A Deep Dive into K2 Designer - Part 3 - Smart Forms

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Low Code Automation & Nintex K2 Five Journey By Nintex MVP - A Deep Dive into K2 Designer - Part 3 - Smart Forms


Smart Forms are K2 building blocks that are composed of one or more Smart Views that work together to achieve a specific objective. They are the backbone of a request process.


Similarities of Smart Forms and Smart Views:


  • Both are user interfaces that connect to external data sources via smart objects for both reading & writing data.


  • They both are made up of a control designer canvas which developers can use to create new and amend existing controls.


  • They both have a capability for creating Rules consisting of Events, Conditions & Actions for creating functionality in common.


Differences between Smart Forms and Smart Views:


  • Smart views enable controls within the view to interact where as a Smart Form also enables view controls to communicate with controls of different views within the form to achieve a specific goal.


  • Smart Views maybe reused in multiple forms to reduce effort redundancy where as Smart Forms are usually custom to a specific process. E.g. would be an employee view which maybe reused in multiple request forms, where as a Leave request form can only be used for Leave requests.


  • Smart Views are not usually configured to interact with workflows, whereas Smart Forms are what are used to communicate with workflows. Tasks in workflows can only be linked to Smart forms. E.g. "Start of a workflow" rule within a form and the Approver task linked to an Action form rule for actioning a task.


  • States cannot be created in a Smart View, that is an exclusive functionality of Smart Forms. Form states are used to categorize rules configured to a specific form. This creates a neater code for reference later and reduces system rule execution time that may effect performance by only executing the block of code within the state ignoring the rules in other states.


There are other differences but the above summarize the most common ones.


A common question many have when starting to build their processes using K2 is:

"When do i write a rule in a Smart View  versus When do i write a rule in a Smart Form ?"


The answer is simple. It is advisable to write rules on the view level whenever possible, as Smart Views are reusable and that reduces effort in re-writing rules. Creating rules on forms are needed if they are workflow related & for creating communication between the controls of the different views within the form. With experience and exposure to different scenarios, a developer will end up intuitively knowing where best to create their rules.


Most processes usually would constitute of 3 main forms:


  • Initiation form which is the submission form used by the requestor for making a new request
  • Action form that is used for the workflow routing between task owners for actioning 
  • Read Only form which is used for legacy referencing purposes


This not a rule but most request processes can follow the 3 main form practice for standardization purposes.


In my next article, i will be introducing K2 workflow and its main components.


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