Happy New Year!
Picking up where I left off last year, I’m going to talk about another change in SharePoint 2013 that I think is worth shouting about. This is one of those areas where I got disproportionally excited about a new feature: you can do a loop in a SharePoint Designer workflow.
SharePoint Designer workflows made huge leaps between 2007 and 2010, but one of the things that remained a problem was creating a workflow that let you go back to an earlier point. For example, if you want to have an approval workflow where clicking not to approve goes back to an earlier editing stage. In 2013, this is easy. There is now an option in the menu to insert a loop, which can either be to loop “n” times, or to loop based on a condition. So in that approval example, you can choose to loop indefinitely as long as the document status is “not approved.” With the n times option, n can be set to a workflow variable or document/list property, so the precise number of loops could vary at the runtime of the workflow.
Within your loop, you can set a list of actions and conditions just as any other workflow. You can even have loops within loops.
That’s not the only thing that’s changed about workflow in SharePoint Designer. The visual design experience has been brought inside SharePoint Designer (as long as you have Visio installed) so you can switch back and forth between detailed and diagrammed views of your workflows.
These changes mean you can make your no-code workflows substantially more sophisticated without giving yourself a headache.