Mar 19, 2011

Call a Web Service Action (Advanced SharePoint Designer 2010 Workflow Actions)

With this custom SharePoint Designer Action you are able to call web services from SPD workflows. The action is included in my Advanced SharePoint Designer 2010 Workflow Actions release on CodePlex. The source code is available too. Let’s go!

1. Add “Call a Web Service” Action to a SharePoint Designer 2010 Workflow


2. Configure the Action

  • URL: The URL of the Web Service
  • SOAP Version: The SOAP Version of the request (1.1. or 1.2)
  • Action: The SOAP Action for the request
  • SOAP Request Envelope: The SOAP Envelope for the request ( The request will be UTF8 encoded. You can use two special tokens in the request that can not be inserted via the UI: [WebUrl] and [WorkflowInstanceId].
  • User: The user name for requests that needs authentication e.g. “Contoso\Administrator”. Instead of using user name and password you can use Secure Store Credentials.
  • Password: The password for the user. Unfortunately there isn’t a masked text box :-( You could either specify the password  in clear text or encrypted like described here: Encrypt Passwords for SharePoint Designer Workflow Actions
  • AppId: The The Secure Store Application ID. 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!

3. Example

Create a new List with the SharePoint Lists.asmx Web Service.

Configuration of “Call Web Service”

  • URL: http://[siteurl]/_vti_bin/Lists.asmx
  • SOAP Version: SOAP 1.2
  • SOAPAction: not needed for SOAP 1.2
  • Response: The response will be stored in the variable “Response”
  • User: empty
  • Password: empty
  • Secure Store AppId: Instead of using user name and password we use the secure store app with the ID test. The app defines “User Name” and Password. The format of the user name for windows user should be “Domain\username”.
  • SOAP Request Envelope:
<soap12:Envelope xmlns:xsi="" 
xmlns:xsd="" xmlns:soap12="">
<AddList xmlns="">
<description>Created by iLSP action</description>
For the title of the list we use the title of the current list item that runs the workflow. To figure out how the request should looks like you could inspect request with fiddler. I often create a WCF service proxy with Visual Studio, execute the call and inspect the request and result XML with fiddler.

Next we extract the ID of the new list.from the resulting XML. To do this you can use the “Query XML” action that is also included in the package.

Configuration of “Query XML”

  • XML: The XML of the SOAP-Reponse that has been stored in the Variabe “Response”
  • XPath: //*[local-name()='List']/@ID
  • Output: The output (List Id) will be stored in the Variable “ListID”

Write the “ListID” to the history log

download | documentation


arka said...


sometimes (I guess when web service isn't available) workflow enters into "Error occured" state.

"Error System Account
Error in HTTP-Request: Unable to connect to the remote server "

termination of workflow is quite complicated.

Is it possible to avoid "Error occured" state and get simmilar response to "Output"?

Christian said...

Unfortunately not in current implementation. In general it is possible,I did that for create site.

Anonymous said...


In the code above part doesn't work for me. Do you have any ideas for that?


Barclay Fleming said...

I was looking for an information where I can call a web service action. This would be a good guidance to follow to know and understand everything in much detailed way.

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Unknown said...

Its giving me the below error when I am calling the webservice from the workflow and the workflow errors out. I am able to browse the webservice from my machine and from sharepoint server successfully.

Error in HTTP-Request: The remote server returned an error: (503) Server Unavailable.

Unknown said...

Just to add to it, below is what is logged in my ULS logs.

System.Net.WebException: The remote server returned an error: (503) Server Unavailable. at System.Net.WebClient.UploadDataInternal(Uri address, String method, Byte[] data, WebRequest& request) at System.Net.WebClient.UploadString(Uri address, String method, String data) at ILoveSharePoint.Workflow.Activities.WebServiceActivity.<>c__DisplayClass1.b__0() at Microsoft.SharePoint.SPSecurity.<>c__DisplayClass4.b__2() at Microsoft.SharePoint.Utilities.SecurityContext.RunAsProcess(CodeToRunElevated secureCode) at Microsoft.SharePoint.SPSecurity.RunWithElevatedPrivileges(WaitCallback secureCode, Object param) at Microsoft.SharePoint.SPSecurity.RunWithElevatedPrivileges(CodeToRunElevated secureCode) at ILoveSharePoint.Workflow.Activities.WebServiceActivity.Execute(ActivityExecutionContext executionContext) at System.Workflow.ComponentModel.ActivityExecutor`1.Execute(T activity, ActivityExecutionContext executionContext) at System.Workflow.ComponentModel.ActivityExecutor`1.Execute(Activity activity, ActivityExecutionContext executionContext) at System.Workflow.ComponentModel.ActivityExecutorOperation.Run(IWorkflowCoreRuntime workflowCoreRuntime) at System.Workflow.Runtime.Scheduler.Run()

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