12 Replies Latest reply on Apr 13, 2012 11:25 AM by Katie Hughes

    Workflow 'flowchart' interface - seriously lacking

    Brian Dalton

      I am just seeking comment from others about what I see as serious flaws in the flowchart style interface for creating workflows.  I find it cumbersome, tedious, non-intuitive and frustrating.  The result for anything other than a very basic workflow is generally a rat's nest that is only marginally useful as a visual aid.  It seems to have remained un-improved for several releases of EPDM, so I wonder if anyone has submitted any enhancement requests for it?  Perhaps we could mount a concerted campaign to have this part of the admin tool brought into the 21st century...

        • Re: Workflow 'flowchart' interface - seriously lacking
          Robert White

          I agree, it has a rather steep learning curve.

           

          Some features that would be nice:

          • Zoom (avoids scrolling forever)
          • Fit to screen (assuming zoom is an option)
          • Sectionable backgrounds (ties in with zoom, you could 'group' states/transitions for easier finding later by changing the local background color)
          • File/template test (allows you to send a file or template-generated file through the workflow without having to generate more files...It took me ~300 files to get our current workflow in order)
          • State Feedback - If this mode is selected, EPDM will go out and find all files in a particular state, then display the file count on the particular state, allows you to know how many files have the potential to be frozen in the workflow when editing)

          ...

           

          What others would be nice?

          • Re: Workflow 'flowchart' interface - seriously lacking
            Lee CS Young

            My wishlist:

             

            • A workflow editor similar to SQL Server Integration Services would be nice.
            • Alignment tools.
            • Unit testing.
            • User defined icons.
            • Re: Workflow 'flowchart' interface - seriously lacking
              Jeff Sweeney

              You guys are talking interface...but here is an enhancement that would make many workflows simpler. If we had a special kind of transition that would support "voting". It tracks who has approved, and won't let the file continue until all the needed votes are in....

               

              ..yes we can do that now, but we need lots of transitions to support it and it looks like a spider web when complete.

              • Re: Workflow 'flowchart' interface - seriously lacking
                Brian Dalton

                I would also like to see a 'Manifold transition', which allows a transition to have multiple destinations and a set of conditions for determining which destination a file is sent to.

                 

                Also, it would be very handy to have more than one notification, and have conditions for determining which would be used for a given file.  Come to think of it, having conditions set for each defined transition action would be great as well.

                 

                All of these things can be done now, but they typically require adding multiple extra transitions and/or states, which exacerbates that confusion and rat's nest that is already a problem.  Having more powerful and flexible transitions would clean things up considerably.

                • Re: Workflow 'flowchart' interface - seriously lacking
                  Brian Dalton

                  And while I'm at it...

                   

                  The size and shape of the transition and state 'boxes' are clumsy and inconvenient.  I'd like to be able to re-size and/or re-shape them.

                   

                  I've noticed that if the transition box is not big enough to hold the text you place in it when you first create it, the text gets pushed off the the left and partially obscured, even if you later resize the box so that it is big enough to display it entirely.  You can fix it, then when you open the WF the next time, it gets pushed over again.  This problem even shows up in the pictures used in the admin manual.

                   

                  Often, the WF interface becomes unresponsive when I try to reposition elements or resize them, and I have to completely reboot my machine to get it to allow me to make visual edits again.  This doesn't affect the ability to add elements or change permissions, etc., only the ability to drag them around and resize them.  Most annoying, though, and quite inexcusably unprofessional, IMHO.

                   

                  --> Whine Mode Off <--

                    • Re: Workflow 'flowchart' interface - seriously lacking
                      Katie Hughes

                      The transition boxes are what get me! It would be nice to see the whole transition name.  And now, if you extend the box to fit the whole name, it just shows the end of the name with a whole bunch of space. 

                       

                      If the interface were more like a grid where you can choose to "snap" some things and not others would be really helpful. The arrows are such a pain (especially for OCD people like me) because when the lines don't match up, it drives me nuts.

                       

                      I also like the "voting" option mentioned earlier.  We have 3 workflows right now for one document to go through.  The only way we could really organize the workflow was to use the workflow link so that each department could approve the document.  It'd be nice if we could get a "vote" type button and then once everyone approves it, then the file will go to the next state.