Tools for configuring workflows
This topic applies to ArcGIS for Desktop Standard and ArcGIS for Desktop Advanced only.
Possibly the most important concept of a job's components is its workflow. This is the key to streamlining and standardizing the steps required to carry out a task.
Steps in the workflow can be configured either to have logic associated with them or to be manual/placeholder steps. Steps with logic can call either a custom class, an executable, or one of the preprogrammed steps such as asking a question or launching a URL. See Step Types for more details.
Based on the result of a step, the workflow can be automatically or manually routed down a specific path. For example, if a step determines that the next step is not necessary in this particular job, you can bypass the step by routing the workflow around it. This can be seen at the top of the diagram below.
Types of workflows supported include
- Sequential workflows
- Conditional/Branching workflows
- Looping workflows
- One-step and no-step workflows
Tools for configuring a Workflow
The left window contains steps categorized. The step type categories are
- Custom step—The step will execute some code written in a class implementing a Workflow Manager interface.
- Executable—The step will launch an executable when run.
- File/URL—The step will open a file or launch a URL.
- Procedural—There is no automated logic associated with this step. It is a manual or placeholder step.
- Question—These steps will ask the user a question and return a specific code based on the answer.
To add a step, drag and drop the item into the workflow. To dynamically filter the steps to show only the ones of interest, type a key word or words into the filter box.
To connect the steps, select the Add Path tool and drag a line between the steps. See below for path properties.
Along the top of the workflow window are several tools to manipulate and design the workflow.
- Save Workflow —Once the workflow has been configured, or to save and complete later, click Save workflow to save all changes.
- Validate Workflow —Validate Workflow confirms that the workflow is valid.
- Clear Workflow —Clear Workflow permanently deletes the workflow.
Align and Distribution tools
Use these tools to align and distribute workflow steps evenly on the Workflows dialog box.
- Align Left
- Align Right
- Align Top
- Align Bottom
- Align Center Vertical
- Align Center Horizontal
- Distribute Vertical
- Distribute Horizontal
These tools allow you to change the color of workflow steps, paths, and annotation
- Set Fill Color
- Set Line Color
- Set Text Color
- Delete Selected Element —Delete Selected Element will delete the elements (steps, connectors, or annotations) that are currently selected.
- Add Path —When a job is dragged onto the workflow, a connector must also be added to connect the steps in the order they must be executed. Click once on a job step to begin the connector and click the next step to end the connector.
- Add Annotation —Use this tool to add workflow annotations. With workflow annotation, you have a little more control over the placement of the text than the labels you can assign to paths.
- Assign Step —The Assign Step button allows you to assign a step in the workflow to a certain user or group.
Use these tools to navigate the workflow diagram.
- Fit to Window
- Fixed Zoom In
- Fixed Zoom Out
- Zoom In
- Continuous Zoom
- Pan —Clicking and dragging the view allows you to pan to the current extent.
- Select —Click once to select a job step or connector.
- Identify Object —Click once to get more information on a job step or connector to launch the Properties window. This can also be launched by double-clicking the step/connector regardless of what tool is enabled.
- Print Workflow —Click to generate a printout of the job workflow.
With the step properties, you can control how the step will be executed. There is a subtle distinction here between what the step will do (determined by the step type execution) and how the step behaves as part of the workflow (determined by the step properties).
- Step Properties
- Description—A description of what the step execution is. This is read-only in the step properties and is set in the description of the Step Type.
- Assignment—The assignment determines who can execute the step. If left unassigned, the job assignment determines who can execute. The assignment setting used in conjunction with the Auto assign job based on step assignment system setting will automatically reassign the job to the specified user or group.
- Proceeds to the next step after execution—The step is automatically checked off or marked as complete when it completes.
- Step can be skipped—The user can skip or mark off this step without executing. Any step with this option unmarked cannot be checked off until executed at least once.
- Detailed Step Properties
- Automatically executes when reached—When the workflow is run in automatic (or unattended mode), any step marked as autorun is automatically executed when reached. To automatically execute steps in your workflows, this setting has to be checked on two or more consecutive steps. Examples of when to use this include checking if a version exists, creating a version, and editing data. These three steps can be set to automatically execute so that the user does not have to click run on each step; it simply takes them to ArcMap, and their map layers are coming from the appropriate version. This setting can also be used if your job type workflow is set to auto-execute upon job creation.
- Can start parallel execution—When all options leading from a step are equal (have the same return code), the active step will spawn into potentially multiple active steps that can be carried out by multiple people, if desired. It also spawns into multiple active steps if there is no return code configured for the path and the step is set to start parallel execution.
- Starts process asynchronously—The step is run asynchronously. Control of the Workflow Manager application returns immediately without waiting for the step to complete. Return values are ignored.
- Execution Properties—These are read-only properties that describe the execution of the step type this step is linked to.
- Status—Use these properties to update job status information.
- Status—If the Use step status assignment system setting is used, the job's status will be updated to match this value when the step is reached.
- % Complete—When the step is marked complete in the workflow, the job's percentage of completion will be updated to match this value.
- Notification—This allows you to select a notification that you want the system to send after this step has been completed. The list of currently configured notification types are available for you to select from.
If a path is selected when this tool is executed, the following Path Properties dialog box appears:
- Path name—Name used to identify the route that this path describes. It would usually describe the result of the preceding step and annotates the workflow diagram.
- Has Conditional Return Codes—If this option is checked, this route will only be taken if the result of the preceding step meets a certain criterion.
- Conditional Return Codes—Defines the criteria that determines whether the execution of the job will follow down this path. Multiple return codes can be entered here.
- Assignment—This path property allows you to assign jobs to certain users or groups based on the path of workflow execution.
- Status—This path property allows you to define the status of the job based on path of workflow execution.