Wednesday, May 4, 2016

Go with Flow: Create your own timer jobs to schedule workflows in SharePoint Online!

The Expiration / Retention Policy, part of the Information management policy settings, can be useful to start a workflow on items / documents at an expiration date, based on a logic retention period. This is a robust mechanisme based on a timer job that will process a queue. In this way archiving or other scheduled processing can be started for even large amounts of items / documents "at once".
In SharePoint Online the retention timer job is fired only once a week and only 2010 workflows can be started through this mechanisme. But with the new (in preview) service Flow it's possible to create your own timer jobs to schedule 2013 workflows on lists / libraries in SharePoint Online.

Start a logic flow from scratch and select the Recurrence option to start from (as the trigger).

Select a frequency (unit of time) and an interval, for example every 1 Day.

Choose as action 'SharePoint Online - Create item' in a list at a specific site url.
Add a workflow to this list that will automatically start when a new item is created. From this workflow the processing of items in another list can be initiated.
Here is some inspiration to get this dirty job done:

Go with Flow: Email enabled document libraries are back in SharePoint Online!

With the new* in preview service Flow -as part of Office 365- it's possible to add email attachments to a document library in SharePoint Online, where as the standard option is not available.
This is an useful way to process files by saving them in a document library and thereby triggering a workflow for further processing.

 There's a template available to start from. First the permission to the connections must be set.

Then the logic flow itself is configured. Extra conditions can/should be added to the trigger 'On new email' to be sure that only relevant content is saved to the document library that is listed in the Folder Path.

Give the flow a name and hit the button 'Create Flow' to publish and activate it.
Now the flow is active. Take it for a test drive and send an email with attachment to the inbox.

Under My Flows there's a dashboard with a list of your flows. Click for information to show the list runs.

You can check the status of every run and zoom into it. Click on the step for more detailed info about it.

After a succesful run the email attachments were saved to the document library in SharePoint Online.

The flow could be extended with another action to set the Title field of the file via the REST API using a Http request.

* Microsoft Flow is availabe in preview and is a development that originated from Azure Logic Apps and was/is part of the (former invite-only) preview of PowerApps. With Flow it's possible to create automated workflows between different services to get notifications, synchronize files, collect data, etc. in a way of If This Than That by configuring a combination of trigger, conditions and actions.