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Beginning SharePoint 2013 Development by Donovan Follette, Chris Johnson, Steve Fox

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WORKFLOW AND VISUAL STUDIO

Sometimes there is the need to go beyond the out-of-box capabilities of Visio Professional and SharePoint Designer, and in those cases you can fall back to Visual Studio and create affectively anything you need. With Visual Studio developers can create custom actions that can be made available to SharePoint Designer, workflow templates that can be used from site to site, and deep workflows irrespective of how complex they may get.

New in this release for Visual Studio is that SharePoint workflows are based on Windows Workflow Foundation 4. Therefore, developers use a visual designer to create a XAML-based workflow so no compiled code outputs from the design process. This provides run time consistency for workflows built using either SharePoint Designer or Visual Studio. As with SharePoint Designer, any workflow developed with Visual Studio can execute equally well in the Office 365 environment, which is a huge win and opens up enterprise-grade, workflow solution opportunities to now land in SharePoint Online.

For those new to SharePoint workflow, an activity is a Windows Workflow Foundation platform term that describes a fundamental building block of a workflow and is a unit of workflow execution. An action is a SharePoint Designer term describing a higher-level, more human-friendly abstraction that is a fundamental unit used in composition with other actions to build SharePoint workflows. Normally, you can assume that one Visual Studio activity maps ...

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