Time is a non-renewable resource! Save yours with these tricks for reusing your Workflow Conductor workflows.
Workflow Conductor provides a simple, yet powerful, way for you to automate your SharePoint-enabled business processes. Its intuitive drag-and-drop interface lets you create workflows that are short and simple or large and complex, whatever suits your needs. No matter how simple or complex your workflow, nobody wants to have to do the same work twice.
Associate the Workflow to Other Lists
The most basic way to reuse a workflow is to simply associate it to as many lists (or Content Types) as you need to. Once your workflow is deployed once to a SharePoint list or library, it is available to any list or library in the site collection. This works especially well if your workflow does something generic, like send an item for feedback or approval.
To associate a workflow to another list once it has been deployed, go to the Workflow settings page in Settings > List Settings. Click Add a workflow and choose your Workflow Conductor workflow from the list.
For more detailed instructions, check out Bamboo Knowledge Base article KB.12427 - HOWTO: Add an existing workflow to another list or library. (You can associate your workflow to different Content Types, too. See KB.12507 - HOWTO: Associate a workflow to a Content Type for more information.)
If certain elements of your workflow, like an e-mail address, might change depending on the item, consider using a workflow initialization form to prompt the workflow initiator for the information. You can then use a lookup to the workflow variable that captured the information and save yourself from having to create different versions of the workflow. The more lookups you use, the easier it will be to reuse your workflows.
Editing a Workflow Template
When you deploy a workflow in Conductor Studio, you are prompted to save it as a template. Saving a workflow as a template allows you to later open that saved copy, make changes to it, and deploy it again with a unique name.
Here's a tip: you can save a workflow as a template anytime while you're editing it. You don't have to wait until you deploy it. If you have a workflow that has just one little step that needs to be different for different lists, different Content Types, or slightly different functions, you can save all but that step as a template using the Workflow > Save As menu item in Conductor Studio. Then, just edit the template, make the minor change, and deploy the workflow. Reopen the original template and repeat, as many times as necessary.
Exporting Workflow Templates
Does your workflow need to be reused on another SharePoint farm? Save yourself valuable time and export your work! Exported templates can be imported into any other copy of Workflow Conductor. Open your workflow template and export it using the Workflow > Export menu item in Conductor Studio. Then, import the saved .xoml workflow file into Workflow Conductor in the new SharePoint farm with Workflow > Import. Make any necessary changes to update your list and item references, and deploy your workflow to the new location.
This can save you a tremendous amount of time, especially if you are testing complex workflows in a staging environment that later need to be ported to production.
With all that time you've saved by reusing workflows, you have plenty of time to explore all the other great features of Workflow Conductor. If you need a free 30-day trial of Workflow Conductor to get you started, download your copy here.
Jul 27 2010, 09:30 AM
Filed under: Lookup, Workflow, SharePoint, Workflow Conductor, Reuse Workflow, Workflow Management, SharePoint Workflows, Workflow Association, Workflow Variables, workflow portability, import workflow, workflow template, export workflow, workflow reusability
Cynthia Fistler joined Bamboo Solutions as a technical writer in March 2010. She came to Bamboo from the Web Hosting division of an international telecommunications company, where her job included project management, technical writing, training, and as much hands-on SharePoint use as she could get. Cynthia writes content for the Bamboo Tools & Technologies product group, which includes Workflow Conductor, and is looking forward to becoming a regular Bamboo Nation contributor.