If you create a lot of custom workflows for your SharePoint implementation, but are frustrated by the low number of workflow activities available out of the box, SharePoint Solutions (newssite) has a new product available that you will be interested in looking at.

Workflow is Essential

You probably deal with a number of documents and other related information as part of your business processes. Any opportunity to automate activities related to dealing with those documents is almost a must-have. Which is why organizations implement workflow processes in platforms like SharePoint.

SharePoint Designer 2010 does have a workflow designer and out of the box offers around 37 different activities you can add to the workflow. But it doesn't have everything. For a power user, this is a pain, because needing something additional means getting a developer involved to create the activity and add it to SharePoint Designer for them to use. That takes time, and it takes money.

Supporting the SharePoint Power User

SharePoint Solutions is offering Workflow Essentials, a new package of additional workflow activities that may ease this pain you have. Workflow Essentials adds an additional 24 workflow activities to SharePoint Designer -- activities they say are commonly used. A couple of examples:

  • "Loop Through List Items” workflow activity
  • “Start Another Workflow” activity
  • “Create a SharePoint Site” workflow activity
  • “Grant Permission on an Item” workflow activity
  • “Add a User to a SharePoint Group” workflow activity

You can see the full list of activities, along with 2 new conditions: "Is Role Assigned to User?" and "Is User a Member of SharePoint Group".

When installed, the new activities and conditions show up in the same location as the out of the box activities and conditions, no need to learn additional steps to use them.

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SharePoint Designer 2010

You can trial the new Workflow Essentials for SharePoint 2010 for 30 days, but once the trial period runs out, you are looking at US$ 1190 per front-end web server (this includes a mandatory one year support agreement). The license allows for unlimited use of the activities, so if you do create a number of custom workflows, the price isn't too bad.