Skip navigation
All Places > Getting Started > Blog
1 2 3 Previous Next

Getting Started

435 posts

You can download the Nintex Form, Workflow and List template here.  

 

Introduction  

This blog post is based Nintex Documentation about how we can leverage DocuSign actions in our Nintex Workflow. The Nintex connector for DocuSign helps customers with greater ability to drive automation by incorporating e-Signatures capabilities in our Nintex Workflow.

With easy to use Nintex Drag drop designer, Office 365 customers can use configurable DocuSign actions. Nintex Connector for DocuSign for Office 365 has following actions:

  1. DocuSign download document
  2. DocuSign populate template
  3. DocuSign retrieve envelope status
  4. DocuSign send document
  5. DocuSign send envelope


Using the workflow actions included with the DocuSign Connector pack, you can send documents in DocuSign envelopes, retrieve the status of DocuSign envelopes, and download documents from DocuSign envelopes.

Prerequisites

  • Active Office 365 Subscription with SharePoint Online.
  • Trail or Nintex Subscription for Office 365.
  • You should have to DocuSign sandbox (developer) or 30-day trail account.


Step by Step

 

 

  • Create and configure the sample document


You create a sample Word Document named SampleNDA.docx. Later use it to specific Document Library in SharePoint. In my case I uploaded to Shared Document/SampleNDA.docx

  • Provision a custom list 

    Add two columns as follows: 

    Attendee Name, Single line of text, Require
    Attendee Email, Single line of text, Not Required



  • Configure custom list workflow

    Once the sample list workflow is created, you need to add workflow actions to construct a workflow that performs the following five basic tasks. Perform the procedures for each basic task, in the order listed, to configure the sample list workflow:

      Starting the workflow

      This task updates the workflow status for the attendee and sets workflow variables used by the sample list workflow.


      Sending the document

      This task uses the DocuSign send document workflow action to send the document to the attendee, so the attendee can use DocuSign to review and respond to the request.

      Polling envelope status

      This task uses the DocuSign retrieve envelope status workflow action to poll the status of the DocuSign envelope that contains the document to be reviewed by the attendee. Once the attendee has reviewed and responded to the request, the workflow updates the workflow status and responds based on the state of the DocuSign envelope.

      Downloading the signed document

      This task is performed only if the attendee has successfully signed the document in DocuSign. At this point, the sample list workflow downloads and attaches the signed document to the current item in the sample list.


      Deleting the attendee

      This task is performed only if the attendee declined to sign the sample document, or if the sender voided the DocuSign envelope that contained the document. At this point, the current item in the sample list is deleted.


    Starting the workflow 

    Set up a few TEXT workflow variables as follows:


    Status

    Message

    AuthorizingUser

    EnvelopeId

    DocumentToSendURL

    FileName

     

    We need 3 Workflow Variables as shown below. 

     

    Add a new Set Workflow Status workflow action to the design canvas, and configure it so that the value of Status is set to "Started".



    a) AuthorizingUser:
    Add a new Set Workflow Variable workflow action to the design canvas, and configure it so that it sets the value of the AuthorizingUser workflow variable to the email address of an appropriate authorizing user in DocuSign.

    Note: AuthorizingUser account MUST be on DocuSign account.

     

    b) DocumentToSendURL: Add a new Set Workflow Variable workflow action to the design canvas, and configure it so that it sets the value of the DocumentToSendURL workflow variable to the relative URL of the sample document to be sent by the workflow.
    For example, if you uploaded the sample document to the Documents section of your team site, the relative URL should resemble the following example: /Shared%20Documents/SampleNDA.docx

     

     

     c) FileName: Add a new Set Workflow Variable workflow action to the design canvas, and configure it so that it sets the value of the FileName workflow variable to NDA.docx.











    • Sending the document


      In this DocuSign action, need to configure a couple of items:

      Authorizing User: this is one of the most important part as you may get Workflow Suspended error if it’s not configured properly.

      You set the Workflow Variable which you have defined earlier.

      Content to Sign:  In this step, you can specify site relative URL to the document in a document library. In our example is Sample Documents/SampleNDA.docx and you set the Workflow variable to DocumentToSendURL.

      File Name:
      Set the Workflow Variable to FileName. 

      Recipient email:
      You use List lookup and set Attendee Email which a part of List.

      Recipient name:  Set the current item for the Attendee Name.

      Email subject and message:
      specific a descriptive subject and message. 

      Envelop ID:
      Set the Envelop ID. 



       

    • Polling envelop status

      In this DocuSign action, the workflow uses the DocuSign retrieve envelope status workflow action to poll, once per minute, the status of the DocuSign envelope that contains the document that was sent earlier in the workflow, as part of the previous task. 


      Therefore, you need to drag drop Loop with Condition action FIRST and configure it.

      Expression: You set the Workflow Variable “Status” which is defined earlier and use “In Progress” 





      Next, Workflow action will be Pause for Duration and configure it to 2 minutes.






      Now, you need to configure the DocuSign Retrieve Envelop Status and you can use this configuration as shown below:





      For troubleshooting purposes, you can log the Envelope ID and DocuSign Status.

      Downloading the signed document


      In this task, the status of the DocuSign envelope that contains the sample document for the attendee has been set to a status code other than "In Process", so the workflow uses a Switch case to check for one of the following status codes:

      Completed - The envelope has been completed by the recipient.

      Declined - The envelope has been declined for signing by the recipient.

      Voided - The envelope has been voided by the sender.






      The workflow uses the DocuSign download document workflow action to download the signed document and attach it to the current item in the sample list and ends the workflow.

      The DocuSign download document workflow action downloads a document from a DocuSign envelope as either an attachment for the current item in a list or library, or as a server relative URL to a document library within the current site.





      You can configure other switch cases as well

    • Walk through the solution

      Assume, your organization (Contoso INC) wants to send the NDA to a service provider/vendor who does not have Office 365 account. Let name the service provider John Smith who has Gmail Account. He does NOT require DocuSign account either.   

      You fill the form and Submit





      After few seconds, the workflow status show “Sending”


      The workflow history will display all your Log entries. These are very useful for troubleshooting. 



      Now, let’s switch and check how John Smith will receive this NDA document in his Gmail account. He will receive a “Review Document” button to review the NDA.




      Once John clicks on Review button, he will be redirected to DocuSign site. He has to read and agree on Electronic Record and Signature Disclosure clause and click on Continue button        



      He reads the NDA document and at the end he has option put his digital Signature as shown:



      Later he signs digitally and click on Finish button



      Next, screen asks if John wants to use DocuSign for 30-days trail. He can simply click on No Thanks option.   

      The document is completed and John will get a digitized copy in PDF format with his signature in his Gmail account.





      Contoso INC will receive an email with digitized copy in PDF format with John’s digital signature.

      After a few minutes, the workflow will be completed as well and able to view the log history.



      You can view the document in the Attachment field


      and attached field has John’s signature.


      I hope this blog post is useful for you.   

      You can download the Nintex Form, Workflow and List template here.  

    If there was one piece of advice I could give you, it would be to wear sunscreen.  If there were two pieces of advice, it would be to wear sunscreen and come to xchange 2018.  You'll need that sunscreen in San Diego!  Think about all the Nintex-related things you do throughout the year: ask questions, attend user groups and other related conferences, attend webex updates and place support calls.  Lots of stuff right?  Well think of all that crammed into a couple of days.  That's what xchange is all about.

     

    I've attended the two previous Nintex conferences and come away from both full of motivation, ideas and a quest to make the world a better place through digital transformation.

     

    Let me start by telling you about one thing that isn't officially promoted: fun, fun and more fun!  Each day is jam packed with interesting topics that you will lean so much from but that's only half the equation as far as I'm concerned.  The second half is to make those important connections inside the Nintex community.  You will meet Nintex staff, vTEs like me, partners and other customers.  Each person has a unique perspective on how Nintex can help them and what is a better way to share these stories than over a beer or a wine?  Last year us fellow vTEs got together and participated in an Escape Room challenge.

     

    We come from different parts of the world so that evening was the first time many of us got to meet in person.  It was very interesting watching how the different personalities interacted together.  I can't wait to see my new buddies again.

     

    The speakers and topics have been released, and the line-up, once again, is fantastic.  Assuming no clashes, here's are my must see sessions for my specific interests:

     

    Customer Success: How Naylor Love Builds a Safer Workplace

    I have to attend this one because I'm co-presenting with Lee Harris!  If you want to hear about construction, cranes, avoiding people getting squashed by cranes, integration with lots of systems then come along to this.

     

    A Digital Transformation Journey at Hawke's Bay Regional Council

    Fellow New Zealander kaylie Hammond will be attending her first xchange conference and has stepped up right away to show what's been happening at the HBRC.  It's always wonderful to hear how they have progressed each year.

     

    Analysing Your Workflows with Nintex Hawkeye

    Hawkeye is new for lots of us.  We know Beacons transmit data to Hawkeye but what should we transmit? What do we do with it when it arrives there? How do we manipulate it?  This session is going to be very useful!

     

    Creative Xtensions in NIntex for Office 365 and Nintex Workflow Cloud

    IoT is going off.  I see Nintex as the glue that is going to tie multitudes of systems/devices together and want to be at the forefront of this revolution.

     

    Customer Success: Digitizing the Transport Industry with Workflow and Content Automation

    Kimberley Morrison is very passionate about Nintex and uses it a lot. I'm really keen to hear from someone who uses Nintex pretty much every day.

     

    Do This -- Don't Do that: Best and Worst Practices for Workflow, Form and Overall Solution Design

    Mike Fitzmaurice is one of the masters.  He has YEARS of experience.  You never want to miss a Fitz session.  I guarantee you will learn something new - no matter how experienced you are.

     

    Migrate & Deploy - How to Copy and Move Your Workflows and Forms

    I speak to more and more organisations migrating from on-prem to o365.  It's not that easy but it's certainly made easier when you have the experience and tool set of Sharegate behind you.

     

    Nintex Mobile and Mobile App Studio Deep Dive

    Andrew is the most experienced Nintex professional I know.  His session on mobile last year was highly informative and entertaining.  I expect exactly the same this year.  No pressure Andrew Glasser!

     

    Practical Nintex Governance

    In my time, I've seen a few rogue workflows.  They do the same thing but have been developed by two different people from two different parts of the business.  Martin Harris always approaches his projects with a practical yet efficient style.  Can't wait to learn from him in this session.

     

    Save Time and Money with Reusability

    Isn't the rule of IT buy before you build. Reuse before you build?  Well Chris Ellis is going to wear a kilt and show us how to do this across all the Nintex products.

     

    Ten Years of Tears, Why Didn't I get DocGen Sooner?

    Rhia Wieclawek is one of the first people to adopt DocGen when it was announced for the Nintex platform. I'm really looking forward to her insights of how she has used it to produce documents that we've never been able to produce before.

     

    Xtending Nintex Workflow Cloud with Azure Functions

    I often get asked shall we use Flow or Nintex or PowerApps or Nintex.  That's not the right question, it should be "How can I leverage the tools available to me to get the best result?"  Our San Diego resident Tom Castiglia will show us how Nintex and Azure Functions work together in perfect harmony.

     

     

    Having written these down, there were many sessions that I feel bad for not mentioning because they look awesome.  At the same time, it would be a bit pointless listing every session.  It is going to be difficult to choose when the timetable is released!

     

    I hope you can join the conference - register here if you can.  Good luck for choosing what sessions you want to attend.  Hint: come to mine and don't forget the sunscreen 

     

    I found that in our demo Microsoft 365 tenant, there were Nintex updates for Nintex Form and Nintex Workflow as shown:

    Nintex Workflow for Office 365 (Version: 1.0.4.0)




    Nintex Form for Office 365 (Version: 1.2.4.1)  



    But I got some hiccups while updating Nintex Apps for Office 365. So, let me give a step by step guide to update Nintex Apps.    

    Step 1 

    Issue: Nintex Forms for Office 365 within SharePoint Online, there is no option update from SharePoint Online Store

    Follow this URL (Dated: Aug 8, 2017)

    Step 2:

    Sign in your Office 365 credentials and Nintex Form will be updated.  

    Step 3:

    Even after Nintex Form App update, it will still show, “An update for this app is available”.

    Next, click on Nintex Form App. 

    Step 4:

    This time around you will able to get the button, GET IT as shown:



    Follow this URL  (Dated:  29, Feb 2016)
    https://community.nintex.com/docs/DOC-3493    

    Step 5:
    In few minutes, Nintex Forms and Nintex Workflow Apps will be updated.



    The steps may wary for different Office 365 tenants a bit, this is overall process may help you.   

     

    Nintex Products used for customer: 

    • Nintex Form 
    • Nintex Workflow 
    • Power BI reports backed by Nintex Form. 

     

     


    BUSINESS SITUATION:

    Before using the Nintex Workflow Platform, Customer’s HUMAN RESOURCES uses MANUAL PROCESSES to track EMPLOYEE MANPOWER, DEMOGRAPHY, DIVERSITY and LEARNING & DEVELOPMENT for their regional Human Resources departments. As a result, they were OVERWHELMED WITH EMAILS and the overall human resource department BUSINESS PRODUCTIVITY WAS IMPACTED SIGNIFICANTLY.     

    SOLUTION:

    With the use of Office 365 and Nintex Workflow & Nintex Forms, Nintex Partner helped customer to develop and create a more efficient system to automate their Nintex form and Nintex workflow.


    1. Customers had business rules and validations such as employee productivity, number of sick leaves, employee training computations, budget etc. for HR department across all the geolocations. NINTEX FORMS and customized TASK FORMS were used for all the CALCULATIONS, VALIDATIONS and FORMULAS.

    2. Nintex Partner implemented a NINTEX WORKFLOW STATE MACHINE is used for scalability and future usage. The workflow is SIMPLE type but VERY WELL DOCUMENTED. The workflow is used by regional STAFF, MANAGERS and global MANAGEMENT.

    The primary use for the human resource department is to generate REPORTS and DASHBOARDS for their regional branches. The GLOBAL HUMAN RESOURCES DEPARTMENT could view their DASHBOARDS and KPIs for each region worldwide using MICROSOFT POWER BI integrated with Nintex Form. 

    Solution Design for the customer with screenshots. 

     

    Nintex Form: 


    Power BI Reports backed by Nintex Form:

     

    Power BI Reports

    Power BI Reports

    Power BI Reports

    Power BI Reports

    Power BI Reports

    Power BI Reports

    Power BI Reports



    Nintex Products used for customer: 

    • Nintex Form 
    • Nintex Workflow 
    • Nintex Mobile / App Studio 
    • Nintex Hawkeye 

     


    BUSINESS SITUATION

    Client embarked on Office 365 and engaged a service provider to design their Nintex form and Nintex workflows. Nintex form & Nintex workflow started behaving in an under-optimal manner DUE TO PERFORMANCE ISSUES. The system had BECOME UNSTABLE and started throwing cryptic errors. The primary reason was due to POOR APPLICATION ARCHITECTURE and DESIGN. SharePoint lists involved in the design contained more than 200 columns and had 8 workflows which were sequential in nature, not streamlined and simplified.  


    SOLUTION:

    NINTEX Partner proceed to PROPOSE A NEW DESIGN with streamlined workflow processes.  The new design had a main list with FEWER COLUMNS and majority fields were kept within the Nintex form which REDUCED THE NINTEX FORM LOAD.


    A single NINTEX WORKFLOW was used the state machine for IMPROVED MAINTENANCE of a workflow in the FUTURE. The workflow is COMPLEX type but VERY WELL DOCUMENTED.

    Customer had a requirement to check if system could find any SUSPENDED/FAILED WORKFLOWS. The system should email the system owner a list of all suspended workflows. NINTEX Partner made CUSTOM POWERSHELL SCRIPT with NINTEX APIs that sends a weekly email to the system owner.

    Client also used NINTEX HAWKEYE to gain insights into their workflow usage, user’s PARTICIPATION and view how MANY PEOPLE were using Nintex. It is particularly important for them as they have many branches worldwide and they can find bottlenecks for specific regions. 

     

     

    Solution Design for the customer with screenshots. 

     

     

    Nintex Form: 

     

    Nintex Workflow: 

     

    Nintex Workflow

     


    Nintex Mobile / App Studio: 
     

     


     

    Nintex Mobile

     

     

    Nintex Mobile

    This is something that threw me for a loop for longer than I care to admit. When you are updating a Word doc to use with content controls that are updated from a Nintex workflow, you cannot just save the document with the "Save" icon in the toolbar depicted in the screenshot below:

     

    You must use the File - Save As method and be sure to navigate to the library where the document is stored and overwrite the existing Word doc there.

     

     

    This may seem elementary to some, but I'd like to document it to save others some trouble.

    Seems like only yesterday it was February 2017, and I was in New Orleans at InspireX meeting everyone, and giving my very first conference presentation on governance. Now here we are, November already, and I'm eagerly starting the countdown to XChange 2018. 

     

    On the fence as to whether or not you should go? Here are my top 3 reasons why it's a valuable trip:

     

    3)  The Experts Lounge

     

    Imagine this: a huge, ballroom-esque room, full of round tables, with 10 seats each. Each table has a card, much like at a wedding, denoting who is to sit there -- however, this is denoting the type of expertise available at each table. Document Generation. Advanced Workflows. Hawkeye. Drawloop. Every topic is covered, and there is a group of people there discussing the ins and outs of each. Ever had a question and wanted a Nintex expert to answer it to your face? This is the spot.

     

    2)  Learn About All Nintex Offerings

     

    Wonder if you're missing out on something Nintex has to offer because you aren't always up to date on the latest and greatest? Get a crash course in everything available to you just by walking through the corridors at Xchange! New technologies and plans are unveiled, and all products are showcased. Sessions are so varied that you can come in as an elite veteran or a Nintex newbie and find a mitful of talks to attend that are perfect for your level of learning. Last year, I went from a session explaining how to program and create my own actions, to a session about what you can find in the community & how to browse it successfully!

     

    1)  A Wealth of Inspiration

     

    Leaving the conference last year, I had lists and lists of things I wanted to learn more about and achieve over the course of the next year - things to improve the work I was doing, to assist my company's efficiency, and to further contribute to our corporate goals. Things I'd never even considered before, that I'd had the opportunity to see in action. Things I'd previously been scared of trying, that I now felt confident I could attack and conquer. 

     

     

    These are my top three reasons for going to the conference in terms of what I can gain as a professional person at the con - but - let's be honest here; my true #1 reason to go is the fantastic friends I've made. Anywhere I go, anywhere I speak, I know there's a Nintex friend among them. This is a great bunch of folks.

     

     

    CLICK HERE to register now and save!

    Each month we name ten people to an "honor roll" in the community to highlight their contributions and encourage you to connect with them.

     

    Congrats to the Nintex Connect members below - and THANK YOU for your contributions!

     

    Everyone below has made helpful contributions to the community in the past month. I'll shout out in particular to Technical Evangelist Cosima von Kries, Product Manager Raymond Cabral and virtual Technical Evangelist Caroline Jung who've written for the Nintex Product Blog or blogged elsewhere in the community.  

     

    I've noticed everyone else on the list sharing their knowledge, which is what community is all about.

     

    I encourage everyone to "follow" each of them. Here's how: Just hover over their names below and then click "follow" in the card that pops up, or visit their profile pages and click "follow" next to their name in the banner.

     

    Why do this?  Because following puts their activity in the news stream of your choosing and exposes you to how leading community members are engaging in Nintex Connect.  You'll see what content they're creating, and responding to.  It's a great way to enrich your community experience.

     

    This month's Honor Roll members to follow:

     

     

    honor roll big

     

    Honor Roll members will get this badge in their reputation center, along with 100 points.

     

    This is not an undemocratic process!  If you'd like to nominate someone for the honor roll next month, post their name below and tell us why you think they should have a bigger following!

    Dear all:

    It's a simple workaround to assign a temporary "unique" value to an element before create it in the list.

     

    When you are creating an new element using Nintex Forms, you don't have the "ID" value until you "save" the element the first time.

     

    Imagine you want to link some child list elements before save the parent element the first time. You need the parent element "primary key" to link with the child, commonly the "ID"

    (Check Forms: Parent / Child structure using List view Control to know how to link a parent element with a child elements in a separate list)

     

    I don't know how to generate a "unique value" into Nintex Forms in a easy way , so the workaround could be to generate a temporary "ID" as a "fake unique value"   to assign to the new child items.

     

    Then, when you save the parent element and run the workflow, it could re-assign the "ID" just created to the child elements,  getting the child list items in a collection variable, looking for the elements with the "fake unique value", and changing the linking field to the correct "ID"

     

    Here is the conceptual workflow:

     

    Now, here is the approach to generate a "fake unique value" into the nintex forms. It's a fake, but it works!

     

    Th idea is to use the current date / time and the current user  into a disconnected calculated field. As for sure you are "unique" in the active directory, and you can't be in two places at the same time (if you are a God, it could be), the value is "unique"!! 

     

     

    Here is the formula (sorry, in Spanish):

     

    • Fecha Actual: Current date
    • Hora Actual: Current time
    • Usuario actual: Current user

     

    Now, you must send this "fake unique value" to the child element adding the value at the end of the URL string. In the new child element form, you can get this value, as shown in Forms: Parent / Child structure using List view Control 

     

    Then, when you finally save the parent element, and the workflow begins to run, you can change this fake value by the appropriate "ID". In my case, I'm using not the ID but a sequential fiscal year / number generated by the workflow, but the approach is the same (because I can't generate this number in the Forms).

     

    That's all. 

    Have a nice day!!

     

    Sometimes, you have a need to pull back a date from Active Directory to use in your workflow. Maybe you're querying for Account Expiration dates, or maybe you want to know when that employee last logged in. And maybe you need to store that in a column for some reason.

     

    If that's the case, then you'll be met with a bit of grief. 

     

     

    Active Directory has decided, for whatever reason, that 100-nanoseconds is the super cool way to store a date/time.  And SharePoint does not care for that. It would much prefer that you give it a format it understands, if you wish to view it as a date.

     

    But, using the action Query Excel Services in our workflow, we can get a readable date. 

     

    It's super simple -- the workflow, not the math -- (and I'm a workflow person not a math person) -- so let's dive right in.

     

    The formula in Excel to convert the returned Active Directory time into a Date looks like this: 

    (Where A1 = the cell containing your timestamp)

     

    =IF(A1>0,A1/(8.64*10^11) - 109205,"")

    Source: TechNet

     

     

    1) Enter the formula above into cell B1 in a new Excel sheet, then, format cell B1 as a Date/Time cell. Save the Excel file into your SiteAssets library (or another library!)

     

    2) Open the workflow where you wish to use the converted time, then query LDAP, and put your returned timestamp into a text variable.

     

    3) Set up your Query Excel Services action like this: 

     

    • The workbook path should be the full, direct URL to the workbook
    • Ensure the "Retrieve as formatted text" is selected (or else you'll get it as Excel's timestamp)
    • Your variable can be a Single Line of Text

     

    4) Use the Convert Value action to convert from text to date.

     

    Bada boom, all done, and we didn't even have to TOUCH the math! Which is ideal, right!?

     

     

     

     

    What would be the best ways to return to current form when you press Cancel button? I was looking for the confirmation message on cancel button as well. After struggling to get perfect solution on this forum, I managed to find workaround below on this issue.

     

    1. Disable existing/default Cancel button by adding below rule on the button.

    2. Create a JavaScript button called "Cancel" and add JavaScript function name, "DoRedirect()" under Advanced -> Client click field 

     

     

     

    2. Place your new JavaScript button on existing Cancel button. 

    3. Select Form Settings -> Custom JavaScript -> add below code

     

    function  DoRedirect()
    {
        if (confirm("Are you sure you want to cancel? if you cancel now, you will lose any data entered! Press OK to continue, or Cancel to stay on the current page.") == true) {
             window.top.location.href= "http://<YourSiteURL>/Lists/<ListName>" ;
    return true;
        } else {
           
    return false; 
        }
    }

     

     

    4. Save your changes and publish it. Have fun!!

     

     

    Reference:- Redirect URL when user clicks Cancel Button 

    This post intends to show printing correctly filled out Nintex forms without validation error summary messages and highlighted fields. Nintex form validation warnings were still visible when I printed the successfully validated form that pictured below.

     

     

    I have added the lines of JQuery codes that before the window.print() call listed below.

     

           NWF$('.nf-validation-summary').css('display','none');
           NWF$('.nf-error-highlight').removeClass('nf-error-highlight');

     

    Finally, I have printed the correctly submitted form without any validation warning on the printout that shown below.

     

    blalocb

    Nintex Forms Edit Mode

    Posted by blalocb Employee Oct 25, 2017

    Question

     

    Can I use “Is Edit Mode” to lock a form during editing?

     

    For example – someone submits the form and the workflow sends it to a group for review – group is Reviewer A, Reviewer B, Reviewer C. If Reviewer A opens the form can it be locked so Reviewers B and C cannot not edit it simultaneously.

     

    Answer

     

    Because there is no Check In / Check Out functionality on SharePoint lists, this one would need to get a bit creative.

     

    There are a couple of ways you can go about it, but this is the way I would set it up:

     

    1. Create two additional columns in the list “Check Out” (with option for Checked-In or Checked-Out) and “Checked Out To” (people or group)
    2. Create a calculated value control on the form and connect it to the “Checked Out To” control, and set the formula to “Current User”
    3. Add a save and continue button (can be renamed check in /check out)
    4. Create a Disable rule and apply it to the Save and Continue button and the “Check Out” control. The formula will be targeting If the control is ‘Checked Out’ and the Current User is not equal to the ‘Checked Out To’ item property (this one may take some tweaking if the postback doesn’t refresh the item property in the form designer).
    5. They can throw the rest of the controls in a panel and put a rule on there that disables the controls if the status is Checked out and the current user is not equal to the checked out user.

     

    This is going to be the conceptual way to throw it together, from there are a few different ways they can stylize it to make it fit their needs (IE not using a choice control and just doing JavaScript for the button). 

    As a systems integrator in the Microsoft SharePoint space I often get asked comparative analysis questions on forms and workflow products. Due to the announced end of life of InfoPath, one of the more common comparisons I see is on Nintex Workflow and Forms compared to PowerApps and Flow. Since I’ve had a number of meetings on this topic with multiple clients, as well as discussions with folks at Nintex, I thought I’d share what I’ve learned. 

    Why Compare These Products

    It may seem obvious but I always find it important to be very clear about our argument for comparison. The primary reason I hear from client is:
    “We got InfoPath for free and now we’re going to get PowerApps and Flow free with our E3 licenses, why would we pay for Nintex?”
    No surprises here, cost is the primary driver. 

    My comparison below will cover a lot of feature differences as to why you would pay for Nintex, and what you get for that extra cost. Some of the elements, like ease of use and learning curve are touched on and I've seen executives use these as the driving financial factor as to why to invest in Nintex. Making the business case for the cost of Nintex is a case by case thing that is typically better done on the phone. See the end of this article for my contact information and I'm happy to discuss it with you.

    Before we dive into our comparison I think it’s worth mentioning a few things:

    My Opinion

    Most of the information below is based on facts, however I do also offer my opinion on these products. You may be wondering, why should I care about Owen’s opinion? Well, you certainly don’t have to    but to give you some background, I’ve been developing solutions for Fortune 500 companies for over 7 years and in that time, I have designed and built over 100 complex workflow solutions in Nintex, SharePoint Designer, and Flow. I also have extensive experience working with IBM BPM, K2 and other lesser known workflow tools. I’m a big fan of process automation and after many years working intimately with these products I like to think I’m a bit of an expert. In the end, my opinions are mine alone so it’s important for you to form yours as well.

    A Brief History of Microsoft Forms and Workflow

    In 2014 Microsoft announced the discontinuance of InfoPath. This was immediately followed with fear and anxiety from many enterprise customers who had, for over a decade, been using the tool to create simple to extremely complex forms and applications. Microsoft’s announcement did state support for the client application until 2026 (originally 2023), however the biggest fears arose around the uncertainty of InfoPath Forms Services (the engine in SharePoint that would serve up InfoPath forms as web based forms inside of a SharePoint site, list or library) and how long that would be supported. To this date, Microsoft has only said that it would be fully supported in Office 365 “until further notice”. That being said, I’ve already run into cases where it is no longer fully functional.
    In 2015 at the Microsoft Ignite conference, Microsoft announced the SharePoint Designer’s (SPD) latest release (2013) was it’s last. They did state that SPD 2013 would work when connecting to 2016 (which it does), but that they wouldn’t be releasing a new version. In reading between the lines, this was the first indication of the future, yet to be announced, death of SharePoint Workflow.
    In April of 2016 Microsoft officially released PowerApps and Flow. They discussed a roadmap that would position PowerApps as their recommended replacement for the space InfoPath filled, an intuitive forms designer, and Flow as the future replacement for SharePoint Workflow. Both products have unique pricing models (Flow, PowerApps) but are included in Enterprise licensing for Office365.
    PowerApps and Flow are almost 1.5 years from their GA release date and they’ve come quite far in that time. New features are being released each quarter and there is an obvious dedication from Microsoft to make them a powerful addition to the suite of tools in the Office365 and Azure space.

    A Brief History of Nintex

    Nintex has provided a workflow solution for SharePoint since its inception in 2006. In 2012 Nintex released their first Forms product for SharePoint. In 2016 they released an independent workflow platform called Nintex Workflow Cloud (NWC), making it their first non-SharePoint related product. They also have a business intelligence tool to analyze your workflows called Hawkeye, a document generation tool through their acquisition of Drawloop in 2015 and most recently they announced a new workflow platform for Box.
    In the SharePoint space Nintex has positioned itself as a leading workflow and forms add on and has focused on the ease of use and additional functionality of their products over what Microsoft offers.

    Nintex Forms vs PowerApps

    Let’s start with comparing the forms tools. Both are powerful ways to create forms, however there are some significant differences that should lead you to choose over the other based on your need:

    Learning Curve

    PowerApps is being positioned by Microsoft as a tool for business users, however in my experience it has a bit higher of a learning curve than may be marketed. Though the tool allows you to write Excel type functions for your business logic the concepts of data objects, properties and accessing those properties can quickly confuse a business user who doesn’t have at least some light coding exposure. For me this places PowerApps primarily as a IT Pro/Power User tool.
    Nintex’s Responsive Form design experience is much easier to learn and users can quickly create a responsive form without worrying too much about aesthetic layout or pixels. When dealing with business rules Nintex does require users to use JavaScript syntax to write Boolean logic, however they assist with buttons for logic operators and a future release will provide a much better, non-development rules builder (that already exists in NWC). Nintex’s Classic Form designer is also pretty easy to use but form builders need to handle layout in a way that is similar to PowerApps. This experience does still have a leg up on PowerApps as the rules builder is still more intuitive in my opinion.

    Who Owns the Form

    With PowerApps, all forms are owned by a single user, typically the designer. The current advice from Microsoft is that when deploying a form to production you would use a production service account (yes it would require a license) that would own all forms in production.
    Nintex’s Forms are owned by the List, Library or Workflow. Users have the rights to create or edit forms, but any other user who has rights can go in and update or publish those forms. In my opinion it makes Nintex a much more enterprise ready solution at this time.

    Mobile and Desktop Form Development

    Currently PowerApps’s development experience is very much a mobile first design focus. Though Microsoft is in the process of rolling out PowerApps fully embedded in SharePoint lists (overriding the default form) it still uses a slim portrait view that is mobile ready. This could very well change in the future but there is not enough known about the roadmap at this point.
    Nintex gives you a number of choices around how your form should be displayed. In SharePoint you can use their classic mode which allows you to design different layouts depending on the users’ device. Thus, your form on a desktop would look much different than on an Android phone, for instance. This design style allows you to customize each form by writing JavaScript to create complex forms.
    Nintex also just released a Responsive Design experience, which is even easier to use and is targeted to business users who want to create forms without any knowledge of coding. The resulting form is completely responsive so looks good on a desktop or a phone and it intelligently stacks the fields and labels based on the device’s window size.

    Native OS Controls

    This is a small difference, but worth mentioning: Nintex forms will use the native controls for your mobile devices. That means you’ll get the iOS date picker on iOS and the Android date picker on Android. With PowerApps you’ll get the same controls across all devices which can lead to potential usability frustration for some users on mobile devices.

    Cloud, On-Premise and Offline

    PowerApps requires you to use the cloud based offering. There is no on-premise installation (or plans as of yet) that allows you to run your PowerApps in your own environment. You can connect it to your on-premise data using a data gateway which must be installed and configured on your on-premise servers. Nintex has a SharePoint 2010, 2013 and 2016 version that all install into an on-premise SharePoint environment.
    Additionally, offline usage for PowerApps is difficult at this time, though possible. Nintex Mobile handles offline form submission and task completion very efficiently, queuing up data to send once your connection is restored.

    Complex Forms

    Nintex’s Classic form builder allows for complete extension through JavaScript, which, combined with custom REST services means you can pretty much make it do anything you want. PowerApps also allows for very complex form build using custom connections to your data and Azure Functions. At Microsoft Ignite 2017 Microsoft talked extensively about this tool not having a development “cliff” which is where you realize the form tool is no longer powerful enough to handle what you want to do and if you want to achieve your goal you have to start from scratch building a new form from the ground up (custom development for instance).
    I do find that in building forms in PowerApps you have to rely on the controls and the functions that PowerApps gives you so you’re at the whim of what the tool can do, or have to work creatively around the limitations, as opposed to the vast ability of JavaScript which is well known by many developers. That being said, Nintex Classic Forms experience is only available in SharePoint (both on premise and online), which means your complex forms would live in SharePoint. PowerApps (soon) will also have the ability to surface in a SharePoint list or library, but since it was developed outside of SharePoint first it has an advantage, which bring us to:

    Stand Alone, Form Based Applications

    Here’s where PowerApps really lives up to its name and has a strong advantage over Nintex. If you’re looking to build a standalone application that maybe doesn’t even connect to SharePoint, PowerApps may be a good fit. It has the ability to connect to a ton of data sources, including the Common Data Service, allowing you to build mobile first, line of business applications a lot faster than you could in the past. You can get Nintex to do this, but it’s not as intuitive as doing so in PowerApps.

    Nintex Workflow vs Flow

    In this section I’ll mostly focus on a comparison of Nintex Workflow for SharePoint (online and on-premise) and Flow but I do mention NWC a little bit. I expound on NWC a bit more in the next section.
    User Experience
    Since Nintex’s introduction their focus has been on creating an extremely easy to use workflow creation tool. Compared to SharePoint designer it was no competition, Nintex won every time. Flow closes the gap a bit, but Nintex still does have an edge in their user experience.
    Neither tools use your standard BPM Notation, so both do require you to think a bit differently about your workflow. Nintex’s recommendation has been to stop diagraming your workflows in Visio and instead just build them directly in Nintex. This way when the flow looks right you just have to make it functional, half the work is already done. I’ve seen this be very successful and the same could be said for building a workflow in Flow.
    In my experience, Nintex handles variables and transferring of data from one action to another a bit more intuitively than Flow does. I prefer the action pane Nintex provides for dragging and dropping actions compared to Flow’s add button and search for action model, but I can certainly see others liking Flow’s experience better.

    State Machines

    State machines allow you to create a workflow that doesn’t have a single, straight forward path. Imagine a workflow where there is an approval step. If rejected a task gets assigned to the submitter to review and resubmit. This workflow could go through any amount of iterations of this approval cycle. State machines make this easy to define in a workflow process and Nintex wins big here. Currently there is no way to easily create a state machine workflow in Flow, you have to work around the limitation.

    Who Owns the Workflow

    Similar to PowerApps, Flow’s are owned by a single individual or account. In Nintex the workflow is owned by that list, library or site. See “Who Owns the Form” above for more details on my opinion here.

    Simple Looping / Conditional Evaluations

    Looping is possible in Flow, you can do a For Each and a Do Until. This is much better than what SharePoint Designer provided (even the latest 2013 iteration), however they’re a little clunky to work with. Nintex gives you three looping types, For Each, Loop with Condition and a Loop N Times. Setting them up is pretty intuitive and you can create some complex looping if necessary.

    Cloud and On Premise

    Just like PowerApps, Flow is only cloud based. This means your workflows will only run in the cloud and to access on premise data you need to use a data gateway. Nintex installs into SharePoint on premise or runs in SharePoint Online in the cloud.

    Feature Sets

    Both Flow and Nintex have over 100 actions with 10s of connections to other systems. You’d be hard pressed to do an exact functionality comparison of all innate actions or 3rd party connections (a task for another day). If anything, at a high-level glance it feels like Flow may have surpassed Nintex in their off the shelf 3rd party connections from a quantity perspective. That being said, both have the ability to make REST calls, so any connection that doesn’t already exist can be made through API calls from both.

    Document Generation

    Due to Nintex’s acquisition of Drawloop, Nintex has a document generation feature built right in to their workflow tool. The user experience is intuitive and you can quickly create a document template, map properties from your workflow into the document and quickly be generating Word or PDFs. Flow has no innate functionality for this (though you could probably build it using REST calls to a 3rd Party Doc Gen company like HotDocs – www.hotdocs.com). For any process where a document needs to be generated, Nintex has a big advantage here.

    Initiation Options

    Flow uses pre-built 3rd Party connections or a scheduling service to initiate workflows. There are quite a few events from connections already built (169 triggers at time of writing). It’s worth taking a look through them just to see what’s possible, as the list is quite impressive.
    Nintex has a few options for initiation. With the SharePoint workflow platform, it’s your standard list/library item created, modified or manual start. There is also a scheduled site workflow option. Nintex Workflow Cloud extends the initiation capability to much more, using the idea of connections similar to the way Flow does. The number of off the shelf connectors are less than Flow, however there are two things to note in NWC
    One, is the ability to create a form as the imitation of the flow. This gives you the ability to use the Nintex Responsive Form builder to build a form that can be anonymous and either browsed to directly or embedded in any website.
    Two, is the ability to have your flow be externally started. When this is selected and you publish your workflow you are given a REST endpoint with instructions on how to call that endpoint from ANY other system. That means you can start a workflow from any code or system that can call a REST endpoint. I’ve even seen NWC workflows kicked off from a Flow workflow.

    Nintex Suite – Additional Features in the Suite

    When you purchase Nintex using their subscription pricing you get access to Nintex Workflow and Forms for SharePoint (On-Premise & Online), but you also get access to their Nintex Workflow Cloud and, depending on your subscription level, Nintex Hawkeye which provides functionality above and beyond forms and workflow. These are included in the package so it’s important to factor them in when discussing cost justification.

    Nintex Workflow Cloud (NWC)

    Not all workflows make sense in SharePoint. That’s why Nintex created NWC, for those times you want to automate a process but it doesn’t have anything to do with SharePoint. Comparatively, NWC is much more like Flow than Nintex workflow in SharePoint. Both are cloud based, both use connectors for initiation and interaction with other systems. NWC has their form builder and external start as a differentiator as well as a different user experience that I find to be more intuitive. There is also task assignment and management in NWC, which you don’t get with Flow. All of the differentiators that I discuss above for Nintex for SharePoint vs Flow also apply to NWC vs Flow.

    Hawkeye

    Hawkeye is a business intelligence tool that will help you get a better understanding of what workflow is doing for you and how you can get more out of it. With Hawkeye you can inspect your workflows as a whole (across all Nintex environments cloud and on premise) and see inventory, usage and many other statistics. This allows you to track your ROI, manage the health of your workflows and identify places for process optimization in existing workflows. To help with this latter point, Nintex Workflow contains some Hawkeye actions that let you log information to the Hawkeye database which you can then use for even more granular analysis and optimization. Depending on how much time you want to commit to continuous improvement, this can become very powerful and for the right process help you identify ways to save thousands of dollars.
    All the data from Hawkeye is viewable from prebuilt Lenses (which use PowerBI) or can be accessed raw and imported into your favorite data visualization tool like Tableau.

    App Studio

    Nintex Enterprise edition allows you to publish Nintex Forms as actual branded apps that can easily be downloaded and installed on mobile devices. Imagine having your company time-off request app on all your employee's phones, giving them the ability to easily submit their requests at any time, and then initiating a workflow. They'd never know it was Nintex that was powering it as you get to completely brand it as yours.

    App Studio also gives you the ability to push content to your employees through these apps. For example you could push out the employee handbook or time off policies in the same apps as the time of request form. This puts the information right where it's needed.

    Final Note on Nintex

    Workflow, Forms, Hawkeye, NWC & the App Studio; all of these things are Nintex’s bread and butter. They are an established company with a good vision and they will continue to iterate on these products. PowerApps and Flow are just a small piece of the Microsoft suite. Admittedly Microsoft shows a very strong commitment to these platforms, however at any point in time they could discontinue them and go a different direction (Anyone remember MS Access’ return to fame in SharePoint 2013?).

    Closing

    Hopefully this (longwinded) article helps you to better see the strengths and weaknesses of these products from a features perspective. I do believe that each use case needs to be evaluated on a case by case basis and there are certainly times when PowerApps and Flow are a great fit. The other times you can rely on the Nintex Suite to provide your company great value for automation and form creation. I have personally found with many clients that the above differences are enough to justify the cost of Nintex and when a company adopts the platform, there is always a return on investment that outweighs the cost.
    Though I’ve worked with all these products extensively I’m certainly not perfect. Additionally, they are both changing rapidly, so it’s possible this information will go out of date the day after I publish it. Due to these two facts, please feel free to reach out to correct or update any of this information. I hope this can remain a good reference for customers considering Nintex, PowerApps and Flow. I’m also open to discussing any of these topics in more detail so please feel free to reach out to me if you’d like to discuss your particular use case and I can help guide you based on my experience.

    This post intends to demonstrate how a JavaScript/JQuery function can populate a calculated value control dynamically within a Nintex Form. Accessing data by using REST API Service makes dynamic content compulsory.

     

    Here is the form view that shows unpopulated calculated value controls as following.

     

     

    In order to resolve this issue, I have decided to force calculated values to be recalculated by JavaScript code.To accomplish this, we need to setup following steps.

    1. Define a textbox with the name of 'hiddenField' and set « Store Client ID in Javascript variable » to Yes and give the value of « Client ID Javascript variable name » as 'hiddenFieldPageID'.
    2. Then all our calculated values formula should be included with a reference to the textbox.
    3. In our calculated values, add a reference as a parameter that does not be used in our Javascript method.
    4. Ensure the formula is set to getLabel("lblSecondLang1",hiddenField).
    5. You will be able to force a calculated value to recalculate by calling these following lines of JavaScript code.

                var hiddenTextBox = NWF$("#" + hiddenFieldPageID);
                NWF.FormFiller.Functions.ProcessOnChange(hiddenTextBox);

     

    The calculated value settings as shown below.

     

     

    If you noticed, I have added the 'hiddenField' control into the fuction as a parameter, which causes the calculated value is triggered when the control has been updated. Finally, calling of JavaScript function ProcessOnChange refreshes the controls' value again.

     


     

    calculated value control dynamic population resize at runtime

    Filter Blog

    By date: By tag: