Nintex Reusable Workflow Templates
Today I would like to take a look at one of the most powerful, and least understood features within Nintex Workflow for SharePoint.
Many of you may have seen the 'Create Reusable Workflow Template' and 'Create Site Collection Reusable Workflow Template' options from your Nintex Action Menu and yet never really known what those are or how to use them.
Well from experience they are pretty awesome; so let's dive in and take a look.
First. Let's make sure that we have a good understanding of what the difference is between a 'Reusable Workflow Template' and a 'Site Collection Reusable Workflow Template' is.
Both of these are workflow templates that will be assigned to content type (we'll dig into that in a moment), however standard 'Reusable Workflow Templates' can only be used within the SharePoint site that they are created on. 'Site Collection Reusable Workflow Templates' on the other are only available on the top level site and they can be utilized on any of the sub-sites within that site collection.
Alright, now let's take a look at how you can build and use these workflow templates.
Like most things in Nintex, the creation of one of the templates is pretty straight forward. I am going to create a Site Collection Reusable Template, so that I can better show off the power of these templates later, but the standard reusable template will be built in much the same way.
First thing is of course giving the template a title (this will not be the title of your workflow, that will be added later), and selecting the associated content type.
Now this is where people often get confused during the design of these templates and wonder "why does this need to be associated with a content type?"
This is also the piece that makes these reusable workflow templates so awesome.
I am going to jump away from the workflow designer for just a moment and show you the content type we're going to be using.
This is my approval content type that I've built, and it used on all of my approval lists across this Site collection. As you can see it's not super complex, but it has the information I need to get from my approvers.
Alright so back here in my workflow designer, I will go ahead and select my Approval Content Type from the drop down and then select Save. Now what I want to do is build out a workflow that is going to run against these approval lists.
With that, I will go ahead and publish this workflow template.
Now, instead of having to build this same workflow on each of those approval lists, I just have to go and add this workflow, regardless of the site that they're on within this site collection.
I'll just select the workflow here and give it a name…I also want this to run on item creation…then we'll save it.
And we'll do the same thing here…
Now, when I create an item on either of these lists...
The workflow will start, create that approval task, and carry on its way.
So awesome we've created a workflow in two places at once, now here comes the best part.
Say I want to make a change to my approval process. I need to know on both of these lists when this process was finished.
I actually already have a Process Finished column here, I just don't have anything that's being pushed to it yet…and now, because I used a reusable workflow template, instead of having to go and make changes to the workflows on both lists, I just need to make a change to the template.
So here at the bottom, I will go ahead and add an Update Item action, and then configure it to update that Process Finished column. Now this template *knows* that column exists, because it's associated with the Content Type being used on those lists. If I wanted to go and add more fields to the lists, I could just update the Content Type and it would automatically update the lists, and give me the option to interact with that field here in the workflow designer.
Now that we've made our update to the design, let's publish the template…….
And now I'll create an item on my top level approval list…..Approve the task….And we can see that the change to the workflow was pushed do this list, and the Process Finished column has now been populated.
I hope that gives you a sense of how awesome the power of reusable workflow templates is here with Nintex Workflow. If you have any questions please feel free to leave them in the comments below, or shoot me a message over on twitter at workingjonathan. I want to thank you for watching, and as always, keep on automating.