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3 Posts authored by: chris.ben Champion

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 


What's in a name?

Posted by chris.ben Champion Jan 4, 2017

A person’s name is the sweetest sound to them in any language.  Even in a crowded noisy room, you’ll probably hear your name called out over all the din.


Can you relate to when you share a name with someone?  Someone calls out your name “Hey Chris” and you and a different Chris look over at that person and wave?  A little bit embarrassing if it’s not you and a little bit inefficient.  The world would be more efficient if we had unique names but conversations would be difficult:


“Hi fingerprint ID 0010010101”
“Oh how’s it going fingerprint ID 1001010110?”
“Good man.  Good.  Happy New Year to you and your wife fingerprint ID 010111010111”


It’s much better when we can use terms such as Cassy, Andrew and Fernando* right?

The development world is a bit like this.  Beneath the scenes, everything is referred to using a unique code but we as humans can’t handle this so we’ve made life easier for ourselves by giving items names that make sense to us.


Where am I going with this post?  How should we name these things?  What makes sense?


In the Nintex world, we have Nintex variables, JavaScript variables, form controls, list and site columns and workflow constants.  You can name these however you want.  You can even give each one the same name but you’ll be asking for trouble!


Some may recall this mission where we had to fix a workflow.  One of the issues with the workflow was a list column had the same name as a variable and there is no way to differentiate between the two when you’re looking at your workflow or form.  If you do the same, you’ll make your workflows and forms harder to maintain and probably introduce a few more bugs than usual.


I’d suggest there is no single correct answer to how you should name things other than identifying/naming each of the aforementioned elements differently using a convention that works for you.  Here’s how I do it:


List and site columnsPlain English with spaces.  I don’t have a convention about proper case or mixed case.  Whatever seems appropriate.Person Name
VariablesPrefixed with the notation var and I don’t use spaces.varPersonName
Workflow constantsIn all caps with words separated by an underscore.  I don’t differentiate between constant types (site collection, site, data types etc) or should I?PERSON_NAME
Form controlsAccept the Nintex default which is to take the column name and remove spaces.Personname

I’m very interested to hear what naming conventions work for you.  Do you use lowerCamelCase?  Do you use Hungarian notation/include the data type in the name?  Do you override the Nintex Forms default?  Do you use spaces in your column names?  Do you differentiate your constant types?  Let us know in the comments below.



* Names bear no resemblance to popular members of this community.  Whatsoever.  Honest!

The Flexi task is one of the most popular workflow actions and we are eagerly awaiting its arrival in the o365 version.  For something so powerful, how much of it do you really know?  How many of the options have you used?


Today I want to concentrate on the behaviour section:

1 Behaviour.PNG


What do these options actually mean?


Like most of you, I suspect we accept the default behaviour “First response applies” and carry on happily knowing that a single person is going to make a decision on an action and their decision is final.  Things, however, start to get a little trickier when multiple people are involved.

Let’s start by way of an example:


We have a situation where the flexi task is has two outcomes (Approve and Reject) and it is sent to two people.  In order to continue, we want both of these people to approve the task.  If either of the people reject the task, we want the workflow to manage the outcome as if it was rejected.  Sounds simple enough right?  Surely you just select “All must agree on a specific outcome”, set the outcome to “Approve” and away you go?

2 Approve Outcome.PNG


Let’s try it out.  I’ve configured the flexi task exactly as above and run the workflow.  When both people approve the flexi task, we get the expected outcome as per the picture below:

3 Approved.png


However when one person rejects the flexi task, something strange happens:

4 Rejected.png


What on earth is going on here?  Why didn’t it execute the tasks in the Reject branch!?  The key here is understanding the fine print and I refer to our friendly Nintex User Guide for the exact wording:


All assignees must select the outcome specified in the 'Outcome' drop down list. If any assignee chooses an alternative outcome, all pending tasks will be set to 'not required', the 'outcome achieved' variable will be set to 'no' and the overall task outcome will be blank.


That’s right - what the user guide is telling us is if the people disagree, there is no outcome.  It doesn’t default to rejected as you might have suspected.  Initially that doesn’t seem to make sense.  Surely if the outcome isn’t approved it must be rejected?


The logic only becomes apparent when you have three or more outcomes (e.g. Approve, Reject, Escalate).  If the assignees disagreed, how would Nintex know which branch to follow?  This is why the User Guide states that the overall outcome is blank.  It even provides a method of telling you that no outcome was reached by optionally setting some variables:

5 Store Outcome.PNG


With this new found information you can check the status of that outcome variable and adjust your workflow accordingly.  There are many ways of handling this depending on your exact requirements.  The Run If and Set a condition actions come in quite handy here but I’m sure many of you will have other methods you can suggest.

6 Run If.PNG


The same “no outcome” applies for the other behaviours:  You will reach no outcome under the following conditions:

Behaviour selectedFlexi task results
Majority decidesA majority is not reached.  E.g. there is an equal amount of reject and approve replies
Majority must choose a specific outcomeA majority is not reached.  E.g. there is an equal amount of reject and approve replies
All must agreeJust one person submits a different answer to the rest


As long as you are aware of the “no outcome achieved”, your life will be much easier when dealing with multi-recipient flexi tasks.

So what was the final solution for my original example where we have two outcomes to choose from (approve and reject) and if one person disagrees, we should execute the reject actions?  We could submit a request to the team at Nintex to create a default outcome field or for the next best thing: include an “other” branch which you will find in the Advanced Options and move all reject actions to this branch.  If an outcome is not achieved, the other branch (if it exists) is executed.


7 Other branch.PNG


8 Final solution.PNG


Hope this helps!


Chris | Provoke Solutions

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