed. This isn’t a huge surprise, but it is really nice to see that the history is there after upgrading!

Workflow History SharePoint 2016 RC
Workflow History SharePoint 2016 RC
In summary, a SharePoint 2010 workflow (a very simple one in this case) created on a SharePoint Server 2013 site, will continue to work when upgraded to a SharePoint 2016 RC farm via database attach.