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SharePoint 2010 : Reviewing the Workflow-Related Settings in Central Administration and Site Settings

3/26/2011 6:31:16 PM
Workflows do not have a service application they rely on because they are built on the Windows Workflow Foundation, but there are several areas where the farm administrator can find tools related to workflow configuration.

To begin with, each web application has workflow-related settings that should be reviewed. Follow these steps to review the workflow settings for a web application:

1.
Click the Application Management link from the Central Administration home page, and then click Manage Web Applications.

2.
Select the web application of interest (for example, SharePoint – 80), so that the row is highlighted, and click General Settings on the Web Applications tab on the Ribbon. Select Workflow, and the Workflow Settings window will open.

3.
Review the settings and make sure they meet the organization’s standards. User-defined workflows are created in tools such as Designer 2010 or Visual Studio 2010, so the farm administrator needs to decide whether to allow the use of these tools in the specific web application. The other two options are to Alert Internal Users Who Do Not Have Site Access When They Are Assigned a Workflow Task (Yes/No) and Allow External Users to Participate in Workflow by Sending Them a Copy of the Document (Yes/No). The organization should decide on standards for these settings to ensure that the security of the site isn’t violated by enabling these options.

Note

If nonsite members are to be included in workflows, each of those users needs a minimum of contribute-level permissions to the task list that is used by the workflow. Otherwise, they won’t be able to interact with the tasks that are assigned to them, limiting the usefulness of the workflow.

4.
Click OK after any required changes have been made.

Note

PowerShell cmdlets are available to complete these tasks: Get-SPWorkflowConfig returns workflow settings for the specified web application, and Set-SPWorkflowConfig configures the workflow settings for the specified web application.

There are also workflow-related jobs that can be found by clicking the Monitoring link from the Central Administration site, and then clicking Review Job Definitions. These are as follows:

  • Bulk Workflow Task Processing— This job processes bulk workflow tasks, and by default is set to occur once a day.

  • Workflow— This job processes workflow events and by default is set to occur every 5 minutes.

  • Workflow Auto Cleanup— By default, set to occur every 15 minutes. This deletes tasks and workflow instances that have been marked complete longer than the expiration specified in the workflow association.

  • Workflow Failover— By default, set to occur every 15 minutes. This processes events for workflows that have failed and are marked to be retried.

Reviewing the Site Settings Tools for Workflows

A quick place for a site collection administrator to check on which workflows are enabled is from the Site Settings page, in the Site Administration section, and clicking the link for Workflows. Note that this link isn’t available for site owners, however. The site collection administrator can then see which workflows are available for use on the site. Figure 1 shows the Workflows page, where a number of workflows on a SharePoint Server 2010 Enterprise site collection have been enabled.

Figure 1. Workflows page from Site Settings.

Note

The Schedule Web Analytics Alerts and Schedule Web Analytics Reports are enabled or disabled by the site collection feature Advanced Web Analytics. These are not accessible to end users, but are used to compile management reports.


The Site Collection Features link should be accessed to make change to the workflows that will be available to the user community. A general best practice is to not enable the SharePoint 2007 workflows unless there is a specific need for them (for example, to support workflows that are migrated in various states of completion from a SharePoint 2007 environment, or to allow SharePoint 2007 workflow users to transition to the new SharePoint 2010 workflows gradually). Likewise, the Publishing Approval workflow should be enabled only in sites where Content Approval is going to be used in document libraries (this is turned on from Document Library Settings, Versioning Settings page). This workflow will then trigger when documents are saved as major versions in document libraries with Content Approval enabled, which can annoy end users if they don’t see specific value in it and are not trained in the process.

Next check the Workflow Settings link to see whether there are existing workflows associated with the site collection and remove any that aren’t desirable.

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