Feb 22, 2011

PowerActivity 2010 (Advanced SharePoint Designer 2010 Workflow Actions)

I’m glad to announce that I’ve just added the “Execute PowerShell Script” action (aka PowerActivity 2010) to the latest build of Advanced SharePoint Designer 2010 Workflow Actions.

Add “Execute PowerShell Script” action to a SharePoint Designer Workflow





The PowerShell script to execute. You can use the following predefined variables:

  • $site = the current Microft.SharePoint.SPSite
  • $web = the current Microft.SharePoint.SPWeb
  • $list = the current Microft.SharePoint.SPList (null in site workflows)
  • $item= the current Microft.SharePoint.SPListItem (null in site workflows)
  • $ctx = the current workflow context Microsoft.SharePoint.WorkflowActions.WorkflowContext
  • $sharePointService = the current Microsoft.SharePoint.Workflow.ISharePointService service
  • $listItemService = the curent Microsoft.SharePoint.Workflow.IListItemService service

The process will run as system account. However, by default $site and $web will run as the current workflow initiator or author (impersonation step). When you want to impersonate the site to the system account create a site like this: $impersonatedSite = new-object Microsoft.SharePoint.SPSite($site.Id).

Avoid the usage of the SharePoint Designer Text Editor tokens in the script, because of the potential risk for script injection attacks. Instead use variable binding ($var1, $var2…)


By default every script you that want to execute must be digitally signed. However, you can change the setting to not require a digital signature (dev system). The corresponding PowerShell script is included in package.

Disable Script Signing

The script must run on a SharePoint machine

PS> & .\Set-PowerActivityScriptSigning.ps1 $false

Sign Scripts

In order to sign scripts you need the private key that has been generated during the installation of solution.

1. Export Private Key

The script must run on a SharePoint machine. Keep the private key secure.

PS> & .\Export-Key.ps1 –path “C:\private.key” –includePrivateKey $true

2. Sign the Script

After you have exported the private key you can sign the script. The signing must not be done on a SharePoint machine, you only need the private key and the script. To sign the script you have to save it temporarily to a file.

PS> & .\Sign-PowerActivityScript.ps1 –keyPath “C:\private.key” –scriptPath “C:\script.ps1”

The signature will look like this:


Simply copy & paste the script and the signature to the script and signature field of the “Execute PowerShell Script” action.

White spaces in the script will be ignored in the signing process.

$var1, $var2, $var3, $var4, $var5

You can bind PowerShell variables ($var1, $var2…) to workflow variables.

$web.Title = $var1


The binding is two way, this means you can change the workflow variables in the script.

$var2 = “my value”


$secure is a special variable that can contain an encrypted string that will be decrypted during runtime. You could use this variable to securely store a password. The binding ot this variable is one way, means you can not set the value in the script during runtime. For how to encrypt strings read this.

Secure Store AppId

The Secure Store App have to define 2 Fields. One of type “User Name” and one of type “Password”. The Field Name doesn’t matter, important is the Field Type! You have to map the credentials of the SharePoint Service Accounts (AppPool/owstimer.exe). The secure store option will only works with SharePoint Server, not with Foundation! You can access the credentials during runtime with the $credential variable (System.Net.NetworkCredentials).

Wiki Documentation


John said...

I tried this on my test server, the pre-built VHD from MS. I duuno what im doing wrong, but I get an error saying: Object reference not set to an instance of the object. Any idea why I get this error?

Brian said...

I'm getting the same error. My workflow is very simple for testing and does the following:

Set Variable:test to "Stuff"
Execute Powershell: $var1="Junk" ($var1:Variable:test)

The workflow errors with : "Error while executing PowerShell Script: Object reference not set to an instance of an object."

I'm stumpted on what I could be doing wrong here.

Christian said...

Brian, thanks for your feedback! Should be fixed in build 71729. The issue was that the "secure string" parameter had to have a non empty value.
Bye, Christian

Andy V. said...

the guys do the same but for money: harepoint workflow extensions. There is execution of Power Shell scripts, SQL Commands etc. I am using harepoint extensions because I can export my workflows to Visio and import it back to SPD.

electronic signature software said...

Very helpful article ! I was always curious about all these complex algorithms that are being used in these ssl encryptions.

MelviN said...

Error while executing PowerShell Script: Unable to get credentials for application PShell

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