One "All Singing, All Dancing" SharePoint Web Part

When the ProcessVelocity project began a little over a year ago as Approval Manager, it would never have occurred to me to try to build a complex workflow application as one big hunking SharePoint web part.

Seemed just a wee bit too funky since as a web part the workflow application can only ever be loosely connected to the actual document and form libraries.

But then a few months ago, over the Thanksgiving holiday, it occurred to me that moving all of the workflow "management" functionality into a web part held the possibility of solving multiple important requirements at once.

The loose coupling of the web part and the libraries actually ended up being the main attraction - keeping all of the workflow mechanics separate from the libraries enables the ability to convert an existing library into a process library. The users are no longer forced to move their documents to another library or another site and sacrifice all the structure they've labored hard and long to create.

Point the web part at one of your standard libraries packed with documents - push a button and whoosh - the library can now participate in global SharePoint processes - processes spanning multiple SharePoint workspaces and libraries.  

At least that is the promise that we're burning up our spare time to fulfill.

This new web part version (the Approval Manager version was a list-definition design) is only in Preview at the moment - still plenty of bugs and issues - but the results delivered since Thanksgiving are very encouraging.

There are something like 17 different screens  - various displays of Processes, Sites/Libraries, Activities and Documents... What can I say... serious workflow gets complicated and ProcessVelocity is intended to get very serious.

Choices on the ballots are all customizable through the GUI and the actions underlying those choices are intended to be extensible by 3rd parties.

Beyond being able to handle multiple various significantly complex workflow scenarios, the primary design goals for ProcessVelocity are:

  1. Absolutely Free
  2. A completely native SharePoint  application 
  3. No requirement for any additional anything other than WSS
  4. Completely GUI driven, no programming required

If you're particularly curious about the possibilities, there are links to a couple of demonstration videos in the sidebar, as well as a link to the SharePoint ProcessVelocity Web Parts workspace.