A workflow can be defined as a series of activities or steps required to perform a specific business goal. Using a workflow application, you can electronically route documents for action or approval. This type of application allows users to electronically monitor and track the movement of documents. Workflow applications are ideal for documents that require multiple approvals or actions.
Let's take, for example, a procurement application where employees place orders for office supplies or equipment. To initiate the process, an employee completes a "procurement order" form and lists all items to be requisitioned. When complete, the order is electronically routed to an authorized person for review.
At this point, the approver can "approve" or "decline" the order. Similarly, the employee can withdraw the request. With each action, one or more emails are triggered to let everyone know the status of the requests and/or what actions are needed.
Approved orders are subsequently sent to a person in the procurement department. To keep track of their status, the person processing the order changes the status to "in process" after the order is placed and "complete" after the items arrive.
From a software perspective, the workflow application includes a form and emails. There are at least three people who are required to perform an action for each document. As the document is electronically routed, the status of the document changes and unique emails are sent with specific instructions to follow.
Figure 11.1 depicts the various paths the procurement order form can follow. The text in quotes represents the status of the document, with the person responsible for the workflow step in parentheses.
Figure 11.1. Process workflow
The design of a workflow application can range from very simple to complex. However, in general, there are several elements that tend to be common across all workflow applications. These items should be considered when building any workflow application.
In this chapter you will build a procurement order workflow application.
An Introduction to the Lotus Domino Tool Suite
Getting Started with Designer
Navigating the Domino Designer Workspace
Domino Design Elements
An Introduction to Formula Language
An Introduction to LotusScript
Fundamentals of a Notes Application
Reference Library Applications
Design Enhancements Using LotusScript
Design Enhancements Using Formula Language
Miscellaneous Enhancements and Tips for Domino Databases
Application Deployment and Maintenance
Appendix A. Online Project Files and Sample Applications
Appendix B. IBM® Lotus® Notes® and Domino®Whats Next?