SharePoint 2013 Workflow Changes

This article is a complete reprint from “SharePoint.Sharron”. As her site is now deprecated, I wanted to ensure this information wasn’t lost to the ether of the interwebs. Many thanks to SharePoint Sharron (Sharon Richardson), and I wish you all the best in your future endeavours.

Originally posted here:

Complete copy (for my own archival purposes – cause I think it’s great information):

Last October (2012), MSDN published an article listing deprecated workflow actions in SharePoint Designer 2013.

Deprecated means that the actions are still available and can be used, but only if you create SharePoint 2010 workflows. They are not available for use in SharePoint 2013 workflows. And deprecated is usually a sign that the feature is heading towards File 13 (aka oblivion, the bin, refuse, trash can… you get the picture). So you can create SharePoint 2010 workflows, even on a SharePoint 2013 platform (including SharePoint Online as part of an Office 365 subscription), but don’t bet on them working for as long as those built specifically for SharePoint 2013.

The full list of elements no longer being used is available in the MSDN article. Here are some highlights, with comments:

Actions deprecated

  • Send Document Set to Repository
  • Set Content Approval Status for the Document Set
  • Start Document Set Approval Process

Seems Document Sets are no longer popular in workflow… I’m finding some interesting behaviours trying to create them from within a workflow too, raising concerns about its long-term future. Consider going back to using normal folders

  • Declare Record
  • Undeclare Record

Records aren’t popular either anymore, at least as part of a workflow.

  • Inherit List Item Parent Permissions
  • Remove List Item Permissions
  • Replace List Item Permissions
  • Along with the following conditions:
    • Check list item permission levels
    • Check list item permissions

Managing permissions as part of the workflow is now completely different. There’s no impersonation step anymore for starters (it only arrived in SharePoint 2010, so assume that feature didn’t work out as planned). There’s an MSDN article detailing the new method – running workflows with elevated permissions.

  • Lookup Manager of a User
  • Assign a Form to a Group
  • Assign a To-Do Item
  • Collect Data from a User
  • Along with data source:
    • User Profile lookup

Steps involving user profile details were also new in SharePoint 2010 and didn’t last long… Shame, it was a nice feature. I’d be tempted to hang on to some SharePoint 2010 workflows if it still works with them

Other items not to forget – the Design view is gone from SharePoint Designer, along with Visio integration, though an alternative is now included that is Visio-like for help with visually designing workflows.

All in all, the direction is moving SharePoint Designer away from being a tool for creating quick and simple solutions without requiring depth knowledge of design or development. In many respects, it’s an understandable shift, particularly in relation to SharePoint Online with its much stricter customisation requirements to guarantee service levels. And certainly, dodgy customisations have led to plenty of problems within SharePoint deployments to date. But it’s also a shame to see customisations becoming a little bit more elitist. SharePoint stood out from the crowd by letting everyone create solutions without needing to be experts. Not all creations resembled Frankenstein…

4 responses to “SharePoint 2013 Workflow Changes

  1. I have a list with column ItemValue, for this column Item Value I need a sum of columns items in SP designer 2013.Could you please let me know how to do this.

    For ex.If the sum(ItemValue)==3000 then I have to send an email to the user.


    1. I’m sure there’s a way to do this. It’ll be different in SP2010 workflows vs SP2013. Which workflow engine are you using?

      1. I am using SP 2013 designer workflows.If you have any solution could you please share with me.


  2. I would ask if there is an equivalent to “Collect Data from a User” in WF2013, i mean i would add another option to the response (Approved, Rejected, “To modify*”) plus a feedback field like comments.

    Thanks in advance
    PS: i can’t use infoPath

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