Managing Workflows with the Workflow Designer

The Workflow Designer gives you an intuitive interface for creating workflow definitions, from the simplest approval processes to the most complex business processes you can imagine. It features a drag and drop interface, workflow definition versioning, and a graphical representation of definitions and their nodes. Without the Workflow Designer, you’d have to hand-craft your entire workflow definition in XML. With the Workflow Designer, you might never need to look at a single line of XML. Of course, the Workflow Designer also lets you directly manipulate the XML (using the Source tab) if you find it convenient.

Adding New Workflow Definitions with the Workflow Designer

Access the Workflow Designer by going to the Control Panel → Workflow → Process Builder. Click the Add icon (Add).

Give the workflow definition a title and you’re ready to start designing your workflow.

Figure 1: The Workflow Designers graphical interface makes designing workflows intuitive.

Figure 1: The Workflow Designer's graphical interface makes designing workflows intuitive.

Saving and Publishing Workflow Definitions

First, look below the canvas to see the buttons that let you Save or Publish. Saving the definition as a draft lets you save your work so it’s not lost (due to a timeout, for example). It won’t be published (and assignable to assets), and it won’t be considered a version until the Publish button is clicked. Each time you save the workflow as a draft, a new revision is added to the Revision history. To see the Revision history and manage workflow versions, open the Info sidebar (Information) and click Revision History.

Figure 2: View a list of the current workflows that can be edited in the Workflow Designer.

Figure 2: View a list of the current workflows that can be edited in the Workflow Designer.

Adding Nodes

A new workflow is already populated with a start node, an end node, and a transition between them. To make the workflow the way you want it, add nodes to the workflow.

  1. Drag a node from the Nodes palette on the right of the designer and drop it on the canvas.

  2. You’ll see it’s not connected to other nodes by a transition, so right now it can’t be used in the workflow. Delete the existing transition and then you can make new transitions to direct the flow of your workflow (see more about transitions below if you’re not sure what they’re for or how to use them in the Workflow Designer).

Alternatively, start by deleting the default transition, then click the edge of the start node, drag a new transition from the start node to a blank spot on the canvas, and release it. You’re prompted to create a node at that spot, because you can’t have a transition without a starting point and an ending point on a node.

Figure 3: You can add a node by creating a transition that ends at a blank spot on your Designer canvas.

Figure 3: You can add a node by creating a transition that ends at a blank spot on your Designer canvas.

That’s it. Of course, if you drag, say, a Task node onto the canvas, it must be configured.

Node Settings

Now you know how to add nodes to the workflow definition. By default you have three things added to your canvas: a start node, a transition, and an end node. Think of the EndNode as the point in the workflow where an asset reaches the Approved status. The StartNode is where the asset goes from the Draft status to Pending. You might decide to name your nodes to reflect what’s happening in each one. To name a node, double click it, and its Settings appear. Then double click the value of the Name property and you can edit the name. Click Save when you’re done.

Figure 4: You can edit a nodes settings.

Figure 4: You can edit a node's settings.

Of course, there’s more you can do besides changing node names. Actions, Notifications, and Assignments can be used to make your workflow definition useful and interactive. Keep reading to learn about these features.

Kaleo Forms

Activating Workflow

Liferay’s Workflow Framework

Dynamic Data Lists

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