Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Adding custom activity to SharePoint designer Part – 1

Hi All,

This is one of the common questions being asked many times, that it is okay that we can develop some nice custom activity and then give it a try to use in different projects and also can give to other developer to work on it.

However what about to all designers who work in SharePoint designing team and know how to work with the workflow? Well, for them we have good news. You can create your own custom activity in the same way we saw in creating custom activities series. The fun part is you can modify the same activity and make that activity available for SharePoint designer.

Well before digging down in to exploring this stuff, let us spend some time understanding how SharePoint designer workflow actually works with activities and actions with SharePoint server.

All activities that you can see in SharePoint Designer come from one DLL named “Microsoft.SharePoint.WorkflowActions.dll”. There is one .ACTIONS file sitting under template folder that actually does the job for you.

This file is responsive for displaying all activities and also responsible for binding parameters to properties for the activities.

All we have to do is create a custom activity in the same way we have created earlier and then one more important stuff to do is create one .ACTIONS file so that SharePoint designer can understand that sentence written in .ACTIONS file and can display our activity in SPD. Also we need to add the assembly of custom activity to GAC by giving a strong name. Final step is to register that activity as AuthorizedType under web.config for the web application we are going to use it for.

We will cover all actions in part 2. Part 1 was more of informative about custom activity with SharePoint Designer.

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