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Nintex Newbie

Help my State Machine is Looping

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Hello Community,

I am hoping that someone could help me figure out why my State Machine in my workflow keeps looping and looping.

First some background information. I am using SharePoint 2013 and Nintex Workflow 2013 both on premise.

My workflow is for a PO requisition approval system that I have built against a custom list in SharePoint.

In two of the State Machine branches I have nested State Machines, were the PO approval will go to the Director or manager and then to the Finance department if the PO is in budget and over 5K. Please see the screen shot of the first level of the state machine below:

In the screen shot below I have captured all of the Approve and the More Info branches of the second level of the nested State Machine:

Below is the screen shot of the rest of the Reject branch of the second level nested State Machine that is also pictured above:

This all looks well and when I got the looping of the state machine I examined the Workflow process and found that the workflow looks like it runs normally and it hits the End State Machine, but then loops back to the Approval piece again and again. I have included a screen shot of the workflow process for the two levels of the workflow seen below:

I have tried suggestions from people such as Jesse McHargue‌, Kapil Joshi‌ and Daniel Goodridge to check things such as the,  safe looping setting, restart the SharePoint timer service and to check that I have properly configured my Change State settings.

Well I do not have Safe Looping turned on, I have restarted the SharePoint Timer Service and checked the Change State object and it is properly configured with the End State Machine option.

I have also attached a copy of my workflow, in case someone wants to take a look and review it to see if they can shed some light as to why this workflow keeps looping and looping. 

Thank you all in advance

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12 Replies
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Nintex Employee
Nintex Employee

Re: Help my State Machine is Looping

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Sean Docherty‌ - 

Late night but I have not taken a hard look at the actual workflow files, but from your screenshots, it looks like the behavior you are experience is to be expected. Let me explain a bit more and then tell you what you can do.

Each branch of a state machine acts like a loop and will perform all of the actions in batch (unless told otherwise). This means, unless you tell it to move to another branch or end the state machine, it will loop indefinitely. 

Now in your case, you have a state machine (State Machine 1) that has a branch in it that contains another state machine (State Machine 2). In your State Machine 2, you are properly ending your state machine (using the action), but it is ending State Machine 2. At this point, the workflow breaks out of that state machine and moves back into State Machine 1. Since there are no other actions after that, the state machine branch simply loops back through. Hence why you are seeing State Machine 2 loop again.

You need to add in an action after your State Machine 2, but within the same branch (Assigned). You can either move to another branch or end the state machine, but you need to specify something to happen or it will continue to loop.

Hope this helps!

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Nintex Newbie

Re: Help my State Machine is Looping

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Hello Jesse,

Thank you for the amazingly quick reply! Your reply did give me some food for thought. I undertand your point about not having and end state in the State Machine 1.

Now the questions is if I put and Change State object and set it to End State Machine would that not end the State and not send it on to the State Machine 2 that I have nested under it? See the screen shot below:

My other thought on this was, why not change it to a different state of the current State Machine or as you indicated State Machine 1.

In the first level of the State Machine, I have the following options - Pending, Approved, Rejected and More Info. I was thinking why not add another state called Finance and for the secondary approval add a Change State Machine to the bottom of the Approved branch (thus ending this branch properly) and directing it to the new branch called Finance. See the screen shot below, as we all know a picture is worth a 1000 words:

I would be interested in hearing your feedback on this.

Thank you Jesse

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Nintex Employee
Nintex Employee

Re: Help my State Machine is Looping

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Sean Docherty‌ - 

You can add in the action, but move it to after the State Machine 2 but before the end of the state (Approved in State Machine 1).

As you stated, you can always add in another state to handle the logic rather than nesting the state machine, but either way it should accomplish the same results.

I am out of office today but I will see if I can take a deeper look tonight once I get back in if you still need another set of eyes.

Hope this helps!

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Not applicable

Re: Help my State Machine is Looping

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Let us know how this advice works out, ‌! Thanks!

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Automation Master
Automation Master

Re: Help my State Machine is Looping

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,

Jesse McHargue has already given you enough points to ponder and may be recommendations to modify the workflow. I would emphasize on one thing, The Change State or End State machine should be the last statement in your branch. I have come across issues if there is any action after these though it is not proven to be every case. You can create as many branches in State Machine as needed to make the flow better. I also see that you have End Workflow after End State machine. If there is no actions after your Sate Machine, and the workflow is anyway ending, then you do not need this End Workflow. Hope you are able to resolve the issue.

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Nintex Newbie

Re: Help my State Machine is Looping

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Hello Jesse,

Thank you for getting back to me even when you are out of the office. It is appreciated.

I tried my second idea of adding another branch to the State Machine 1 called Finance and then added the Change State machine to the end of the Approved branch. After doing this I ran a test on the workflow.

The workflow ran as I thought it would and once I Approved the PO the state successfully changed to the State Machine 2 that I moved into the new Finance branch of State Machine 1. Once I received notification from the workflow I went and approved the PO as someone from Finance.

Now it did properly work through the workflow objects, but it kept repeating over and over again.

In looking at the screen shot of the workflow progress a few questions came to mind:

1. Is the State Machine object at the top level corrupted and this is why the State Machine is not working very well?

2. Is the State Machine object in the Finance branch corrupted and this is why it works through properly, but then loops again and again?

3. Is it possible for a State Machine object to become corrupted?

4. For the Assign Flexi Task object in the Finance branch does having Reminders and Escalations enabled on it cause an issue for the State Machine?

5. Should I try and turn on Safe Looping save and publish the workflow and then turn off Safe Looping and then publish the workflow?

6. Should I restart the SPTimer Service?

7. Should I restart the SPTimer Service and then do an IISRESET?

8. Would I just be better off recreating this workflow from scratch again as this workflow looks like it is corrupted beyond repair?

9. What is the best way to repair a corrupted Nintex workflow? Are there even tools out there to repair a corrupted workflow?

Jesse if you have the time to have a look and as you say "put another set of eyes on it" that would be very much appreciated.

Thank you   

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Automation Master
Automation Master

Re: Help my State Machine is Looping

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The reason the first state machine repeated after the sub state machine ended through the finance approval branch, is because you did not tell the state machine for >5K to change state or end, so it repeated.

In the sub state machine, you have an End State Machine step in the approved branch, this ends the sub state machine.

Now, below this state machine, in the Finance branch, you need another End State Machine to stop the 5k state machine.

See this image of your workflow. The most important piece is the new End State Machine after the Finance state machine. This will end the >5K initial state machine and prevent the loop.

And also notice that if you have the End State Machines in the correct places, you will not need the End Workflow actions as Kapil Joshi‌ mentioned.

Best practices for state machine are:

  1. Do not have multiple change state actions in the same branch
  2. Always end a branch with a change state action, and always have the change state action at the end of the branch.
  3. Do not use end workflow actions in state machines

Overall I would say this is a really good workflow and you are using the state machine well. It's my most favorite action and I use it often. Great job in imagining this use case!

View solution in original post

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Nintex Employee
Nintex Employee

Re: Help my State Machine is Looping

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‌ did a really nice job explaining it, but basically same thing is happening; once you break out of the second state machine, the first machine picks back up and since you are not telling it to go to another branch, it simply repeats.

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Nintex Newbie

Re: Help my State Machine is Looping

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Hello Andrew,

Thank you for your reply and the modified graphic. I was not quite sure where to place that final Change State Machine object. Your graphic helped out a lot.

‌ provided some good advice also. I wish there was a way that you could mark more than one answer as correct on the community as I would also like to give credit to Jesse also for his invaluable assistance.

Placing that Change State Machine object where you suggested fixed the issue that I was having.

Thank you Andrew

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