SharePoint Designer 2013 is Still the Best Way to Build Workflows for SharePoint 2013

Rehmani Consulting, Inc. offers video training content on building workflows with SharePoint Designer 2010. We also offer hourly rate consulting services, usually in the form of one to one coaching, for organizations looking to implement SharePoint features and processes like using SharePoint Designer to build workflows.

Given our extensive level of expertise with SharePoint Designer, and, specifically, with regard to using SharePoint Designer to build workflows, one can understand our interest in tracking the changes made to SharePoint Designer 2013.

As we noted in yesterday’s post to this blog, “the SharePoint Designer 2010 Workflow Platform has been deprecated in SharePoint Designer 2013.” In fact, a new Workflow Platform has been developed for SharePoint 2013, in the form of the new Workflow Manager service which is a unique new optional feature of SharePoint 2013.

As stated on Technet, “[i]n SharePoint Server 2010 the workflow engine installed automatically with the product. This continues to be the case with the SharePoint 2010 Workflow platform in SharePoint Server 2013. If you simply install SharePoint Server 2013 and do not install and configure Workflow Manager then you will have a nearly identical experience with building workflows as you did in SharePoint Server 2010.

The SharePoint 2013 Workflow platform only becomes available to you, and your tools, after you download and install the new Workflow Manager service and configure it to communicate with your SharePoint Server 2013 farm.”

The process of building workflows with SharePoint Designer 2013 makes greater use of functionality from Visio 2013: specifically, SharePoint Designer 2013 includes a ” . . . visual workflow development experience that uses a Visio 2013 add-in” (quoted from Technet). By establishing Visio 2013 as a more useful, albeit preliminary method of building workflows for SharePoint 2013, “business analysts, process consultants, and IT professionals” can play more of a role in specifying and even articulating line of business (LOB) processes for implementation within a SharePoint 2013 computing environment. Certainly, in our view, this step can add value to efforts to hasten user adoption for SharePoint 2013.

It should also be noted that, with SharePoint Designer 2013, ” . . . no-code web service calls from within a workflow” can be built via a new action (quoted from Technet’s “What’s new in workflow in SharePoint Server 2013″ article, a link to which has been provided above). As well, “[n]ew workflow building blocks such as Stage, Loop, and App Step” (ibid) have been added, which can be used to streamline workflow development.

Finally, Workflow Manager, itself, adds important new performance capabilities, which appear to us to be designed for enhanced utilization by true enterprise class organizations. In the next post to this blog we will look further at the ramifications, for business users, for some of the features of Workflow Manager.

© IMB Enterprises, Inc. & Ira Michael Blonder, 2012 All Rights Reserved
on behalf of Rehmani Consulting, Inc.

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