If you have been following any of the news about SharePoint 2013, you already know that the workflow capability has been enhanced significantly. The most important change is that workflows now execute outside SharePoint. Please refer to the diagram below. (This diagram is taken from MSDN with some annotations.) As you can see, workflows are hosted externally. The external host for workflows can either be Windows Azure or customer-provided infrastructure. Why is this change so important? Recall all the knobs and switches we had to turn as SharePoint developers to prevent workflow execution from overwhelming the SharePoint farm. Read More…
If you’ve spent any time reading our blog, you know by now that SharePoint 2013 introduces extraordinary new features to change the way you work, share, discover, organize and build sites. And now we’ve put together a quick guide highlighting the top features that may inpact your business.
Download The Top Reasons Why Your Business Will Love the New SharePoint now! (No form required,)
The Top Reasons Why Your Business Will Love the New SharePoint guide provides you with an overview of the latest and greatest that comes with SharePoint 2013, including:
- Smarter Search
- Simpler and Mobile-Ready UI
- SharePoint App Store Model
- Better Workflow
- Social SharePoint…and more, including easy migration tools and lower costs.
And if you’re in the DC area, AIS is hosting an “Introduction to SharePoint 2013″ event at the Microsoft office in Chevy Chase, MD on March 20th. Click here to learn more and register.
Workflow, as far as I can tell at this point, is one of the most overhauled functionalities from SharePoint 2010 to SharePoint 2013. The first major difference is that it’s no longer contained within SharePoint. Workflow is now handled by Windows Azure Workflow (WAW).
“Whoa, whoa, whoa! Does that mean I’m going to have to pay Microsoft some hefty usage fees to have Workflow in my 2013 environment? I really don’t see how that’s going to fly with the bosses,” you say.
Fortunately, no, that’s not the case. While I’m sure there will be a model for this, it’s not the only one. You can host WAW on-premises just like SharePoint. We’ll delve into that momentarily. Windows Azure Workflow is built on Windows Workflow Foundation 4.5 (WF4.5). WF4.5 introduces several new features as detailed in the MSDN article “What’s New in Windows Workflow Foundation.” This will require a separate install that can run on a SharePoint server or its own environment. We’ll also look at the architectural implications in a bit.
The “meat” of this post is going to focus on three areas: Architecture, Development, and how these would affect the design of an existing SharePoint 2010 Workflow project. The architecture changes only start with WAW and WF4.5. We’ll discuss the installation requirements, how it’s hosted, security, and the Pros and Cons of WAW. The development story has changed, at least to me, far more. I’ll explain the changes to coding (Hint: You can’t…directly), how web services can remedy the last statement, and custom actions. Finally, we’ll take a look at the project I discussed in my last post “Developing Multi-Tiered Solutions in SharePoint” and how that design would be changed for a SharePoint 2013 environment.