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Posted 10 May 2011

How to Add a Custom Visual Studio Workflow to SharePoint Designer

, 10 May 2011
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Step by step guidelines to add a custom Visual Studio workflow to the SharePoint designer

This article gives a step by step guideline to add a custom Visual Studio workflow to the SharePoint designer. In here, I'm using VS 2010 and SharePoint 2010.

  • Create a Empty Sequence Work Flow project.

image

Then, select .NET Framework 3.5 and select the Sequential Workflow Project.

image

In this sample, we are going to add custom string functionality to the SharePoint designer. After creating the project, you will get a blank activity as follows:

image

Then delete that activity and add the Activity item to the project as above. I named that as subStringAfterText.cs.

image

After that, you will get a blank Sequence Activity.

Add References to the Project

After that, you need to add Microsoft.SharePoint.dll and Microsoft.SharePoint.WorkflowActions.dll to the project. Those DLLs can be found in the following paths:

  • C:\Program Files\Common Files\Microsoft Shared\Web Server Extensions\14\ISAPI\Microsoft.SharePoint.dll
  • C:\Program Files\Common Files\Microsoft Shared\Web Server Extensions\14\ISAPI\Microsoft.SharePoint.WorkflowActions.dll

Cording

My task to develop a simple string function will return the text after the search text. This is so simple but you can use this method to develop any Custom SPD workflows.

  1: using System;
  2: using System.ComponentModel;
  3: using System.ComponentModel.Design;
  4: using System.Collections;
  5: using System.Linq;
  6: using System.Workflow.ComponentModel;
  7: using System.Workflow.ComponentModel.Design;
  8: using System.Workflow.ComponentModel.Compiler;
  9: using System.Workflow.ComponentModel.Serialization;
 10: using System.Workflow.Runtime;
 11: using System.Workflow.Activities;
 12: using System.Workflow.Activities.Rules;
 13: using System.Diagnostics;
 14: using Microsoft.SharePoint;
 15: using Microsoft.SharePoint.WorkflowActions;
 16: using Microsoft.SharePoint.Workflow;
 17:
 18: namespace getSubStringAfter
 19: {
 20: public partial class subStringAfterText : SequenceActivity
 21: {
 22: // Declare event log
 23: private EventLog eventLog;
 24:
 25:
 26: // Declare dependency properties to get and set values to the activity
 27:
 28: public static DependencyProperty SourceStringProperty =
 System.Workflow.ComponentModel.DependencyProperty.Register
 ("SourceString", typeof(string), typeof(subStringAfterText));
 29: public static DependencyProperty SearchStringProperty =
 System.Workflow.ComponentModel.DependencyProperty.Register
 ("SearchString", typeof(string), typeof(subStringAfterText));
 30: public static DependencyProperty FoundStringProperty =
 System.Workflow.ComponentModel.DependencyProperty.Register
 ("FoundString", typeof(string), typeof(subStringAfterText));
 31: // Specify validations to validate inputs
 32: [Description("")]
 33: [ValidationOption(ValidationOption.Required)]
 34: [Browsable(true)]
 35: [DesignerSerializationVisibility(DesignerSerializationVisibility.Visible)]
 36: public string SourceString
 37: {
 38: get
 39: {
 40: return (string)base.GetValue(SourceStringProperty);
 41: }
 42: set
 43: {
 44: base.SetValue(SourceStringProperty, value);
 45: }
 46: }
 47:
 48: [Description("")]
 49: [ValidationOption(ValidationOption.Required)]
 50: [Browsable(true)]
 51: [DesignerSerializationVisibility(DesignerSerializationVisibility.Visible)]
 52: public string SearchString
 53: {
 54: get
 55: {
 56: return (string)base.GetValue(SearchStringProperty);
 57: }
 58: set
 59: {
 60: base.SetValue(SearchStringProperty, value);
 61: }
 62: }
 63:
 64: [Browsable(true)]
 65: [DesignerSerializationVisibility(DesignerSerializationVisibility.Visible)]
 66: public string FoundString
 67: {
 68: get
 69: {
 70: return (string)base.GetValue(FoundStringProperty);
 71: }
 72: set
 73: {
 74: base.SetValue(FoundStringProperty, value);
 75: }
 76: }
 77:
 78: //The SharePoint workflow properties activation object
 79: public static DependencyProperty
 __ActivationPropertiesProperty = DependencyProperty.Register
 ("__ActivationProperties",
 typeof(SPWorkflowActivationProperties), typeof(subStringAfterText));
 80:
 81: // Using a DependencyProperty as the backing store for
     // WorkflowInstanceIdProperty. This enables animation, styling, binding, etc...
 82: public static DependencyProperty
 WorkflowInstanceIdVariableProperty = DependencyProperty.Register
 ("WorkflowInstanceIdVariable", typeof(string), typeof(subStringAfterText));
 83:
 84: // Using a DependencyProperty as the backing store for
     // WorkflowInstanceIdProperty. This enables animation, styling, binding, etc...
 85: public static DependencyProperty
 __ContextProperty = DependencyProperty.Register
 ("__Context", typeof(WorkflowContext), typeof(subStringAfterText));
 86:
 87: [Description("The WorkflowInstanceId for the workflow.")]
 88: [ValidationOption(ValidationOption.Required)]
 89: public string WorkflowInstanceIdVariable
 90: {
 91: get { return (string)(base.GetValue(WorkflowInstanceIdVariableProperty)); }
 92: set { base.SetValue(WorkflowInstanceIdVariableProperty, value); }
 93: }
 94:
 95: [Description("The Workflow Properties")]
 96: [ValidationOption(ValidationOption.Required)]
 97: public SPWorkflowActivationProperties __ActivationProperties
 98: {
 99: get { return (SPWorkflowActivationProperties)
 (base.GetValue(__ActivationPropertiesProperty)); }
100: set { base.SetValue(__ActivationPropertiesProperty, value); }
101: }
102:
103: [Description("The Workflow Context object")]
104: [ValidationOption(ValidationOption.Optional)]
105: [Browsable(false)]
106: [DesignerSerializationVisibility(DesignerSerializationVisibility.Visible)]
107: public WorkflowContext __Context
108: {
109: get
110: {
111: return (WorkflowContext)(base.GetValue(__ContextProperty));
112: }
113:
114: set
115: {
116: base.SetValue(__ContextProperty, value);
117: }
118: }
119:
120: // Override the activity execution
121: protected override ActivityExecutionStatus Execute
(ActivityExecutionContext executionContext)
122: {
123: //Set up the Event Logging object
124: eventLog = new EventLog("Workflow");
125: eventLog.Source = "SharePoint Workflow";
126:
127: try
128: {
129: // Your Method
130: getTheString();
131: }
132: finally
133: {
134: //Dispose of the Event Logging object
135: eventLog.Dispose();
136: }
137:
138: //Indicate the activity has closed
139: return ActivityExecutionStatus.Closed;
140: }
141:
142:
143: private void getTheString()
144: {
145: this.FoundString = SourceString.Substring
(SourceString.IndexOf(SearchString) + SearchString.Length -1);
146: }
147:
148: }
149: }

Code Explanation

Dependency properties are used to exchange data from workflow instance. Therefore, following properties are needed to exchange primary data.

//The SharePoint workflow properties activation object
// Using a DependencyProperty as the backing store for WorkflowInstanceIdProperty.

This enables animation, styling, binding, etc.

public static DependencyProperty __ActivationPropertiesProperty = 
DependencyProperty.Register("__ActivationProperties", 
typeof(SPWorkflowActivationProperties), typeof(subStringAfterText));

public static DependencyProperty WorkflowInstanceIdVariableProperty = 
DependencyProperty.Register("WorkflowInstanceIdVariable", 
typeof(string), typeof(subStringAfterText));

// Using a DependencyProperty as the backing store for 
// WorkflowInstanceIdProperty. This enables animation, styling, binding, etc...
public static DependencyProperty __ContextProperty = 
DependencyProperty.Register("__Context", 
typeof(WorkflowContext), typeof(subStringAfterText));

//These properties should have getter setter methods. 
//attributes define the visibility, validation and etc..
Ex :-

[Description("The WorkflowInstanceId for the workflow.")]
[ValidationOption(ValidationOption.Required)]
public string WorkflowInstanceIdVariable
{
get { return (string)(base.GetValue(WorkflowInstanceIdVariableProperty)); }
set { base.SetValue(WorkflowInstanceIdVariableProperty, value); }
}

// Then you need your own properties and getters setters

public staticDependencyProperty SourceStringProperty = 
System.Workflow.ComponentModel.DependencyProperty.Register
("SourceString",typeof(string),typeof(subStringAfterText));

public static DependencyPropertySearchStringProperty = 
System.Workflow.ComponentModel.DependencyProperty.Register
("SearchString",typeof(string),typeof(subStringAfterText));

public static DependencyPropertyFoundStringProperty = 
System.Workflow.ComponentModel.DependencyProperty.Register
("FoundString",typeof(string),typeof(subStringAfterText));

// Override the activity executionprotected 
// overrideActivityExecutionStatus Execute(ActivityExecutionContext executionContext)
{  
      //Set up the Event Logging object 
       eventLog =new EventLog("Workflow");
       eventLog.Source ="SharePoint Workflow";

       try
       {
        // Your Method
         getTheString();
       }
      finally
       {
        //Dispose of the Event Logging object 
         eventLog.Dispose();
       }

       //Indicate the activity has closed 
       returnActivityExecutionStatus.Closed;
}

Sign the application.

After that, you should sign the application using a strong key. Thus you can go to project properties and sign the application as follows:

image

image

Build your application and place the assembly to the GAC. In here, there are two GACs maintained with framework 4.0

  • C:\Windows\Microsoft.NET\assembly
  • C:\Windows\assembly

To work the assembly, this should be registered under “C:\Windows\assembly” if you use Target Framework as 4.0, then it will register the assembly in C:\Windows\Microsoft.NET\assembly. Therefore use target framework as 3.5

Register Assembly Under “C:\Windows\assembly”.

image

Make sure the target framework is 3.5 of the project. if so, it will get added to the location “C:\Windows\assembly”.

For that:

  • Go to the Visual Studio Command Prompt as administrator
  • Go to your bin/debug folder (place where the DLL is built)
  • Type gacutil /i getSubStringAfter.dll

If you did it correctly, you can see your assembly in the GAC. to view the GAC you can type “C:\Windows\assembly” in the Run Window.

image

Creating workflow template actions file.

Then you need to create .ACTIONS file. This is the file that is used by the SPD to get the workflow information. Therefore, create a file named getSubStringAfter.ACTIONS and put the following code there. You need to put correct public key token, namespace and class name.

image

 1: <?xml version="1.0" encoding="utf-8"?>
 2: <WorkflowInfo Language="en-us" >
 3:   <Actions Sequential="then" Parallel="and">
 4:     <Action Name="get the substring after the text"
 5:         ClassName="getSubStringAfter.subStringAfterText"
 6:         Assembly="getSubStringAfter, Version=1.0.0.0,
            Culture=neutral, PublicKeyToken=d98a44afbf8ccb86"
 7:         AppliesTo="all"
 8:         Category="Custom String Actions">
 9:       <RuleDesigner Sentence="Search %1 from %2 and store in %3.">
10:         <FieldBind Field="SearchString"
            Text="this text" DesignerType="stringbuilder" Id="1"/>
11:         <FieldBind Field="SourceString"
            Text="this address" Id="2" DesignerType="
            stringbuilder" />
12:         <FieldBind Field="FoundString"
            Text="variable" Id="3" DesignerType="ParameterNames" />
13:       </RuleDesigner>
14:       <Parameters>
15:         <Parameter Name="SearchString" Type="System.String,
            mscorlib" Direction="In" />
16:         <Parameter Name="SourceString" Type="System.String,
            mscorlib" Direction="In" />
17:         <Parameter Name="FoundString" Type="System.String,
            mscorlib" Direction="Out" />
18:       </Parameters>
19:     </Action>
20:   </Actions>
21: </WorkflowInfo>

Then copy this file and put into the following SharePoint server location C:\Program Files\Common Files\Microsoft Shared\Web Server Extensions\14\TEMPLATE\1033\Workflow.

Modify the Web Config

Then, you need to modify the web.config of your site. You need to put SafeControl and authorizedType in here. Also, please make sure public key token, namespace, version and class is correct, otherwise it will not work for an example it may not show in the SPD, or it will not get added to the workflow step though it showed in the SPD.

image

<authorizedTypeAssembly="getSubStringAfter, Version=1.0.0.0, Culture=neutral, 
PublicKeyToken=d98a44afbf8ccb86"Namespace="getSubStringAfter"TypeName="subStringAfterText"

Authorized="True"/><SafeControlAssembly="getSubStringAfter, Version=1.0.0.0, Culture=neutral, 
PublicKeyToken=d98a44afbf8ccb86"Namespace="getSubStringAfter"

TypeName="*"Safe="True"/>

Finally ..

  • Reset the IIS:
  • Now open the SPD:

    image

    image

I took nearly one week to do figure this out. Anyway, finally I got a solution. :-)

License

This article, along with any associated source code and files, is licensed under The Code Project Open License (CPOL)

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Melick
Sri Lanka Sri Lanka
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