Some time ago our CTO made a claim that sounded quite odd at first:
You know what? I bet that, I can create a cool application on Content Server to ingest and organize the event pictures I am shooting with my mobile and saving to DropBox. And guess what: you will owe me a cup of coffee if I can do it in less than 10 minutes.
If you remember I was quite confident it couldn’t be done THAT quickly, and I accepted the bet and I lost (as you can see in the video).
Today I finally had my revenge.
This morning, I was the guy with the odd claim, willing to bet. A the end we were both so surprised by the result that we could not resist from publishing it.
My 10 minutes application challenge
- Design a document approval workflow, where the approval step has to be assigned to an user who is a member of a precise group.
- The workflow must be triggered directly from the document.
- A shortcut to the document has to be created in the workflow attachments.
- The document has to be reserved automatically when the workflow starts.
since I know you need to see to believe, here below the recorded video
Patrick Vitali June 4th, 2015
Posted In: Techy Friday
Divide et impera
How to effectively use Content Script to manage long-running tasks
We have been asked several times about how to effectively use Content Script to manage long running tasks, thus we decided to provide a short example on the subject.
The simple idea, is to leverage the ability to programmatically schedule Content Scripts to divide a task’s load in several chunk, and execute them in parallel. You might think that the same thing can be achieved using the distributed agent infrastructure, well guess what, is exactly what Content Script does !
Fabio Cristiani June 2nd, 2015
Posted In: Techy Friday
The goal is to demonstrate how Excel files could be used as a valid replacement for standard WebForms views.
Basically, how you can use an Excel spreadsheet in place of a webform.
The idea for this post came from a recent discussion we had internally about the possibilities one has of providing access to form-based workflows, to occasional (internal and external) users.
My first choice would be obviously Remote Beautiful Web Forms, a solution through which a Content Server administrator can create a WebForm view on Content Server (with our visual Form Builder) and provide access to external users to the very same form.
Even though this is a secure and robust solution, this scenario requires the usage of a third component (the Script Console), which has to be published somewhere. My colleagues were instead investigating a solution that doesn’t involve anything but Content Server.
A valid response came, as frequently happens, from the field.
We have recently used our Content Script Extension package for Excel combined with Beautiful WebForms to provide users with a more productive data-entry interface.
The requirement was simple. Users wanted to use their existing spreadsheets to compute and enter information. At the same time the system should automatically synch, from that very same spreadsheets, the minimum information required to route a work-flow.
A Form-Based workflow where there are no forms, just an Excel file.
I have oversimplified the scenario for this post.
The business case
Imagine your company is working with freelancers. Every month you have to collect expenses reports from them, to be approved and routed to accounts payable.
The best way to do so is starting an approval workflow for each freelance.
If you are neither a computer programmer nor a Module Suite’s licensee you might want stop reading here, and just have a look at the one-minute video the see the final result, otherwise keep reading for a detailed explanation of how we did it.
The secret recipe
First step: create a very simple form template to keep track of the most significant report details.
Second step: build an Excel file template (you can see in the picture below) to be filled in by our freelancers.
We need a workflow to approve the expenses report…
and we want these workflows to be started automatically on a monthly basis. To do so, we rely on a scheduled Content Script that starts an approval workflow for each active freelance, every month.
These users do not have access to Content Server: nevertheless we want them to be able to provide us useful information (such as the internal reference for this expenses approval request). For this reason, we are going to push in the Excel file some additional data that can simplify the data input task.
To to meet this requirement, we are going to use the extension package API that allows us to set validation constraints on spreadsheets cells.
All this can be done by a Content Script executed as first step of the approval work flow.
Let’s review in detail this script
Patrick Vitali April 7th, 2015
Posted In: Techy Friday
I am really proud to announce that Content Script for WorkFlows is now GA.
This add-on for Content Script represents a major breakthrough in the way Workflows are conceived and developed.
Content Script for WorkFlows allows developers to leverage all the flexibility of Content Script in any Content Server Workflow, opening up brand new usage scenarios.
The main components of CSWF are:
- A new workpackage available to the workflow’s designer, where to define Content Scripts that will be runnable during workflow execution
- A new workflow step that brings together the possibility to execute any Content Script (to automate tasks or to integrate external systems) and the possibility to take decisions over the outcome of the execution of the script, in order to determine the next step of the workflow.
To better understand the true potential of this tool, have a look at the following use case (derived from past projects experiences).
An online newspaper requires to automate the management of freelance contributions with a Content Server Workflow.
- The Workflow should keep monitored an email inbox folder where freelances send their articles as emails with attachments.
- Each time an email is received, the system should trigger a workflow to route the freelance material to copywriter, web designers and editors.
- Web Designers should be involved in the workflow only if the email contains image attachments.
- The system should notify the IT-Helpdesk in case of an error.
The above requirements can be fulfilled thanks to two Content Scripts and the Workflow presented in the figure here below.
The first script is used just to start a new Freelance-Workflow each minute.
The WorkFlow uses the second Content Script to fetch messages from the email inbox, to store them (with their attachments) on Content Server and to add shortcuts to message and message attachments to the workflow attachments folder.
Finally, we used the Content Script outcome to route the Workflow to the most appropriate next step.
As ever this new component will be available free of charge to AnswerModules ModuleSuite owners.
Share your thoughts with us !
Patrick Vitali August 24th, 2014
Posted In: Techy Friday
Tags: Release 1.5