Tools for configuring workflows

This topic applies to ArcEditor and ArcInfo only.

Possibly the most important concept of a job's components is its workflow. This is the key to streamlining and standardizing the steps required to carry out a task.

Steps in the workflow can be configured either to have logic associated with them or to be manual/placeholder steps. Steps with logic can call either a custom class, an executable, or one of the preprogrammed steps such as asking a question or launching a URL. See Step Types for more details.

Based on the result of a step, the workflow can be automatically or manually routed down a specific path. For example, if a step determines that the next step is not necessary in this particular job, you can bypass the step by routing the workflow around it. This can be seen at the top of the diagram below.

Types of workflows supported include

Workflow Editor
Design workflows for your teams by dragging and dropping the activities necessary to complete the work onto the canvas. Then link the steps together with paths.

Tools for configuring a Workflows

The left window contains steps categorized. The step type categories are

To add a step, drag and drop the item into the workflow. To dynamically filter the steps to show only the ones of interest, type a key word or words into the filter box.

Step Types list

To connect the steps, select the Add Path tool and drag a line between the steps. See below for path properties.

Along the top of the workflow window are several tools to manipulate and design the workflow.

Align and Distribution tools

Use these tools to align and distribute workflow steps evenly on the Workflows dialog box.

Color Tools

These tools allow you to change the color of workflow steps, paths, and annotations

Zoom tools

Use these tools to navigate the workflow diagram.

Step Properties

Step Properties

With the step properties, you can control how the step will be executed. There is a subtle distinction here between what the step will do (determined by the step type execution) and how the step behaves as part of the workflow (determined by the step properties).

  1. Step Properties
    • Description—A description of what the step execution is. This is read-only in the step properties and is set in the description of the Step Type.
    • Assignment—The assignment determines who can execute the step. If left unassigned, the job assignment determines who can execute. The assignment setting used in conjunction with the Auto assign job based on step assignment system setting will automatically reassign the job to the specified user or group.
    • Proceeds to the next step after execution—The step is automatically checked off or marked as complete when it completes.
    • Step can be skipped—The user can skip or mark off this step without executing. Any step with this option unmarked cannot be checked off until executed at least once.
  2. Detailed Step Properties
    • Automatically executes when reached—When the workflow is run in automatic (or unattended mode), any step marked as autorun is automatically executed when reached. To automatically execute steps in your workflows, this setting has to be checked on two or more consecutive steps. Examples of when to use this is include checking if a version exists, creating a version, and editing data. These three steps can be set to automatically execute so that the user does not have to click run on each step; it simply takes them to ArcMap, and their map layers are coming from the appropriate version.
    • Can start parallel execution—When all options leading from a step are equal (have the same return code), the active step will spawn into potentially multiple active steps that can be carried out by multiple people, if desired.
    • Starts process asynchronously—The step is run asynchronously. Control of the Workflow Manager application returns immediately without waiting for the step to complete. Return values are ignored.
    • Execution Properties—These are read-only properties that describe the execution of the step type this step is linked to.
    • Status—Use these properties to update job status information.
      • Status—If the Use step status assignment system setting is used, the job's status will be updated to match this value when the step is reached.
      • % Complete—When the step is marked complete in the workflow, the job's percentage of completion will be updated to match this value.

Path properties

If a path is selected when this tool is executed, the following Path Properties dialog box appears:

Path Props

  • Path name—Name used to identify the route that this path describes. It would usually describe the result of the preceding step and annotates the workflow diagram.
  • Has Conditional Return Codes—If this option is checked, this route will only be taken if the result of the preceding step meets a certain criterion.
  • Conditional Return Codes—Defines the criteria that determines whether the execution of the job will follow down this path. Multiple return codes can be entered here.

Published 6/7/2010