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Nintex Workflow Cloud External Start

renai_bell
Nintex Newbie
11 4 2,401

Greetings,

 

We’re excited to announce that the latest release includes the “External start” event within the Nintex connector. Selecting this as the start event of your workflow will provide an authenticated REST URL for the workflow. This URL returns the JSON definition of the workflow (including optional parameters derived from variables) which will start the workflow.

 

What does this allow you to do?

  • Execute a Nintex Workflow Cloud workflow from an existing Nintex Workflow product using the Web request workflow action.
  • Execute a Nintex Workflow Cloud workflow either from within the same tenant or a different tenant using the Call web service workflow action.
  • Execute a Nintex Workflow Cloud workflow from an application that will allow you to make a REST call.

How would you go about doing this?

1. In the Start event configuration, select the Nintex connector and select the External start event.

2. Define your Start event variables. These start event variables will become the input into your workflow when you call the workflow.

3. Configure the steps in your workflow, referencing the Start event variables in your workflow actions as needed.

4. Once the workflow is configured and published, you will get a URL that contains an authentication token which will return the workflow Swagger specification.

e.g. <tenantURL>/api/v1/workflow/published/{workflowid}/swagger.json?token={token}

5. View the Swagger definition in your browser by copying and pasting the URL. Take note of the start event variable names in the Swagger specification that you can pass values to via a REST call.

        {

            name: "API Parameters",
            required: true,
            in: "body",
            schema: {
               type: "object",
               properties: {
                  startData: {
                       type: "object",
                       properties: {
                          se_variable_11: {
                              title: "name1",
                              description: "",
                              type: "string"
                          },
                          se_variable_21: {
                              title: "name2",
                              description: "",
                              type: "string"
                          }
                       }
                  },
                  options: {
                        type: "object",
                        properties: {
                          callbackUrl: {
                             title: "callbackUrl",
                             description: "A Url to return the results back (https urls only)",
                             type: "string"
                          }
                      }
                  }
               }
            }

        }

6. In your workflow, tool, or application of choice, configure a REST call with an HTTP request of type POST to the authenticated URL. You must remove the 'swagger.json' from the URL and add 'instances' to it:

e.g. <tenantURL>/api/v1/workflow/published/{workflowid}/instances?token={token}

Your URL should look similar to:

https://nintextenant.workflowcloud.com/api/v1/workflow/published/4ab2afb5-31c0-4d7b-a04f-00ee3ad1b5c...

7. In the HTTP request header, put the following:

content-type: application/json

8. In the HTTP request content/body pass the parameters as defined in the start event variables of the workflow. Optionally, you can specify a callback URL to receive all the workflow values once the workflow has completed. 

{
   "startData": {

      "se_variable_11": "valuetopassintotheworkflow",
      "se_variable_21": "valuetopassintotheworkflow "

   }

   "options": {

      "callbackURL": "https://url.to/callback"

   }

}

9. Your workflow can now be triggered externally!

We are currently working on the next iteration of this feature, which will include the ability to return values from the call. Stay tuned!

 

Our ask of you: We are still deciding whether to call this "External start". Please feel free to suggest other names in the comments. We look forward to what you might come up with!

4 Comments
rickbakker
Nintex Newbie

This feature is one of the key features for the succes of NWC. I like it. Thanks.

I am not to sure about the name 'External start'. It reminds me to much about where that name came from. NWC is not dependent on SharePoint so from that point of view, I think another name would be better. Also the technology differs from the external start in SP2013 which could confuse a more technical person (2016-10-01: The technology is actually not different. It is based on REST service calls. The way to make the call does differ).

There is a manual start in the Tenant which could be seen as an internal start. Hence the external part makes some sence, but ... External start is a name seen from the perspective of the NWC. From the perspective of the client, 'External start' makes less sence. From there perspective it is just: Start workflow.

'Start workflow' is again strange if you want to describe the 'Start event' (this is a column in the active workflow list).

So a question I have is, who will use this 'External start' connection? I expect it to be mostly technical people.

Considering what I mentioned above, I suggest calling is: REST webservice

renai_bell
Nintex Newbie

Hi Rick,

Thank you for your feedback. As you and others explore the "external start" functionality, we hope to better understand use cases and that may help define what we name it. Thanks for your suggestions and comments.

Thanks,

Renai

tomcastiglia
Nintex Newbie

My initial reaction was that External Start was a good name.  I didn't give it any further thought until reading this article.  As noted above, I'm looking at it from the NWC perspective rather than as a potential client/consumer of the workflow.

That being said, the real purpose of External Start is to expose the workflow as a "service".  So perhaps calling it a "Workflow Service" or something along those lines.  This would be beneficial to the technical people/developers referenced by  above who may be build custom apps that would consume an NWC workflow as a service.

I wouldn't necessarily change the name of External Start, but I think the messaging around "Workflow Service" or "Workflow as a Service" would be beneficial to anyone that plans to consume these workflows.

renai_bell
Nintex Newbie

Thanks for the feedback, ‌! Please continue to share feedback, as well as scenarios that you are accomplishing with the external start functionality.