Jul 28, 2010

My Development Box

Here is the actual configuration of my development box. SharePoint and for sure .NET development works like a charm :)

Hardware

  • HP Elitebook 8540w
  • Processor: Intel Core i7 -820 Quad 1.73 GHz
  • RAM: 16 GB DDR3-SDRAM 1333 MHz (4x 4GB)
  • Display: 15.6” HD+ integrated 2 MP Webcam
  • Graphic: nVidia Quadro FX880M
  • HD: 500 GB SATA 7.200rpm
  • Connect: Intel 802.11 a/b/g/n , Bluetooth, UMTS

Software

For SharePoint demos and workshops I’m using the Contoso Hyper-V image. Because Contoso didn’t use setup best practices (e.g. admin service accounts) I use for development a from scratch installed SharePoint Hyper-V image.

Jul 18, 2010

User Defined Actions in Nintex Workflow 2010 (Domain Actions)

My favorite new feature in Nintex Workflow 2010 are User Defined Actions (UDA). An UDA is a kind of workflow template which can be used like any other Nintex action. More technically spoken it is an composite activity. Comfortable is that you can design them in the same easy way as an usual Nintex workflow. A technically minded workflow designer can create domain UDAs, maybe to encapsulate web service calls to a SAP system. And later on the business users can use them in their workflows without any technical background knowledge. Time for an example…

The “Send Tweet” User Defined Action

In this example we will create a UDA for posting Twitter status updates. Imagine we are an social marketing aware company and want to give our marketing team the ability to send tweets from Nintex workflows. They should be able to design the workflows themselves (usually approval workflows) and should not care about technical details. Perfect scenario for an UDA.

Site Actions > Nintex Workflow 2010 > Manage UDAs

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Click “Create”

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Start designing the UDA in the familiar Nintex WF designer

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Define input and output parameters

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Create an input parameter for the status update message (Message).

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Drag an “Build dynamic string” action for building the URL and a “Web request” action for posting the update to the designer.

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Configuration of the “Build Url…” action.

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http://api.twitter.com/1/statuses/update.xml?status={WorkflowVariable:Message}

The result variable “Url” can be created directly the config dialog via the “Variables” menu item in the ribbon.

Configuration of the “Post…” action.

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You only need to configure Url, Username & Password and that the POST verb should be used.

Tip: Instead of defining the user credentials inline you can use a Nintex workflow constant of type credentials. The advantage is that you can change the credentials without changing and republishing the UDA. 

Configure UDA settings

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The “Title” defines the display name of the action and the “Category” defines in which group it will be shown in the designer. Also nice is that you can define you own icons.

Publish the UDA

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By default the UDA is scoped for the current team site, but you can promote it to the site collection or farm level. Additionally you can import and export UDAs.

Use the “Send tweet” action in a workflow 

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The “Send tweet” action is now available in the “Twitter” group on the workflow actions menu on the left. Now the marketing team could easily use it within an approval action.

Configuration of “Send Tweet”

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The marketing team only have to provide the message for the Twitter status update and don’t care about any technical detail.

Test it

Start the workflow and approve the tweet.

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You can easily encapsulate more Twitter API calls like this and build kind of a domain language. More ideas about Twitter and Nintex you can find on Markus Alt’s blog. Twitter is just a trivial example, you could also use this approach to design domain actions SAP or for any other system.

Jul 16, 2010

Amazing Nintex Workflow 2010 Promotion Video

Watch this amazing video from Mike Fitzmaurice about Nintex Workflow 2010. One of the coolest and most creative promotion videos I’ve ever seen!

Well done Mike :-)

SharePoint 2010 Development Beta Exams Passed

Happy to have passed the SharePoint 2010 development beta exams:

Exam 70-573: MCTS: Microsoft SharePoint 2010, Application Development
Exam 70-576: PRO: Designing and Developing Microsoft SharePoint 2010 Applications 

The the MCTS exam was moderate, but the PRO was hard.
Good luck.