When opening the Workflow Status page you may receive the following error: "Application error when access /_layouts/15/Workflow.aspx, Error=Column 'xxxx' does not exist. It may have been deleted by another user. "
Investigate whether the workflow design you have a Parent Workflow calling a Sub Workflow
Trace the workflow design by adding a delay between actions in the workflow design and while running the workflow keep checking that the SharePoint page : /_layouts/15/Workflow.aspx can be loaded and displayed without error.
Once the page /_layouts/15/Workflow.aspx displays an error as follows :
we are able to identify where in the workflow design it has caused this issue to arise.
Next Steps to Take:
- Export the workflow as a .NWF file.
- Then Import the workflow and publish with a different name and use the new version for running the new workflow instances.
A quick brief background about the SharePoint workflow engine:
When you design and publish a Workflow, the Microsoft SharePoint Workflow Engine saves this Workflow as a set of XML files ( we refer to these as the workflow definition files).
The Workflow definition files are saved in a hidden Document library and are serialized inside the SharePoint content Database by the SharePoint serialization service.
When you attempt to run the Workflow ( manual start or triggered by adding new item or using a start Workflow action) then the following steps happen behind the scenes:
1- the SharePoint Workflow engine use the Microsoft .Net framework to call the serialization service to de-serialize the Workflow definition from the SharePoint content DB.
2- then the SharePoint Workflow engine will attempt to compile this Workflow definition file as DLL in the system service folder.
3- once it's compiled successfully, the Microsoft .Net framework takes control and attempts to Run the compiled DLL Workflow.
In this case somewhere between these events, something went wrong. As per testing, the Workflow was not even starting and the Workflow status page was broken. So by re-publishing under new name the Workflow engine will take it as a brand new Workflow definition and will start all the above steps in order for SharePoint to handle it as a new entry in the SharePoint content DB and compile it.