E-mails and templates in BPS

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author: Marcin Wiktor; applies to version: 8.2 (available: 2015 midyear)

BPS offers functionality of sending email notifications to users, in certain, defined places in workflow. Email notifications may be sent as actions of following types:

–          On path

–          On timeout

–          On document deleting

–          On entry

–          On exit

–          On document save

–          On menu button

Additionally, action: send custom mail may be defined as global action of following type:

–          On menu button

–          On document save

–          On document deleting

In actions sending custom emails, it is possible to define recipients and CC/BCC recipients. Additionally it is possible to change template and add attachments from WorkFlow.

Except custom email action, standard emails are also available. Standard emails are always sent on path to person with assigned task. It is not possible to configure template of such email for a workflow, settings are always inherited from global template. By default standard emails are not activated for new paths and it is necessary to activate them manually.

For custom emails we may use templates which define content and look of a message. Templates may be divided at three types:

–          Global template – template configured in system settings, by default used in all email notifications, unless user will choose/define another template. It is also used for standard emails

–          Templates per process – these are templates defined separately for a process and available to use only in a process in which there were defined. Such template may be used for custom email actions per process if we do not want to use global template. Main advantage over global template is possibility to place values from form fields and system fields in title or content of an email (e.g. assigned users, step, document type)

–          Templates per action – in configuration of “send custom email” action, it is possible to define content and looks of an email, just as in templates described above. Such template will not be available for any other action and it is necessary to break inheritance of settings from global template (further description in section 2).

In reality, if defining separate email templates is not necessary, adjusting global template for our needs is sufficient. Then we may be fully convinced that all emails will be using one template.

1. Global e-mail template and standard emails

BPS allows to define global email template, which will be used for standard emails by default and will be foundation for new custom templates which will be described later on. In this part, basic configuration of global template and example of usage for standard emails, will be shown. To configure global template for normal message and for CC, go to “System settings” and “E-mail notifications”, choose “Global email template”.

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In “Header” tab it is possible to define subject of an email, title and content of the header and analogic fields for DW notifications. Moreover, it is possible to define additional content of a message and choose which parts should be displayed.

Placement of all these fields may be edited in “Message content” tab:

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Template may be edited in WYSIWYG mode or by HTML code. It is also possible to use tags for message content. If you do not want to display for e.g. task details in message, the corresponding tag “[|TaskDetails|]”, should not be deleted from the code. In such case, in “Header” tab, in the bottom section – “Visibility”, uncheck “Task details” so they will not be displayed in message content. Such manner of hiding elements is connected with breaking inheritance by single templates (which is described later).

As written above, it is possible to configure paths between steps in such a way that a standard email will be sent.

Go to chosen workflow, then to given step and to “Paths” section.

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After choosing certain paths, go to “Task creation” tab. In bottom part of “Task assignment” and “CC task assignment”, check “Send standard email” field. Such email will use global email template.

After saving all changes and going through a path, you will receive following email:

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Standard email settings may be changed for every process. After choosing a process, go to “Email notifications”

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In “Standard email settings we may change email title for a task and for a CC task and in contrast to global settings – we may use tags responsible for system and form fields connected to given process. We may also choose a template if we do not want to use global one.

2. Custom email templates and settings inheritance

In situations where more complex messages are necessary, or we want to send information not only to person with assigned task, we may use help of custom emails actions. To make management of message templates easier, BPS offers possibility to create dedicated templates for every step, which then may be used for email sending actions.

For the needs of this article we will use very simple Cost invoice workflow, where registering person fills basic form fields, adds an attachment and then sends document for superior acceptance, which then sends it to director who may accept or reject the invoice.

If anything is not clear enough, superior and director may send the document back to registering person.

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Mails will be sent when document will be send back to registering person (from both steps), in case of acceptation or rejection to registering person (but with CC for superior). In the end we will create third template – notification about new awaiting document for superior.

Go to Cost invoice process, click “Email notifications” and then “New template”.

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In contrast to global template, where list of available tags is highly reduced, here it is possible to use values from the form or use system fields (step or document type).

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“Sender” section may be left empty – in such situation system, as a sender will use person given in global email configuration. It is not necessary to change default values in CC fields – it is not planned to use CC in actions using these templates, so values from such fields have no influence. After filling basic tab, save all your work. For now, leave advanced tab, we will go back to it later.

 

Next step is adding an action, which will send an email to director, using new template. Go to superior acceptance step and add new action on entry. As action kind choose “Send custom email” and click configure.

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Recipient may be chosen by: predefined BPS options (for example: author of the document), by providing address or by one of two dynamic options – on basis of form field value or by SQL/CAML query.

In this case we will use dynamic setting – on basis of form field value. In dropdown list “Form field” only group or person or choice list fields will be available. If it is group or person field, then it is not necessary to choose column as system will automatically download email address of chosen person. For choice field it is necessary to show in which column system will find email address.

In “CC recipients” and “BCC recipients” tabs, recipients may be set analogically as in “Recipients” tab.

Next tab is “Message content”

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In this tab we may choose which template will be used and it is possible also to change its settings (break inheritance of settings).

It is not recommended as, if in future we would like to modify template, changes will not apply for such action.

Example of such problem in our workflow:

Template “retracted document” is used twice – on path “Back to registration” on “Superior acceptance” step and on “Back to registration path” on “Director acceptance”.

In template, as subject of a message, we set: “Document was sent back to you”. In action, on “Director acceptance” we had an idea to change subject to “Document was sent back to you by director”. Couple months later we had a new idea, to change message subject in a template to: “Document was sent back to you from a step {Dynamic step name}”.

Such change will apply only to “Superior acceptance” step, as we did not change anything there, but it will not apply for “Director acceptance” step as we already overwrote subject of this message.

It is recommended to keep full inheritance of content and settings downloaded from a template, if there is no real need for changing any of these settings.

Coming back to action configuration – go to last tab “Attachments”. As in registration step .PDF files will be attached (e.g. invoices), in “Mode” field, we may choose “Send all”.

After this change save process and send a document to “Superior acceptance” step. Effect should look as follows:

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Once again go to settings of “New invoice” template. In “Advanced” tab we may see that look of a message is just the same as look of message from global template and we cannot modify it. By default it is in read-only mode, as it is inherited from global template.

Similarly to inheriting template settings in email sending action, it is not recommended to overwrite global template without a reason.

It is easy to imagine a situation in which we have a lot of templates with broken inheritance of global template and we have to make a little change in its looks. It will be necessary to make changes in all templates instead of just one and there is a risk that we will skip a template.

Of course, breaking inheritance may be very useful, for example if we want to send an email from complaint process to a customer, informing about positive result of examination. Such template should look different that emails used inside the company.

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