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The official release of Office Developer Tools for Visual Studio 2012 (download) is packed with great features for Office and SharePoint developers to quickly and efficiently create first class apps and solutions for Office 2013 and 2010. In this post, I'd like to introduce improvements to SharePoint 2013 workflow development in Visual Studio 2012, as well as walk through creating a SharePoint workflow app (Document Approval and Routing Workflow).
Apps for SharePoint can be developed remotely, to target either SharePoint online or on-premises. You no longer have to develop directly on the SharePoint server! Furthermore, you can now publish workflow apps to both the Office Store and the App Catalog. Actually, you can create SharePoint 2013 workflows in solution projects too, but trust me, you’ll miss the remote development feature that is available only with app for SharePoint projects.
In SharePoint 2013, workflows are built on Windows Workflow Foundation in .NET Framework 4.5, targeting Workflow Manager 1.0. Check out this MSDN article for more on SharePoint 2013 workflow fundamentals.
The major differences in workflow development experience that you'll notice are:
For those of you who have used the preview versions of our tools, we hope that you will find workflow development with this release of Office Developer Tools to be easier and faster. Read on to find out about important changes and enhancements that affect existing workflow projects created using the Preview 2 version of our tools. We look forward to hearing more of your feedback!
This release of our tools is designed to work with SharePoint 2013 RTM and the March 2013 SharePoint Server 2013 Update. In fact, even if you don’t plan on doing any SharePoint development in the near future, you should still install the March update on your SharePoint farm. We don’t recommend that you stay on the SharePoint RTM bits. Of course, if you’re using SharePoint Online, there's no need to worry about updating your SharePoint software; it's always up to date. If you don’t have SharePoint Online you can get a free trial in just minutes; signup for Office 365 for developers, which includes SharePoint Online.
If you plan to develop SharePoint 2013 workflows (or if you will install custom developed workflows), be sure to install Workflow Manager on the SharePoint server, and don't forget to install the Cumulative Update for Workflow Manager 1.0 as well.
Workflow development works best with Visual Studio 2012 Update 2. So if you haven't already, first install Visual Studio 2012 RTM on your development machine, and then install Visual Studio 2012 Update 2 and .NET update KB2750149.
If you previously created SharePoint 2013 workflow projects with the Preview 2 release of Office Developer Tools, please note these important changes in the SharePoint 2013 platform and SDK with the March update.
Preview 2 workflow projects must be converted to be compatible with the official version of Office Developer Tools and the March SharePoint update. To make that process easier, use this CodePlex tool (SharePoint 2013 Workflow Converter for Visual Studio 2012) to convert your projects.
Let’s walk through creating an app for a common SharePoint workflow scenario, Document Approval and Routing, from scratch.
Note: If you want to change the workflow association type after the workflow has already been created, you can do so in the property grid (see Figure 8). (Workflow properties will appear in the property grid when the workflow item is highlighted in Solution Explorer.)
We’re now done creating a SharePoint Document Approval and Routing workflow from scratch. Go ahead, try it out for yourself, and let us know what you think of SharePoint 2013 workflow development with the Office Developer Tools for Visual Studio 2012!
Stay tuned for more online documentation and samples on SharePoint workflow development.
Program Manager – Office and SharePoint Tools Team