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Help Us Find...WF Guidance Information

Hi, BRG members!

wfsleuthI've got a little extra badge for you to earn.

I know that in the past, some of you have asked about starting "best practices" documents.  Well, before we can start that, we need to find content in the community that already addresses it. 

I just came from a meeting in which I was asked what content in the community addressed best practices for building workflows, especially surrounding how many actions they should/shouldn't contain.

I replied that there isn't a single document or blog that has that info. As far as I know, we've never written it on the Nintex side of things.  But I DO know that the topic has been touched on in a number of questions and comments in the community.

Sure, I could search.  But searching for the phrase "best practices" isn't really going to turn up guidance surrounding how to build workflows that don't break because they're too big or contain too many workflow actions, right? 

And I don't have my hands on the products the way you folks do.  

So, I figured, "Why not ask the Blue Ribbon Group to post links to this sort of content and reward them for it?

How to earn that? Well, this is simultaneously easy and hard.  Just post a link in this table* to content that you think provides guidance regarding best practices for building workflows, ESPECIALLY if it relates to the size of a workflow or the number of actions it "should" have.

I'm starting the doc with some probably unrelated info, but you'll get the idea.

 

LINKComment
Defensive Workflow Design Part 1 - Workflow History Lists Series of best practices for workflow designing, to create efficent, well operating workflows.
Making “Work Flow” matter. Part 1 Series of good posts about designing proper workflows - concerned around "the aim and purpose"
Best Practice Question : Breaking a Complex workflow Just a question and valuable answers helping in troubleshooting complex workflows, as well as breaking them into smaller, better maintained.
Best Practice for Workflow Design - Using Workflow ConstantsFound this really useful
What's in a name? Variable naming conventions
Breaking up a large workflow, to split or not to split
Approach to splitting a Nintex Workflow
Start a Workflow using a Web ServiceWhen splitting workflows this shows how to use an alternative method to the "start workflow" action
Defensive Workflow Design Part 4 - Slow Down and Speed UpThis document outlines possible performance issues when designing workflows and links to Technet articles on Workflow limitations and Scalability within the SharePoint farm. For the die-hard admin, this is the only source of truth to tuning a workflow system in SharePoint. It is very in-depth and not a simple read, but accurate.
Defensive Workflow Design Part 3 - Separation of ConcernsAaron outlines what I have also found true in practice that

we generally start to see issues when a workflow is around 500Kb or 100 actions (these typically correlate with each other well).

 

To determine how large your workflow is, export the workflow from the Nintex Workflow Designer to an ‘*.nwf’ file. The size (not size on disk) of this file is the value we are looking for.

 
Log workflow history to external sourceA post discussing how to keep history long term
Using State Machines and Loops in Your Nintex WorkflowsVideo demo by Mike Fitzmaurice explaining how to use Loops and State Machine. This is a good primer for beginners and explains how it actually works.
 What not to do: Bad Nintex habits that you should try to avoid.

Let's see how many we can get by the weekend.  After InspireX, I'll come back and manually award a "WF Sleuth" badge and 100 points to everyone who posts a worthwhile link.  All I mean by that is you didn't come and post something obviously not related to the topic at hand.

Thank you!

*Click "edit" at the top of the document.  After you edit the table, scroll to the bottom and click "minor edit, don't show in streams, et," and then click "update."

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12 Replies
Automation Master
Automation Master

Re: Help Us Find...WF Guidance Information

I do have those things bookmarked. Usually  As in the December's mission - if I find something useful I just bookmark it. For the start - series of posts about best practices in workflow design.

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Automation Master
Automation Master

Re: Help Us Find...WF Guidance Information

Sorry Frank I forgot to check the box the first time round!

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Automation Master
Automation Master

Re: Help Us Find...WF Guidance Information

The answer is Maximum workflow definition (xaml) size 5,120 KB. Attempts to publish xaml files that exceed the size limit will fail. This is for all on prem versions. Software boundaries and limits for SharePoint 2013  

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Automation Master
Automation Master

Re: Help Us Find...WF Guidance Information

The NWF file isn't the same as the generated XAML file, which requires you to use SharePoint Designer to see that file's size. So we have used in practice that the exported NWF file should not be larger than 500KB or 100 actions on prem.

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Not applicable

Re: Help Us Find...WF Guidance Information

Yes, my product manager was aware of that, but he wanted to know what else in the community existed surrounding design. There's an issue surrounding how much guidance Nintex may provide on wf design, I think.

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Automation Master
Automation Master

Re: Help Us Find...WF Guidance Information

Right, they don't want to say there are any hard limits. And there are not, its all depending on the farm environment itself really. I know there are dozens of posts on this, so we will be able to provide more. 

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Automation Master
Automation Master

Re: Help Us Find...WF Guidance Information

I added a tag,

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Nintex Employee
Nintex Employee

Re: Help Us Find...WF Guidance Information

I added a video from the Learning Center regarding State Machines. There are a bunch of questions regarding state machines and while there are plenty of answers and discussions, this video is a great primer for new users that need to understand how state machines work. Also, it helps that it is from Mike Fitzmaurice!

I know there was discussion around moving content from the Learning Center into the community, but until then, I will keep pointing users there

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Not applicable

Re: Help Us Find...WF Guidance Information

I probably wouldn't recognize a design question from a functionality question to tell the truth, so feel free to post whatever you find. But I think we should stick to blogs/documents about it, rather than questions/discussions.  I think my product manager wants to find out what guidance Nintex offers as opposed to "what are people talking about."

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