A Click on View from the SharePoint Designer 2013 Ribbon Serves Up a Graphical Representation of Workflows

As we noted in an earlier post to this blog, SharePoint Designer 2013 Presents Important Changes from SharePoint Designer 2010, Design View and Split View have been removed from SharePoint Designer 2013.

All of the workflow development and configuration that we provide in our video, SharePoint Designer 2013 Workflow Enhancements are built with the Code View included with SharePoint Designer 2013. Nevertheless, as Asif Rehmani notes in the last half minute of this video, SharePoint Designer 2013 includes a “Views” button on the ribbon. When a user clicks on this “Views” button a graphical representation of a complete workflow is presented. Therefore, users hoping for a graphical method of working with workflows are provided with an alternative in this, the latest version of SharePoint Designer for 2013.

The “Views” feature is actually obtained from Microsoft Visio. As such, all of the shapes that Visio offers, which can all be highly useful as users of SharePoint Designer 2013 search for symbols to represent various steps within workflows, are available. As we note in our demonstration, “View” actually provides the user with a “visual view” of the workflow.

In our opinion, a visual representation of a process is often much more useful for users looking to bridge the gap between programming and no-code development alternatives. As well, empowering users to avail of native Visio features from within SharePoint Designer 2013 renders the platform into a more attractive alternative for business analysts, project managers, etc. from Line of Business (LOB) groups who ought to be included in the no-code development process.

Finally, it will likely be easier for users with a lot of familiarity with SharePoint Designer, but substantially less experience with Visio to make the transition between the tools, as required as they develop familiarity with this “View” feature of SharePoint Designer 2013. It should be noted that SharePoint Designer 2013 is “fully bidirectional” with Visio. In other words, users can either opt to export workflows to Visio, or to import workflows from Visio. Therefore, an opportunity exists to leverage the capabilities of either tools, or, as appropriate, both, as required as workflows are developed.

As we noted in the above mentioned earlier post to this blog, we think that including LOB users in the no-code development picture via a greater utility for Visio within the SharePoint workflow “realm” is a big step forward for SharePoint 2013. This step should increase the attractiveness of the platform beyond even the high level of popularity that it enjoys today across enterprise organizations and comparably sized groups in the public and not-for-profit sectors.

© Rehmani Consulting, Inc. & Ira Michael Blonder, 2013 All Rights Reserved

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