SharePoint Designer 2013 has the flexibility to work with many tools. Using Visio or InfoPath? SharePoint Designer is like a flexible friend.
Before we jump into workflows, I would like to talk to you for just a few minutes about the tools that we will be using in this course. I'll be using SharePoint online. Actually SharePoint Server Enterprise 2013, running as part of Office 365. But, you don't need to have the same type of SharePoint or the same installation that I have. For example, your organization may have SharePoint Server Enterprise, or SharePoint Server Standard installed and hosted there. Or your organization might be using SharePoint Foundation which is the most broadly distributed version of SharePoint because it comes packaged with Windows Server.
So organizations that have a Windows Server, already have SharePoint Foundation and they could use it. Each of these versions of SharePoint allows your users to collaborate, to share documents and lists, and allows them to launch workflows that you've created. So yes, you can create workflows with SharePoint Foundation. You'll also need to have SharePoint Designer 2013 because this is our development environment, our primary tool. And we will use it to build workflows although it has other purposes. I can create lists and libraries, and entire SharePoint sites using SharePoint Designer 2013.
There are other course in the lynda.com online library that use SharePoint Designer for things like site branding. SharePoint Designer 2013 is a multi-use development environment, but we will be using it specifically for workflows. By the way if you have a prior version of SharePoint Designer, SharePoint Designer 2007 or SharePoint Designer 2010, those won't work. Microsoft has re-imagined, how workflows work with SharePoint 2013. And you can't create new workflows with the old tools.
So you will need to download SharePoint Designer 2013, even if you have a prior version. So some version of SharePoint in 2013 and SharePoint Designer 2013 are all you need to create workflows. But there's other software that's optional and very useful. For example, if you have InfoPath Designer 2013, which is another free download, then you can use that software to create forms for use in your workflows and we'll be doing that in this course. The forms you create can be filled out by users who are using InfoPath Filler.
But depending on the version of SharePoint you're using, you may also be able to create and host browser based forms using InfoPath. If your organization uses SharePoint Server 2013 Enterprise on premises or online, then it also includes the ability to have what are called services. Things that are hosted on the server. One example of a service is Excel services, which allows users to access large workbooks or to work with Excel, even if they don't have it on their computer because it's being hosted on the server.
There are also Visio services that allow your users to view Visio diagrams. Something that you will care about later in this course. But from our point of view, there is one service we care about more than any other in this regard, which is the ability to be able to host InfoPath forms in a browser. So if you are using SharePoint Server Enterprise on premises or online, then you can create forms that your users can open in a browser. This means that you don't have to worry about each of them having InfoPath Filler on their computers.
It means that it doesn't matter that they use a Mac or they use a PC. Anybody who can get to a browser, can fill out your forms. You might also have access to some version of Visio in your organization. And any Visio is great because it allows us to create diagrams of our workflows. We can take those diagrams then and print them or publish them and share them for feedback. And diagrams will allow us to get a high quality of information back from our users. But if I have Visio Professional, I get much more with it.
I have the ability with Visio Professional to create workflows right in Visio, to not only share them for feedback but to export them to SharePoint Designer or to take workflows that I created with SharePoint Designer, and turn them into diagrams that I can then, share with my users. If you have Visio Porfessional, you really have a second development environment. Because now I can design not only in SharePoint Designer but I can design in Visio. Take things back and forth. And, there's one more thing that's really cool about Visio.
Many organizations have a built in pool of current or past Visio users. Maybe people in engineering or some business analyst, some folks in IT, or some folks in, in marketing and creative. And any of those folks can create workflows using Visio. So, they can start a workflow in Visio Professional and then save it and give it to you, so that you can do more work with it, if you wish, in SharePoint. Developers in your organization, and you may be one of them, probably have Visual Studio which is a complete programming environment.
Visual Studio allows you to create forms, workflows, webpages, entire applications for use in SharePoint. At some point if you're creating very complex workflows, you may need to have some code written and that will be written for you in Visual Studio. Now in earlier versions of SharePoint, I hit that need to code wall pretty early. But now, there's so much power built into SharePoint Designer that I create entire workflows and, and rarely have a need for Visual Studio.
But know that it's here if you need it. And if you do need code, you can begin by completing as much of the workflow as you can in SharePoint Designer, then exporting that workflow so that it can be imported into Visual Studio. Remember though that despite all of these tools, and you may have a number of them already, the only thing you will absolutely need in this course is some version of SharePoint 2013 and SharePoint Designer 2013. If you have these two tools, you will be able to create some amazing workflows.
- Automating workflows
- Documenting workflows with Sticky Notes, Excel, and Visio
- Driving workflow interactions with forms
- Using workflow actions
- Making choices and controlling flow with conditions
- Creating a simple form
- Using email notifications
- Pausing and stopping workflows with core actions
- Building a dictionary
- Creating a site workflow
- Deploying workflows
- Creating workflows visually