Thursday, July 19, 2007

Shaun Leisegang, K2 principal technical specialist, gave a webcast just now about how K2 blackpearl integrates with several Microsoft technologies. He showed how K2 workflows can be built and hosted in MOSS 2007, in Visual Studio, and in Visio. Some of the things I learned (in no particular order):
  • Environment variables make it easy to transition workflows between environments without modifying any code;
  • The updated K2 Tasks Web Part has a batch functionality allowing a user to select and approve or disapprove multiple tasks at once. The web part also has a new quick search that helps filter the lists of tasks, and exposes task actions right on the web part for redirecting (reassigning) tasks, delegating them, or performing some other action.
  • The Visio integration allows a user to import existing K2 workflows into Visio...Once a workflow has been chosen from the file system, it pulls in all the workflow elements into the Visio environment. At this point those elements are "orphan activities" but a user can select an object on the Visio page, and assign one of the orphan activities to it, create a new activity, or make it the "start" activity. This process is essentially a mapping between the objects on the Visio pages and the K2 workflows.

Shaun showed how easy it was to add things like email disclaimers to workflow templates. Since K2 is built on top of Windows Workflow Foundation (WF) each of the workflow activities can have custom code.

Shaun also referred to two K2 templates for SharePoint user and document management which help with provisioning and permissions, although these weren't demonstrated. At the end of the presentation one of the questions was about these: they were described as
"the SharePoint Document Event template to handle the movement and manipulation of documents and the SharePoint Users Manager event template to handle MOSS security permissions". Both of these sound quite useful as they are frequently requested by clients.

Another attendee asked about Oracle integration. Shaun stated that templates to connect to Oracle have been developed and K2 "also supports the Microsoft BizTalk 2006...adapters which support Oracle".

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