Thursday, June 6, 2013

New features in SharePoint designer 2013

SharePoint designer 2013, designer tool for SharePoint 2013. We can see some major changes in SharePoint designer 2010 to SharePoint designer 2013. Following are the few changes,

No visual design: The split view design (on the bottom) is no longer available in SharePoint designer 2013. Compared to the current versions of IE, design view is an older technology that does not support many of new HTML5 and CSS tags. I hope this will cause some problems by removing the design view for few scenarios like editing aspx pages and creating Data View webparts. Sometimes it will become harder to edit the page design.

Platform dependent: SharePoint 2013 allows us to create platform dependent workflows. While creating new workflow, with name and description we will have option to select the platform type. Here we can select SharePoint 2010 workflow or SharePoint 2013 workflow. 


Following are the workflow enhancements in SharePoint designer 2013.

Copy- Paste workflow steps: Through this feature we can have the option to Copy-Paste the workflow steps, means we can copy (Ctrl-C) the workflow steps, loops, conditions, actions and Paste (Ctrl-v) them in the workflow.
After creating the workflow, we can copy the workflow steps and paste them as shown in the image below. But Paste as text option will not work.



But it will work for only few things. Suppose think a case that having look-up columns.  Copy paste will work but it will give error while running. (it will not show any errors, by clicking on the “Check for Errors” button or “Publish” buttons)



Following are the few cases that not supporting Copy – paste:
  • No support for Undo (Ctrl-z)
  • We cannot copy – paste different workflow platform types. If we try for it we’ll get the errors as following.
  • We cannot select multiple items with dragging.
  • We cannot copy the workflows across different RDP’s. We can copy paste the steps but it won’t work because there is no support for across different designers with different PIDs.
Call External web services from workflow: We have new option “Call Web Service” to get the data from external or internal web service.

Loops in workflows: In SharePoint 2010 workflows are not used to support loops. In SharePoint 2013 designer supports “Loops”. Loops are fully integrated action which we can use with in all 2013 workflows.

Dictionary type Variables: In SharePoint 2013, we have new variables has been introduced to hold an array values. There are three actions designed for Dictionary type variables, Build dictionary, Count Items in a dictionary, Get an Item from a Dictionary.

New Task Actions: New task actions are added into the task actions. Assign a task and Start a Task Process are added to assign a task to a user and assign multiple tasks to multiple users.

Visual designer: Through SharePoint designer we can create workflows visually that avoids coding. So that complexity will be reduced. We can do this in SharePoint designer through visual designer. Visio designer is included with SharePoint designer. We can see it if we install Visio in our machine. To check visual workflow designer we must install Visio 2013 and Windows Azure workflow. We can see the installation guide here.


Windows Workflow Foundation 3.0 are deprecated: Some features of SharePoint 2010 workflow platform that depends on Windows workflow foundation 3.0 are deprecated in SharePoint 2013. The reason is new SharePoint WF’s are built up on WWF 4.5 and it is not integrated with Workflow Manager 1.0


Improved Email Editor: We have easier to format workflow email messages by using a standard formatting toolbar to the workflow email editor.

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