Wednesday, 18 April 2007

Sharepoint - Integrating MOSS+WWF+ASPX - Part 3

Exposing our WWF workflow to MOSS
There are two more bits we need to do in the WWF workflow application to make it available to MOSS. We need to declare the feature and the workflow xml.

MOSS introduced features for the developers to create site items/functionality which can later be linked with sharepoint collectons/sites. Within this XML file, you would also tell which XML would contain the feature specific details - in our case workflow.xml.

Describes stuff about our workflow to sharepoint, including name, description , id etc. This also defines the pages which would be used for workflow Instantiation, association and modification. We shall have a look at an example of Instantiation later in a different blog entry. Modification of workflow (say you would to add more reviewers) at runtime needs a few extra steps and this is when the modification page comes into effect.

Defining Custom Pages for Task Initiation
For ease, all of these three pages needs to derive from Microsoft.Sharepoint.WebControls.LayoutsPageBase with sharepoint master pages (~/_layouts/application.master) being used in the ASPX definition. MOSS provides a lot many master pages which give the consistent look and feel of standard MOSS pages. The content placeholders within the masterpages would need to be filled in by us to define the various entries for the page. Since the master pages would not be usually available at the developer machine, designing these pages is not the easiest of task. Did try copying the pages locally to my machine, but VS.NET does not want to pick these, no matter what.

What we would want to do within the initialisation page is to serialize all the user entered stuff and call a Web.Site.WorkflowManager.StartWorkflow with the serialized data. Its this data which the OnWorkFlowActivated event in the WWF workflow would contain (refer to part 2 of this series)

The important points to note here would be the layouts page, the master page , calls to sharepoint functions and the way the page data transfer data to WWF via MOSS.

We have on more VS.NET task remaining, which is creating the task updating page. This page would be used by users to approve/reject tasks. This works a bit different from the three pages listed above; exploits ContentTypes. Next Blog.

No comments: