Introduction to Workflow

Liferay’s workflow engine is named Kaleo. In Greek, Kaleo means “called ones,” which is appropriate for a workflow engine that calls users to participate in a review process designed for them. Workflow makes it possible to define any number of simple to complex business processes/workflows, deploy them, and manage them through a portal interface. The processes have knowledge of Users, Groups and Roles. You don’t have to write a single line of code to accomplish this: it’s defined in an XML document. If you’re a Liferay Digital Experience Platform (DXP) customer, you also have access to a visual process builder.

There are several steps to effective workflowing:

After all that, you’ll be familiar with using Liferay’s workflow engine to set up approval processes for any workflow-enabled content.

What’s New with Workflow?

There are some noteworthy enhancements to the workflow functionality:

DXP Feature: Workflow Metrics

For DXP subscribers, the Workflow Metrics feature was introduced. Configure one or more Service Level Agreements (SLAs; think of these as deadlines) on a workflow definition’s events, and workflow submissions are accordingly tracked and reported as on time or overdue.

Service Level Agreements (SLAs)

SLAs define the deadlines on a workflow process’s events. They’re like a contract between the workflow participants and Users submitting workflow items.

SLAs can be formally agreed-upon deadlines between you and your customers, or informally created to meet internal goals, tracking events such as:

  • Total time to resolution
  • Time to complete a specific workflow task

Figure 1: Use Service Level Agreements (SLAs) to define how workflow metrics are reported.

Figure 1: Use Service Level Agreements (SLAs) to define how workflow metrics are reported.

For each workflow event to track, set the SLA duration and when the timer should be paused, if at all.

Workflow Reports

Once an SLA is set, workflow submissions that trigger the SLA timer are automatically reported on by the workflow metrics framework, and given the status on time or overdue.

Figure 2: See Workflow Reports generated based on your SLAs.

Figure 2: See Workflow Reports generated based on your SLAs.

See the article on Workflow Metrics to learn more about SLAs and available reports.

Control Panel Reorganization

The Workflow section of the Control Panel is now a top-level section with its own subcategories: Process Builder and Submissions (Metrics, too, if you’re a DXP subscriber). In Liferay DXP 7.1 Workflow was nested under Control Panel → Configuration.

Figure 3: Workflow has a top-level entry in the Control Panel.

Figure 3: Workflow has a top-level entry in the Control Panel.

Workflow Definition Permissions: System Settings

The Workflow System Settings category (Control Panel → Configuration → System Settings) has a new system scoped configuration entry: Workflow Definitions. There’s just one configuration option, but it’s important: Enabling it gives administrators permission to publish workflows and scripts.

Figure 4: Explicit permission must be granted before administrators are allowed to publish and edit workflow definitions.

Figure 4: Explicit permission must be granted before administrators are allowed to publish and edit workflow definitions.

Create your own workflows from scratch or leverage existing workflows.

Embedded Workflows

In addition to the Single Approver definition, there are some workflow definitions that ship with Liferay DXP but are not pre-installed, since they’re primarily included for test cases. They can be found in the Liferay source code in

/modules/apps/portal-workflow/portal-workflow-kaleo-runtime-impl/src/main/resources/META-INF/definitions

They’re also in your Liferay installation. Open your Liferay installation’s osgi/portal/com.liferay.portal.workflow.kaleo.runtime.impl.jar, and then find and open the com.liferay.workflow.kaleo.runtime.impl-[version].jar. The definitions are in the META-INF/definitions folder.

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