Now that I had VS 2010 installed natively on my Dell 1850 (as opposed to within a VM partition), I wanted to try a project example, so I chose to build and deploy a trvial workflow project.
I created a Sequential Workflow solution and added a Workflow Instantiation Form – what inside of SharePoint is called an Initiation Form. Along the way, you are asked which list you want to associate the workflow with and how the workflow should start – in this case I selected ‘manual’. To add an Instantiation Form, you right-click the Workflow node in the solution tree and click ‘Add New Item’. In the resulting dialog, you will see the form item listed along with other possible items to add; including an Association Form.
This action produces a special ASP form page and code behind. Unfortunately, there is currently no Designer support for an Instantiation page. In practice I don’t see this as much of a limitation as the F5 Deployment/Debug process is pretty quick.
For my trivial example, I merely added a drop-down list to the instantiation form to illustrate the easy part of the process.
I simply targeted the Shared Documents library for this workflow and already had a Word document there to use for testing. Once you click the Workflows choice on the drop-down item menu, you are taken to a page listing the workflows associated with your list.
Now you start the workflow by selecting it.
Here’s the instantiation form customized with a simple drop-down list with statically defined list elements.
In a real project, you would process the user choice(s) in the click event of the Start Workflow button and have meaningful activities comprising your workflow.
I must say I was impressed with the relative ease of F5 deployment to my test server. At first, the process was a little slow, but after 2 or 3 runs the Shared Documents list view page was displaying quickly after pressing F5. Once in a cycle of change-compile/deploy-test, I felt plenty productive. The Dell 1850 I’m using has 4 Hyperthreaded 2.8GHz cores with EMT64 support and 6GB of RAM, so the performance is respectable in a single user envrionment such as mine.
The same experience using a VM running on my dual-core laptop was painful! My advice is to use a real server if you can, or at least a quad core I7 laptop with 6GB or more of RAM if you are going to virtualize the server environment. I realize that Sharepoint 2010 can be installed natively on Windows 7, but I prefer not to go there so I can create different VMs for different projects or demos.