Attachments in BPS

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applies: version 8.2.x and higher; author: Anna Puka

Attachment catalogues

WEBCON BPS 8.2 introduces a number of changes to how attachments are handled. It is still possible to group attachments by categories, which helps to keep the current instance’s attachments organized. Changes have been made however, to how attachments from linked workflows are displayed – a new tab has been added named ALL ATTACHMENTS which displays the attachments from all linked workflows as well as from the current instance.

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The way attachments from related instances are displayed in the current workflow instance is configured in the Global form template tab, in the Attachment menu section on the right side, enable Related attachments and open the configuration screen by clicking on the button next to it.

In the above example, attachments from the parent workflow will be found in the catalogue Main contract, while attachments from subworkflows will be in Related agreements.

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In the ALL ATTACHMENTS tab, files are grouped according to:

  • The workflow which they come from (current/parent/child),
  • Their Instance ID/number,
  • The category they are assigned to.

A new dropdown menu offers the ability to filter attachments by category:

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You are also able to collapse/expand catalogues:

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In BPS Designer Studio you may also create extra catalogues via SQL query. For example, you may create a catalogue that contains all PDF files from all linked workflows.

Similarly, it is possible to organize the attachments into any number of catalogues based on their properties, like: author, creation date or file name.

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BPS Action type – Attachments menu

BPS Actions that operate on attachments have also been improved in 8.2. A whole new group of actions associated with digital signatures was added (Digital signatures). Now, there is also the option to convert docx files to PDF, which allows users to quickly change the file’s format without the need to edit it or press a path button first.

 

In the action configuration screen you define what name and description the newly converted PDF files will carry, they can be based on the name of the original file, or form fields. Additionally, you also specify which category the new file will be assigned to. All categories previously defined by the user on the workflow, will appear in this drop-down menu. Adding a new category on the spot is possible too, using the Custom category option…

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…selecting the Custom category will allow you to enter a name, a category with that name will be created the first time the action is executed.

After saving the configuration for this action and refreshing the SharePoint site, the option to Convert to PDF should appear in the attachments’ drop down menu.

Clicking this option should automatically add a new attachment, and create a new category as defined in the configuration.

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BPS Action type – On attachment add

Version 8.2 also brings a new action type:  On attachment add, which can execute various kinds of actions whenever an attachment is added to the workflow instance. For demonstrative purposes, we will be using the Add a text layer action, defined under the On attachment add type mentioned above. The text layer will be created as soon as the attachment is added to the workflow element.

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The details can be set in the action’s Configuration screen, here you can decide if you want to overwrite the original or create a new attachment alongside it. For this example, we would like to keep the original uploaded file. Selecting Mode: New attachment will create a new file with an added text layer – the specifics for this newly created file can be defined in the New file configuration section (more on this later).

The Input attachments selection criteria is used to single out which attachments will be processed by this action, the selection can be made based on:

  • File type
  • Regular expression
  • Category

For the configuration below, only files that belong to the “Agreements” category and are PDF files will be processed.

Similarly to the Convert to PDF action, the newly created file’s name and category can be set in the New file configuration section. The new file’s name will be “Agreement_” followed by the date the attachment was added. The first time the action is launched it will create a new category: “Agreements OCR”, and all subsequent actions will add attachments to that catalogue.

 

In result, adding a PDF attachment to the “Agreements” category will automatically add it to the processing queue. The status of this queue can be monitored in the Reports tab of Designer Studio, under Attachment processing.

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After the system finishes processing the attachment, it will appear in the “Agreements OCR” catalogue.

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E-mail conversations

Thanks to the WEBCON BPS Outlook Add-In, created attachments can be sent from the workflow element, or directly from MS Outlook. Right-click the desired document and select New e-mail.

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The message will automatically be marked with the ID of the workflow element, and the user will be able to add other related attachments by creating a new message.

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The sent E-mail message will now appear on the EMAIL CONVERSATION tab, the ALL ATTACHMENTS tab should also have a separate catalogue named E-mail conversations. All e-mail messages linked to the workflow element will also appear in these two places.

 

 

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