SPServices Stories #1 – How to Start a Workflow on Multiple Items in a List

6 minute read

Introduction

Given the fact that so many people are using SPServices these days, I wanted to start posting some of the great things that people are doing with it out there.

If you have a story about how you are using SPServices that you would like to tell, ping me using the contact form. Your story doesn’t even have to include code, though people love to see examples. I’m always interested in what impact using SPServices may have had on your development philosophy, time to market with solutions, hiring practices, really anything that you feel SPServices has enabled you to do.

We can remove any identifying details if you feel that need to do so, but I’d like these stories to show off what *you* have done, so it’s great if you can take credit. I reserve the right to do a little editing for clarity, but otherwise you can write your own story. I’m also happy to help.

The first guest post is from fellow SharePoint MVP, Alberto Diaz Martin, who lives in Spain. Thanks to Alberto for kicking this series off!

[important]You can also read this post in Spanish on Alberto’s blog SharePoint 2010. Iniciar un flujo de trabajo en múltiples elementos de una lista[/important]

How to Start a Workflow on Multiple Items on a List

In SharePoint 2010 we have the option to select multiple items on a list. When you select several items, the ribbon allows you to Delete Items and Send Alerts, but where is the Workflow command?

To start a workflow on a list item, you have to go through the Start workflow page and if the workflow has an initialization form, you also have to enter the parameters. Because of this, SharePoint doesn’t allow users to start a workflow on multiple items simultaneously. But why not do so when we have a parameter-less workflow?

I think this is a missing feature on SharePoint 2010 because we can certainly do it using the SharePoint API or Web Services without any problems. What can we do to provide this capability to our users?

First, we need to create a Ribbon command using a Custom Action and in this action we will have two options to try to start the workflow. The first one uses an application page by passing the selected items as parameters and uses the server API to start the process. The second, and more flexible and elegant option is using JavaScript and the SharePoint Web Services to start each workflow per item.

SPServices Workflow Ribbon Custom Action

SharePoint Web Services are a horrible way to talk with SharePoint [ed: I disagree, but everyone is entitled to their opinion!] because the Web Services use XML to get and put parameters and options, and it’s not easy working with XML in JavaScript.

SPServices to the Rescue!!

As you know, SPServices is a jQuery library which encapsulates SharePoint Web Services with jQuery to make it easy to call them. SPServices has a Workflow namespace with some powerful operations and we can use StartWorkflow to start an item workflow, even if it has parameters.

It is so easy to use, you only need the Item URL, the workflow template Id and, if required, the workflow parameters.

$().SPServices({
  operation: "StartWorkflow",
  item: currentItemURL,
  templateId: workflowGUID,
  workflowParameters: workflowParams,
  async: true,
  completefunc: function () {
    SP.UI.Notify.addNotification("Workflow process started on selected item.", false);
  }
});

To get the workflow template Id, we have another function called GetTemplatesForItem that returns all the associated workflows for an item. All we have to do is get all the templates and find our workflow by name.

$().SPServices({
  operation: "GetTemplatesForItem",
  item: itemURL,
  async: true,
  completefunc: function (xData, Status) {
    var currentItemURL = this.item;
    $(xData.responseXML).find("WorkflowTemplates > WorkflowTemplate").each(function (i, e) {
      if ($(this).attr("Name") == "Invoice Approve") {
        var guid = $(this).find("WorkflowTemplateIdSet").attr("TemplateId");
        if (guid != null) {
          workflowGUID = "{" + guid + "}";
          //in this point, we have our workflow Id and we have to call the starting method
        }
      }
    }
  }
})

Now, we have to traverse the selected items in the custom action method, and for each item call the SPServices StartWorkflow method. Something like this:

function StarSignWorkflow(listId) {

  RemoveAllStatus(true);
  waitDialog = SP.UI.ModalDialog.showWaitScreenWithNoClose('Starting approval workflow process on selected item','Please,wait until we finished this long operation.',76,400);

  //Get the selected items
  clientContext = new SP.ClientContext.get_current();
  var web = clientContext.get_web();
  var list = web.get_lists().getById(listId);
  var items = SP.ListOperation.Selection.getSelectedItems(ctx);
  totaSelItems = items.length;

  //Because only have items Id,we need to use Client Object Model to get EncodeAbsUrl.
  var query = new SP.CamlQuery();
  var queryString = '<View><Query><Where><In><FieldRef Name="ID"/><Values>';
  for (index in items) {
    var valueString = '<Value Type="Integer">' + items[index].id + '</Value>';
    queryString = queryString + valueString;
  }

  query.set_viewXml(queryString + '</Values></In></Where></Query></View>');
  this.collListItems = list.getItems(query);
  clientContext.load(collListItems,'Include(EncodedAbsUrl)');

  //In the success callback,we’ll have all the selected items with the absolute url.
  clientContext.executeQueryAsync(Function.createDelegate(this,this.onInitProcessSuccess),Function.createDelegate(this,this.onInitProcessFail));
}

function onInitProcessSuccess() {

  var listItemEnumerator = this.collListItems.getEnumerator();

  //If our workflow has default init param,we can provide it in this way to run workflow with default values.
  var workflowParams = "<Data><Approvers></Approvers><NotificationMessage></NotificationMessage>" +
      "<DurationforSerialTasks></DurationforSerialTasks><DurationUnits></DurationUnits>" +
      "<CC></CC><CancelonRejection></CancelonRejection><CancelonChange></CancelonChange>" +
   "<EnableContentApproval></EnableContentApproval></Data>";

  try {
    var counter = 1;
    var total = totaSelItems;

    //Traverse all the selected items
    while (listItemEnumerator.moveNext()) {
      var oListItem = listItemEnumerator.get_current();
      var itemURL = oListItem.get_item('EncodedAbsUrl');
      var workflowGUID = null;

      //Before start the workflow,we used GetTemplatesForItem to get Workflow Template Id.
      $().SPServices({
        operation: "GetTemplatesForItem",
        item: itemURL,
        async: true,
        completefunc: function (xData,Status) {
          var currentItemURL = this.item;
          $(xData.responseXML).find("WorkflowTemplates > WorkflowTemplate").each(function (i,e) {
            if ($(this).attr("Name") == "Invoice Approve") {
              var guid = $(this).find("WorkflowTemplateIdSet").attr("TemplateId");
              if (guid != null) {
                workflowGUID = "{" + guid + "}";
                $().SPServices({
                  operation: "StartWorkflow",
                  item: currentItemURL,
                  templateId: workflowGUID,
                  workflowParameters: workflowParams,
                  async: true,
                  completefunc: function () {
                    if (total == counter) {
                      if (waitDialog != null) {
                        waitDialog.close();
                      }
                      SP.UI.Notify.addNotification("Started workflow approved process for selected invoice.",false);
                      window.location.reload();
                    }
                    counter++;
                  }
                });
              }
            }
          });
        }
      });
    }
  }catch (e) {
    if (waitDialog != null) {
      waitDialog.close();
    }
    AddStatus("There is an exception. Error: " + e.message,"red");
  }
}

As you can see, you have an easy way to provide an easy way to start a process on multiple items at the same time. Thanks to SPServices, working with SharePoint client side is more flexible and easy.

AlbertoDiazMartinAlberto Diaz Martin
MVP SharePoint
adiazcan@hotmail.com
@adiazcan
http://geeks.ms/blogs/adiazmartin

Series NavigationSPServices Stories #2 – Charting List Data with HighCharts >>
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56 Comments

  1. i have copy pasted the code but it is not working for me it is saying RemoveAllStatus is not define and what should i put if i want to have the redefine values from the inti Form please help

    Reply
  2. I have a workflow in 2010 in which I have an ignition form which is running on the single item I want to run it on multiple item

    When I select the file and click on the send to button I will get an initiation form

    This form will have number of option like Reviewer Writer Editor I can send it to anyone but it will work only for single item

    How can I select the multiple item and send to writer in one shot for example I will select the 5 item and send it to writer rather than selecting single file and send each time

    2nd Query is that

    I have initiation form when I select the file I will get the initiation form were I need to select the value again can I predefine the value like I will have three button I named as Writer Reviewer and Editor , I I will select the file and click the button for example Writer now the initiation will be selected Automatically as Writer and the workflow will run

    Please Help me in both the cases

    Reply
  3. It seems that the user needs to be a Site Collection Admin to run SPServices for the SPServices call GetTemplatesForItem. I have not yet isolated what actual rights the user needs but making them a Site Collection Administrator allows SPServices to work, otherwise SPServices returns “Unspecified Error” in the responseXML.

    Reply
  4. Hopefully this is not another duplicate. My previous apology is not showing. Anyway….. Sorry but I did not mean to spam the site. I did not see my post so I assumed it was no there. So posted again. Turns out you need to keep pressing Newer Comments to see the latest comments as old comments show by default. Didn’t see that link till later. First reply was an attempt to augment my very first post, not spam.

    Reply

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