The other day I decided to start a power user best practice series. I started with site columns and now the next logical step is content types. I have found that many times experienced users don’t realise the importance of a properly setup content type. Because of this, they often are recreating the same data, having to redo the content types and in some cases blow them away and start over (both of which are a real pain if the CT is already being used). The intent of this post is to cover the best ways to create your content types.
So today I am starting a new series on SharePoint Best Practices. This may seem like a fairly simple topic but, I have come to learn that it is an important one. I am not talking about best practices in setting up and configuring SharePoint or how to best develop a solution in SharePoint. I am instead wanting to discuss best practices in your day to day usage of SharePoint. Too many times I have worked with experienced clients that have a decent knowledge of how to do things in SharePoint, but don’t think of the little things that make these best practices. This is where this series is coming from. Today I am going to cover site columns.
In my previous post on the different ways to determine the return message from a REST API call in a SPD workflow I covered using a test list and Fiddler to build your web call in a SharePoint Designer workflow. In this post I want to discuss manipulating REST API calls in SharePoint Designer 2013 workflows. Basically I want to show how you can determine what your read string is going to look like based on the values coming back from SharePoint.
Years ago when Microsoft released it’s latest version of SharePoint Designer, it came with a few enhancements that really made building workflows with Designer more robust and efficient. One efficiency enhancement was the ability to copy actions, steps and even entire stages within the same workflow or even between workflows. Microsoft also allowed for the ability to move back and forth between stages instead of continuing down a parallel path (called a state machine workflow). While the addition of state machine workflows to Designer (previously only available in Visual Studio workflows) is great; in my opinion the best (by a very small margin) addition to Designer is the ability to call web services. As your queries get more and more complex however, knowing what is coming back into the workflow can be filled with frustration as you try to determine how to get the data from the response content. While I it isn’t a new concept, I wanted to discuss handling REST responses in SharePoint Designer workflows. Or at least how I do it. The method I use is pretty straight forward and very easy to implement.
All too often when building workflows in SharePoint Designer there is a need to pause the workflow for a duration of time, or while waiting for values to change within SharePoint list\library. Microsoft has provided methods or actions within a workflow to accommodate this for quite some time. The method to accomplish while similar between versions has changed with the latest iteration of SharePoint Designer. For this reason I wanted to discuss waiting in a SharePoint Designer 2013 workflow today. I know that most are now moving to SharePoint 2016 or SharePoint online, but while Microsoft has released newer versions of SharePoint, it hasn’t released a new version of Designer since 2013. So whether you are on SharePoint 2013 or a later version, this post is relevant for the foreseeable future.