1 Introduction K2 [blackpearl] and SharePoint EXTENDING SHAREPOINT 2007 WORKFLOW CAPABILITIES January 7
2 INTRODUCTION K2 blackpearl extends built-in SharePoint workflow features by providing a rich, graphical user interface for designing workflows and more powerful business process applications. K2 blackpearl templates and wizards can manage SharePoint documents and list items, sites and users, and the metadata associated with these entities. Process data about blackpearl workflows deployed on SharePoint can be exposed through the SharePoint Business Data Catalog. CONTENTS MICROSOFT OFFICE SHAREPOINT SERVER WINDOWS WORKFLOW FOUNDATION (WF)... 4 K2 [BLACKPEARL] ENTERPRISE WORKFLOW FEATURES... 4 DESIGNING WORKFLOWS WITH K2 [BLACKPEARL]... 5 THE K2 WEB DESIGNER FOR SHAREPOINT... 5 Other options on the K2 Web Designer Sidebar... 9 Completing a workflow Task list and Workflow History list integration FORMS FOR ASSOCIATION, INSTANTIATION AND TASKS SHAREPOINT AND THE K2 DESIGNER FOR VISUAL STUDIO Workflow vs. process design How a new process is deployed to SharePoint About the Environment Library Creating and using SmartObjects to encapsulate data MANAGING SHAREPOINT CONTENT WITH [BLACKPEARL] Using search results in a process Background information on Records Centers and Publishing sites Record management with [blackpearl] Publishing content with [blackpearl] ADMINISTERING SHAREPOINT WITH [BLACKPEARL] DELIVERING [BLACKPEARL] INFORMATION IN SHAREPOINT BDC administration and security Using the BDC Web parts to display [blackpearl] information... 30
3 Searching and indexing [blackpearl] information Using BDC columns in a SharePoint list Exposing BDC data in user profiles CONCLUSION... 31
4 MICROSOFT OFFICE SHAREPOINT SERVER 2007 Microsoft Office SharePoint Server 2007 (MOSS) is an enterprise collaboration platform. MOSS is the first Microsoft platform to implement Windows Workflow Foundation (WF) to facilitate basic content and document approval in the MOSS environment. MOSS provides the host application required to execute the workflows based on WF. WINDOWS WORKFLOW FOUNDATION (WF) Like Windows Communication Foundation and Windows Presentation Foundation, Windows Workflow Foundation (WF) is a core piece of the.net Framework 3.0, and is the platform for building workflow into applications. WF is not a server or an application. It is a hosted, in-process engine that provides the framework used to build a client or server application with process capabilities. K2 [BLACKPEARL] ENTERPRISE WORKFLOW FEATURES While the MOSS workflow features built on the WF platform are useful for gathering document feedback and simple document approval, it does not include options enterprises need for typical end-to-end and complex workflow scenarios. K2 blackpearl brings features to MOSS that address enterprise workflow solution requirements such as: A graphical workflow-design experience that is intuitive and easy to use for business users The ability for multi-site actions, such as moving documents between MOSS sites or publishing list items to a different site Escalation potential based on working hours, custom actions, calendars, out-of-office and presence* Capacity for transactional communication with systems outside the MOSS environment Dynamic task assignment, reassignment, and deletion capabilities Presence-based, round robin, skill or role-based task allocation options* A unified view of all tasks assigned to an individual across multiple sites and portals in the MOSS environment Detailed auditing and dynamic, user-designed reporting capabilities The ability to version process definitions at development and deployment including process instances A wizard-driven, integrated, graphical workflow design experience in Visual Studio where developers can write code to extend a workflow or incorporate advanced requirements Scalable workflow execution that won't affect the performance of the MOSS environment Different InfoPath views based on the workflow state or the ability to attach multiple InfoPath forms to the same workflow for granular security Tools that enable the creation, configuration and population of sites, lists, libraries, records, and publishing pages in MOSS as a result of a business process Note: Some of the features marked with an asterisk (*) will be released in the first half (H1) of 2008.
5 DESIGNING WORKFLOWS WITH K2 [BLACKPEARL] Designing workflows that integrate and extend the SharePoint workflow capability is accomplished through a blackpearl workflow designer. The following workflow designers are currently available or will be made available in the future. K2 Web Designer for SharePoint: offers a graphical workflow design experience for business users who do not desire or have the skills to write custom code. Business users can design workflows inside MOSS using a set of common, pre-defined workflow templates. An administrator is required to deploy this service to a MOSS server farm. The K2 Web Designer includes a subset of the K2 blackpearl features listed above K2 Designer for Visio: an add-in to Microsoft Office Visio 2007 allows any stencil-set to be used for modeling a workflow. This enables existing drawings to be used to design and deploy a workflow to SharePoint and workflows that are not associated with SharePoint. Business Analyst Designer: a Microsoft Office 2007-style designer for the business user, with a Ribbon UI and many of the advanced features found in K2 Designer for Visual Studio. Note: The Business Analyst Designer will be released in the first half (H1) of K2 Designer for Visual Studio: offers a graphical workflow design experience for developers that can be used to design custom workflows and extend them with code. Developers design workflows inside the Visual Studio 2005 development environment and have access to a range of custom toolbox items and integrated wizards that enable even complex business applications to be designed without writing new code. All designers are available in the K2 blackpearl release except the Business Analyst Designer. Details of the K2 Designer for Visual Studio are covered in this article and the K2 Designer for Visio is covered in the whitepaper K2 [blackpearl] and the 2007 Microsoft Office System. THE K2 WEB DESIGNER FOR SHAREPOINT The K2 Web Designer for SharePoint offers a set of built-in options to design workflows for libraries and lists in a SharePoint site collection. These non-modifiable templates enable business users to utilize a graphical design surface inside SharePoint to assemble the types of workflows typical of business environments. The main built-in options in the K2 Web Designer Sidebar are Outcome Templates and Document Wizards. Outcome Templates describe one or more actions a user can take, while Wizards define what happens as a result of each action. The following Outcomes Templates and Wizards are available in the K2 Web Designer.
6 [FIGURE 1: THE OUTCOME TEMPLATES AVAILABLE IN THE K2 WEB DESIGNER]
7 [FIGURE 2: THE WIZARDS AVAILABLE IN THE K2 WEB DESIGNER] Note: The Record Management Wizards are only available with MOSS Dragging and dropping templates and wizards from the sidebar in SharePoint allows users the ability to graphically create workflows within the SharePoint environment. Templates allow a quick way to configure common workflow actions while wizards allow users to configure events based on those actions by stepping through a series of wizard pages. Figure 3 shows a page from the Send Mail wizard which captures information about the message to be sent. Contextual information fields, which display in green, contain information about the SharePoint item, whether that is a list item or a document. Making this information available in the wizard not only allows mails to contain information related to the workflow process instance, but also allows potential outcomes to be evaluated based on information within the SharePoint list or library.
8 [FIGURE 3: CONFIGURING THE SEND MAIL EVENT] Figure 4 shows a completed Approve - Decline workflow that has two events resulting from the Approval action. An outcome was added to the Send Approval Mail activity that allows the document to be copied to another document library once it is approved.
9 [FIGURE 4: A MANAGER APPROVAL PROCESS IN THE K2 WEB DESIGNER] OTHER OPTIONS ON THE K2 WEB DESIGNER SIDEBAR The K2 Web Designer also provides access to users and groups of the SharePoint site collection. This access allows a workflow to operate within the context of the SharePoint site or site collection. For example, if a document requires approval by a member of a group, the workflow designer can drag that group onto the workflow step. If a specific user is required to approve or decline the item, clicking on the design step opens a search dialog box that can be used to find that person in the SharePoint site.
10 [FIGURE 5: SEARCHING FOR USERS TO ADD TO A K2 WEB DESIGNER-DESIGNED WORKFLOW] COMPLETING A WORKFLOW When a workflow is completed, icons at the top of the K2 Web Designer Sidebar as shown here ( ) are used to save the workflow, deploy it to the SharePoint site, save the current process as a template, and change the title and description. Deployment creates a process project, including the associated SharePoint feature package for that new process file. It then deploys that process and the feature to the server using Microsoft Build Engine (MSBuild) technology. When a workflow is deployed to the server, it is automatically associated with the library or list for which it was designed. Depending on the design of the workflow, a new instance of the workflow is created when an item is added to the library or list or when an item has been changed or deleted. A deployed workflow is available for use in other libraries and lists throughout the entire SharePoint site collection. This feature can be modified to limit the availability of the workflow to the library or list on which it is created. In order to use the deployed workflow in another library or list, it must first be associated with that library or list. TASK LIST AND WORKFLOW HISTORY LIST INTEGRATION In all K2 Web Designer-designed workflows, associated tasks are entered in the default SharePoint task list and completed tasks and other workflow information are stored in the Workflow History list. These two lists are the same lists that are used by built-in SharePoint workflows. K2 Studio Designer must be used to change the list to which tasks and the workflow history are written.
11 The K2 Worklist Web Part for SharePoint provides more workflow details and supports batch actions. This Web Part and the worklist on the home page of the K2 Workspace should be used instead of the standard SharePoint task list. However, both of the default SharePoint lists are maintained and updated throughout the process. More detailed workflow history reports than what are available in SharePoint can be generated using workspace reports. FORMS FOR ASSOCIATION, INSTANTIATION AND TASKS Forms are used in human-human and human-system workflows. In system-system workflows, input is not needed from a person and a form is not required. There are four forms used during a SharePoint workflow. These include the association and instantiation forms used for attaching a workflow to a library and starting a workflow on an item in the library. Task forms are used during the workflow for users to act upon the workflow at a particular stage, for example when a task is assigned to them. The last type of workflow form is used to modify a workflow, such as assigning a task to another person. For more information about these types of forms, see Workflow Forms Overview (ASP.NET forms) and InfoPath Forms for Workflows on MSDN. When designing a workflow with K2 Web Designer, ASP.NET forms are used throughout the process. This includes a basic built-in association form for assigning a workflow to a library or list, a basic instantiation form for starting an instance of the workflow associated with a library or list, and a basic task form. The task form is a system-generated form that is displayed when a user needs to take action on a workflow instance. A task form is based on the type of workflow and process data at that stage of the workflow. Typically this form is displayed when a user clicks on an active task in the worklist. With K2 Web Designer, it is not possible to modify or customize the task form. Although beyond the scope of this whitepaper, the K2 Designer for Visual Studio can be used to associate custom ASP.NET or InfoPath 2007 task forms with the workflow. The InfoPath 2007 forms can be rendered in the browser using InfoPath Forms Services, as either part of Microsoft Office SharePoint Server 2007 Enterprise or Microsoft Office Forms Server For more information about using InfoPath forms in a workflow, see the K2 [blackpearl] and the 2007 Microsoft Office System whitepaper.
12 [FIGURE 6: THE BUILT-IN ASSOCIATION FORM FOR A K2 WEB DESIGNER-DESIGNED WORKFLOW] SHAREPOINT AND THE K2 DESIGNER FOR VISUAL STUDIO The K2 Designer for Visual Studio is an integrated business process design environment hosted inside Visual Studio. Integrated debugging and hosting of the Windows Workflow Foundation runtime allows processes to be started from a blackpearl wizard or from a custom WF schedule. Support for full bi-directional context between blackpearl and WF means that data can be passed between a K2 blackpearl application and activity objects, and objects associated with a WF schedule. Breakpoints can be set in the process, the WF schedule, the WF XAML (.xoml) file, or the code. There are four main components of K2 Designer for Visual Studio, illustrated in the following figures.
13 [FIGURE 7, THE TOOLBOX CATEGORIES: INCLUDE COMPONENTS TO DESIGN PROCESSES, BUSINESS LOGIC, AND CLIENT AND SERVER EVENTS]
14 [FIGURE 8, THE SOLUTION EXPLORER: REPRESENTS THE K2 STUDIO PROJECT AND ASSOCIATED DEPENDENCIES, AND IT INCLUDES A CONTEXT MENU TO BUILD, DEPLOY AND ADD NEW ITEMS] [FIGURE 9: THE K2 OBJECT BROWSER: PROVIDES ACCESS TO SERVER ENVIRONMENT, PROCESS AND ACTIVITY DATA, DIRECTORY SERVICES AND MORE]
15 [FIGURE 10: THE K2 DESIGNER FOR VISUAL STUDIO CANVAS: A SURFACE ON WHICH BUSINESS PROCESSES ARE DESIGNED. SMARTOBJECTS INCLUDE THEIR OWN DESIGNER] Lastly, many components in the Toolbox include associated wizards to guide a user through the configuration of the process or event. These wizards can be chained. For example, a wizard is displayed when a user drags the SharePoint Workflow Integration process onto the design canvas. After completing this process wizard, the SharePoint Workflow Integration Client event wizard will start. This concept of chaining two or more wizards allows a user to sequentially build and configure dependent components. A user can choose not to open the next wizard by clearing the box on last page of the current wizard, which in this case is the process wizard. Conversely, dragging a SharePoint Workflow Integration Client event to the design canvas that does not already contain a SharePoint Workflow Integration process will start the SharePoint Workflow Integration wizard before the client event wizard. If a user is modeling a process and doesn't want a wizard to open when inserting a component, they can press and hold the CTRL key when dragging a component from the Toolbox. WORKFLOW VS. PROCESS DESIGN Because K2 Studio offers more options than the K2 Web Designer for SharePoint, it is appropriate to define what a workflow is and how it relates to a business application. In basic terms, a workflow is a type of business process, using a subset of the design tools available in the K2 Studio Designer environment. While K2.net 2003 was designed as a workflow platform vis-à-vis Business Process Management, the capabilities offered in K2 blackpearl extend the platform to encompass a larger range of process automation, including but not limited to SharePoint site, user and content management.
16 The K2 Designer for Visual Studio offers a comprehensive design environment for process-centric applications which extend beyond the functionality offered in K2.net K2.net 2003 integrated with SharePoint to leverage SharePoint site and content management from a document-centric perspective. K2 blackpearl, and in particular the K2 Designer for Visual Studio, addresses a wider business context to support the creation of dynamic business applications. Creating an end-to-end solution to manage all aspects of employee on-boarding is possible with the K2 Designer for Visual Studio. For example: Coordinating offers, managing the signing of contracts, scheduling orientation sessions, organizing access to IT systems, and ensuring they have a furnished office when they start. With the K2 Web Designer or K2.net 2003, employee on-boarding is limited to routing contracts through different SharePoint libraries as they move through the different phases of approval and acceptance associated with the offer process. HOW A NEW PROCESS IS DEPLOYED TO SHAREPOINT A business process is deployed to a SharePoint site using standard MSBuild project files and SharePoint feature packages. See MSBuild Overview and Installing or Uninstalling Features for more information about these technologies. For K2 blackpearl projects that include SmartObjects, deployment is handled through direct communication with the blackpearl SmartObject server, while SharePoint-related processes in the same project are deployed using one or more SharePoint features to the respective SharePoint servers that have been configured in the Environment Library. ABOUT THE ENVIRONMENT LIBRARY Designing a SharePoint workflow in K2 Studio is similar to designing a workflow with K2 Web Designer; however, because a user is starting from K2 Studio and not from inside SharePoint, more contextual information is needed for the workflow to be modeled and deployed. This SharePoint context is provided by the Environment Library once a SharePoint site is added to the library by clicking Add New Field from the context menu of the K2 Object Browser. If a user has multiple SharePoint sites and servers in the Environment Library one site is designated as the default site. When running SharePoint process and event wizards after configuring the Environment Library, the context of the default SharePoint site is automatically populated in the appropriate places, such as site URL, libraries and lists, and task and workflow history lists. [FIGURE 11: ADDING A SHAREPOINT SERVER TO THE ENVIRONMENT LIBRARY.] Shown in Figure 11, the Environment Library is configured for a Development environment but can be configured to support multiple environments. For instance, if a user wants to configure QA/Test and Production
17 environments, they would add the specific information about these environments to the Environment Library. Choosing an environment when deploying a project allows easier configuration of the target environment and management of the project. Tokens for these different environments are inserted when the MSBuild packages for the project are created. The tokens are replaced with the actual values at deployment. CREATING AND USING SMARTOBJECTS TO ENCAPSULATE DATA SmartObjects play a central role in blackpearl process design and management. With a SmartObject it is possible to create a single entity to encapsulate data from multiple sources. For example, data about a company employee is typically stored in multiple backend databases whether they are proprietary systems, Active Directory, custom databases, or SharePoint. [FIGURE 12: ILLUSTRATION OF AN EMPLOYEE SMARTOBJECT] A SmartObject can also encapsulate data that does not currently reside in a database, such as data about an employee's extracurricular activities, his or her family, or hobbies and interests. This data is stored by one of the blackpearl servers, namely the SmartBox server. By using a SmartObject for employee data, all data about an employee is accessed in the same place, and updates to that data are applied to the data in the original location. It is important to remember that SmartObjects do not store or cache data. All data resides in a database, whether that database is managed by a line-of-business (LOB) application, SharePoint, or the SmartBox server.
18 In addition to creating custom SmartObjects, data for processes deployed to a SharePoint server can be encapsulated in SmartObjects by selecting this option in the advanced mode of the deployment wizard. This allows data to be queried and updated for process data as well as indexed and exposed by the SharePoint search engine. See the Delivering K2 blackpearl process information in SharePoint section below for more information about displaying business application information in search results. MANAGING SHAREPOINT CONTENT WITH [BLACKPEARL] K2 blackpearl allows the design of processes to manage content located in SharePoint sites and site collections. Items such as documents in libraries, list data in standard or custom lists, and all metadata associated with documents and lists can be managed with blackpearl processes. Different types of SharePoint sites, such as Records Centers and Publishing sites, have different content management needs, and blackpearl allows management of specific types of content based on the type of site. When SharePoint sites and URLs need to be reorganized, blackpearl enables applications and policies to be built to manage and control how sites, existing content within the sites, and the URLs associated with those sites are reorganized. Because blackpearl supports standard and custom SharePoint site templates, new sites can be created in a uniform way through the use of these templates, either as part of site reorganization or the provisioning of new SharePoint sites. There are several event wizards that can be added to a SharePoint process using the event wizards available on the Studio Toolbox. These events allow a user to create and modify sites and workspaces, list items, documents, records, publishing pages, and users. [FIGURE 13: SHAREPOINT EVENT COMPONENTS IN THE TOOLBOX] Using the SharePoint Events Process component from the Toolbox, a user can monitor events such as list item additions, changes, and deletions, or similar events that occur in a library or list. Once a SharePoint event process is added and configured, any number of event components can be added as shown in Figure 13.
19 For example, dragging the SharePoint Workflow Integration process onto the design canvas displays a wizard to create a new SharePoint process and associate it with a SharePoint library or content type. [FIGURE 14: THE SECOND SCREEN OF THE SHAREPOINT WORKFLOW INTEGRATION WIZARD.] Once the process is associated with a document library, adding a SharePoint the SharePoint Document event wizard allows a user to pick from a list of actions to take on a document as shown in Figure 14.
20 [FIGURE 15: THE SHAREPOINT DOCUMENT WIZARD ACTIONS] USING SEARCH RESULTS IN A PROCESS With the increased searching capabilities of the 2007 SharePoint products and technologies, reliable search results are a powerful tool for determining what kind of content is present on the site. Search results can show a complete view of particular content from multiple sites in a site collection, which is also useful in business applications. K2 blackpearl includes the ability to use search results from SharePoint in a business application. Using the SharePoint Search event wizard, a user can configure a search query on a type of list or a specific list on a specific site. When searching on a type of list, a user can limit the search to a specific site or broaden the scope to the entire site collection.
21 [FIGURE 16: ADDING A SEARCH FILTER PARAMETER TO A SHAREPOINT SEARCH] As shown in Figure 16, parameters based on specific fields can be added to the search query to return results based on certain criteria, which can be entered or retrieved from the process data. Boolean comparisons of the parameters can be configured to further control the final search results. BACKGROUND INFORMATION ON RECORDS CENTERS AND PUBLISHING SITES Records management in SharePoint consists of site templates, Web services, document libraries, content types and policies. MOSS 2007 defines a new site template for record management called a Records Center. The Records Center is where users define record routing and holds. Both the record routing information and hold information is defined via lists within the Records Center site.
22 MOSS 2007 also contains all of the features previously provided through Microsoft Content Management Server (CMS). These features are new to many SharePoint users and developers. These new features of MOSS, and the K2 platform support for them, are referred to as Publishing sites. Publishing sites provide the ability to edit pages, create new pages, and submit for approval before making them visible to users browsing site. These Publishing sites have a built-in approval workflow for users to create new pages and content. RECORD MANAGEMENT WITH [BLACKPEARL] In organizations that need to manage sensitive data for intellectual property protection or auditing purposes, MOSS 2007 includes the Records Center site template. K2 blackpearl can automate the flow of content into or out of a Record Center site, which allows greater control and tracking options when coupled with a workflow process. As shown in Figure 17, these options can automate the management of records and official files.
23 [FIGURE 17: OPTIONS FOR PROCESS AUTOMATION ON A SHAREPOINT RECORDS CENTER SITE] PUBLISHING CONTENT WITH [BLACKPEARL] In a Publishing site, blackpearl includes options for publishing pages and controlling the content located on these pages, as shown in Figure 18. Publishing pages typically require two steps: Approval and Publish. With blackpearl, these steps can be handled in the same workflow, encapsulating this two-step process within a single process for easier page creation and updating. If two or more approvals are required for a page to be created or updated, the process can be extended to accommodate that business need and automate the publishing of the content once both approvals are gathered. [FIGURE 18: OPTIONS FOR PROCESS AUTOMATION ON A SHAREPOINT PUBLISHING SITE]
24 A publishing page can contain content approved by different departments within an organization. An illustration or picture of a product, for example, has to be approved by the art department before it is published, while the description of the product must be approved by the legal department. An InfoPath form could be used to submit both items for approval, and each item in the form would be routed to the appropriate department for approval. If both approvals are granted, the product page is published. If one or more approvals are denied, the page would not be published. When creating a new publishing page, the site templates currently available on the SharePoint site can be selected as shown in Figure 19. [FIGURE 19: CHOOSING A PUBLISHING PAGE TEMPLATE]
25 After selecting a page template, a user has the option to map Publishing page fields to process data and objects already published on the site. For example, an image returned from a search query or part of an InfoPath form can be mapped to the page fields using the dialog shown in Figure 20. [FIGURE 20: MAPPING PROCESS/ACTIVITY DATA TO PUBLISHING PAGE FIELDS] ADMINISTERING SHAREPOINT WITH [BLACKPEARL] In an enterprise environment, it is often difficult to manage SharePoint site use and creation in a way that fits the business needs and the network environment. With blackpearl, a user can create processes to control common
26 business needs. Three major areas include creating and deleting sites, creating and deleting libraries and lists, and creating and deleting users, groups and permissions. For example, if a business process is created for SharePoint site creation requests, a user can create SharePoint list that captures initial request details from users in the organization. When a new list item is generated, the process creates a site based on the details entered in the list. Using the SharePoint Sites and Workspaces event wizard, a new site can be created on the same SharePoint server or a different SharePoint server in the organization. [FIGURE 21: CREATING A NEW SHAREPOINT SITE]
27 In addition to creating a new site, a user can change information in a site or delete a site. The lists and libraries in the new site or existing sites can be managed using the SharePoint Lists and Libraries component, as shown in Figure 22. [FIGURE 22: SHAREPOINT LIBRARIES AND LISTS MANAGEMENT OPTIONS.] Site management features also extend to permissions for new and existing sites. Figure 23 shows the types of SharePoint user management possible with blackpearl.
28 [FIGURE 23: SHAREPOINT USER MANAGEMENT OPTIONS.] With blackpearl, common SharePoint administrative tasks can be automated to gain better control and visibility of an organization's collaboration needs. DELIVERING [BLACKPEARL] INFORMATION IN SHAREPOINT When blackpearl is used to automate SharePoint administrative tasks and site content, the data associated with these processes can be analyzed in SharePoint using the Business Data Catalog (BDC) features included in Office SharePoint Server 2007 Enterprise Edition. For example, a SharePoint solution may allow a user to enter an invoice number, and then click a button to return related documents from a SharePoint site and records from an LOB system such as SAP. The solution may also return active instance information and audit trails from a workflow or business process management solution. In
29 previous versions of SharePoint, custom connectors and Web Parts had to be built for that information to surface in a composite user interface. With MOSS 2007, information from a LOB system and blackpearl business entities, including SmartObjects and process data, can be surfaced without code using the Business Data Catalog Web Parts in MOSS The BDC is a feature of MOSS 2007 that allows a user to connect business data systems to MOSS and use data from those systems in one of four main presentation methods. Any retrievable data using database connections or Web services can be exposed in MOSS Because SmartObject data is accessible through a custom blackpearl Web service, all SmartObjects and process data exposed as SmartObjects can be directly integrated into SharePoint sites. The K2 Administration tab on the SharePoint Central Administration site can be used to create a new BDC application or modify an existing one. Choosing a SmartObject allows the data contained in that SmartObject to be exposed as BDC data in SharePoint. Associated SmartObjects and the Profile page for the SmartObject can be configured on the same page. The Profile page lists the BDC and SmartObject data in a tabular format, and it is the page that is shown when a user clicks on this data in search results. [FIGURE 24: OVERVIEW OF BDC INTEGRATION WITH K2 BLACKPEARL DATA.] BDC ADMINISTRATION AND SECURITY Setting up a BDC application requires the Edit and Manage Permission rights on the SharePoint Shared Service Provider that the BDC feature uses. These rights are standard SharePoint BDC rights for configuring a BDC
30 application. A user must have the Execute (View) and Selectable in Clients rights in order to view SmartObject data exposed as a BDC application and use the BDC Web Parts to query and filter the data, respectively. USING THE BDC WEB PARTS TO DISPLAY [BLACKPEARL] INFORMATION There are several Web Parts provided out-of-the-box with MOSS 2007 which work together to provide various views on the data. The main one is the BDC List Web Part. This Web Part will display data in a list form with filtering and sorting capabilities as well as a search interface to search the list. The BDC List Item Web Part can be connected to the BDC List with Web Part connections, and displays further details for the item that is selected or allow the user to view it in a database form. The BDC Related List Web Part is similar to the BDC List Item Web Part in that it can be connected to the BDC List Web Part, and displays related information to the selected item. SEARCHING AND INDEXING [BLACKPEARL] INFORMATION SmartObject data that is exposed in a BDC application is indexed by the SharePoint Search indexing service. This service uses IDs returned by the K2 blackpearl BDC Web service and a BDC content type to retrieve and store the index information. Detailed record information, called a Detail Fetch, based on those IDs is returned to SharePoint from the SmartBox server through the same mechanism. The BDC content source contains the SmartObject(s) configured on the server and is crawled based on a SharePoint Search service schedule using the same account under which the initial K2 BDC application was created. An administrator managing a BDC content source is managing the crawling schedule for all SmartObjects configured on the server. Additional content sources can be configured on the server. Note: BDC data contained in search results are not intended to be used at process design time, unlike data contained within a SharePoint site collection. Scoped search results return SmartObject data along with standard SharePoint data stored in the index, and results are presented in the same way as other document and list data. Unlike data that is viewed using the BDC Web Parts, which is live and always queries the SmartObject server, indexed search results are only as current as the state of the data when it was last crawled. When clicking on a search result, a custom page is displayed to show all of the data that is available for that item. The BDC data is treated as standard content sources and can be managed in the same way, with schedules and scopes. Note: SmartObject data is not returned with security trimming, so exposing this data through the BDC integration may allow users access to sensitive data.
31 USING BDC COLUMNS IN A SHAREPOINT LIST SmartObject data can also be exposed in SharePoint Business Data columns. Columns are similar SharePoint content types in that they can be used across the site once they are set up. Information from the BDC is used to store the value of a column, which brings SmartObject metadata into the list or library. The SharePoint column can query other fields that are related to the BDC entity and display them in a document library or list as normal, read-only columns. EXPOSING BDC DATA IN USER PROFILES Like BDC columns, a user can also create business data properties in the MOSS 2007 user profile database. Much like how a SmartObject aggregates data from multiple stores, this means that the user profile can be a composite of MOSS-based, Active Directory and business data information. CONCLUSION K2 blackpearl extends the built-in SharePoint workflow features by providing a rich, graphical user interface for designing workflows and more powerful business process activities. With the K2 Designer for Visual Studio and SharePoint Server 2007, a user can control SharePoint administration, control content, and deliver K2 blackpearl data in SharePoint.
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