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Put your lists to work with Smart Action Pro

Posted By: Vladi Gubler     Category: Sharepoint     Views: 4383

Save time and money developing custom code by using Smart Action Pro, a new product from Infowise, that can automatically run multiple custom actions, from creating list items to calling web services.


When we enter information into our SharePoint sites, we often have a requirement that certain actions have to take place when this information is entered. We might need to set specific permissions on a document based on its properties. We might need to update our ERP application or create a new site for a project. SharePoint contains a workflow infrastructure and we can also add custom event receivers to our lists, but in both cases we are talking about costly development, with many workhours (and money) spent on requirement analysis, coding and testing, not to mention deployment in multiple environments. And all we wanted to do was a simple one-step task!

Thankfully, you can now leverage the power of Infowise Smart Action Pro to your advantage. Using one of our 9(!) possible action types, you can perform a multitude of actions within SharePoint sites and in any external application. And most importantly - there is no coding involved, just some easy settings from within the familiar List Settings page.

Let me show you an example to demonstrate the power, versatility and the ease of use of Smart Action Pro. In our system, we enter a new project name to the list of projects. The same second the following actions take place automatically:

  1. Task is created for a reviewer with due date in 30 days.
  2. Specific permissions are set for that task.
  3. The new project is registered in our LOB (line-of-business) application using a stored procedure call (or you can use web services as well).
  4. A new site from a preset template is created for the project.
  5. A task is created within the new site.
  6. The projects list entry is updated with the link to the new site.
  7. You receive an email saying that your tasks have completed successfully.

Let's watch a quick video to see it with our own eyes:

Now let's see how it's done.

  1. First, we need to create a Project Center site, just create a Blank site.
  2. Create a list of Projects, based on a Custom list template.
  3. Create a Review Tasks list based on Tasks list template. Create a lookup column to the list of Projects called Project.
  4. Add Link column to hold links to our project sites using Hyperlink field type.

Project List

  1. Optionally create a site template for the project site or use the regular team site
  2. Open Projects list, go to List Settings.
  3. Click Actions settings.
  4. Now we need to create an Actions column. This column holds our action history and is also used to display actions to users. You must have at least one action column in your list before you can create acitons. You can also specify the e-mail address of the administrator, so he or she are notified of errors while running actions.

Action Column

    We can now start creating actions.

    1. First, let's create an action for creating a review task in our Tasks list.
    2. Open the Add/Update Action section.
    3. Select Create List Item action type.
    4. Enter a user-friendly name, such as Create review task.
    5. Enter a description, description are intended to give some extra info to your users regarding the task about to be performed.
    6. You do not need to enter the Advanced Settings tab now, but you can use it to set some advanced properties of tasks, such as making them hidden from users, allowing multiple execution or allowing tasks to run with high privileges.
    7. Select New and deselect Edit events, so that our task only runs when the project is created, not when it's updated.

    General Settings

    1. Enter the Actions Settings tab. This tab looks differently depending on the selected action type. In our case, we need to choose the site where our list is (Current Site in our case), select the list where the review task is created (Review Tasks list) and enter the column value for the new task.
      1. Title = Review for [Title] - value in square brackets indicate column values of the current list, in this case the name of the new project. You can also use the value picker to select the column values and functions from a list instead of typing them in manually
      2. Project = [ID] - project ID for the lookup column
      3. Due Date = [Today] + 30 - creates a due date for the task in a month from the date project was created
      4. Assigned to = email address of the reviewer.
    2. As this action will run in all cases, there is no need to specify conditions, but you could use a set of conditions to make actions run in certains cases only.
    3. Save the new action.

    Action 1

      Now you can create an action to give specific permissions to the review task

      1. Select Manage Permissions action type.
      2. Enter user-friendly name and description.
      3. In Action Settings, choose to apply permissions to Item.
      4. Select current site and Review Tasks list.
      5. Under Item selection conditions, enter Project=[Title], so that only the review tasks related to the current project (which is actually only the task we create in the previous action) is selected.
      6. Under Action Type select Add Users.
      7. Enter a user to give specific permissions to.
      8. Select a permission level.
      9. Save the action.

      Action 2

        Let's add an action for registering the new project in an SQL database:

        1. Select Run DB strored procedure action type.
        2. Enter name and description.
        3. In Action Settings select MS SQL provider type. You can use any other provider type as well, such as Oracle.
        4. Enter a connection string for your database and click Connect to populate the list of stored procedures.
        5. Select a stored procedure from the list.
        6. Specify value for the procedure parameters using current item's column values, text and functions. You can use the value picker for this values as well.
        7. Save the action.

        Action 3

          Now we create a site for the project:

          1. Select Create site action type.
          2. Enter name and description, switch to Action Settings tab.
          3. Enter [Title] in the site Title box to create a site named after the project.
          4. Enter [ID] in the URL field to ensure unique site URL.
          5. Select a site template from the list.
          6. Save the action.

          Action 4

            A new item is added to the Tasks list of the new site by the following action:

            1. Select Create list item action type.
            2. Enter name and description, switch to Action Settings tab.
            3. Because we are adding an item to a site that does not exist yet, we need to use an existing site for specifying values and condition. Then we enter a Run-time value for both the site URL and the list name, this value will be used when the task is actually performed.
            4. Select any existing site created from the same template as our Project site
            5. Select the Tasks list
            6. Enter values for Title, Due Date, Start Date and Description columns using text and column values.
            7. Enter server-relative (or absolute) URL for the run-time value of the site URL, remember to use the [ID] token we used in the previous action.
            8. Enter Tasks as a run-time value for list name. You must always enter a run-time value for the list name if you entered one for the site URL.
            9. Save the action.

            Action 5

              Let's update our current item with a link to the new project site:

              1. Select Update list item action type.
              2. Enter name and description, switch to Action Settings tab.
              3. Set Current Site and Current List.
              4. In Value to set, enter Link = URL to the new site, including the [ID] token.
              5. In Item selection settings, enter ID=[ID], this will select the current item.
              6. Save the action.

              Action 6

                Let's create an action to inform the project creator of successful execution of all tasks:

                1. Select Send e-mail action type.
                2. Enter name and description, switch to Action Settings tab.
                3. Select Created by in To field.
                4. Enter Subject and Body. You can use column values and functions.
                5. Save the action.

                Action 7

                This is it. We now have all the actions in place. Whenever we create a new project name, we will have the whole working environment set up automatically for us! And no coding, as promised!v


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                Vladi Gubler
                Vladi Gubler author of Put your lists to work with Smart Action Pro is from Canada. Vladi Gubler says

                CTO at Infowise Knowledge SolutionSpecializing in SharePoint development and retail, custom projects and consulting http://www.infowisesolutions.com

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