SharePoint Designer (SPD) 2010 vs 2013 Workflows

I frequently reference two resources linked at the bottom of this post that speak to the features unique to 2010 and 2013 workflows. Unfortunately, once you pick which workflow platform you’ll be building upon you can’t switch. So it’s important to use these lists in your evaluation phase to make sure you’ll be picking the right platform for the job. Keep in mind, you can always start a 2010 workflow from within a 2013 workflow.

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Microsoft Flow vs SharePoint Designer (SPD) Approvals

WORKFLOWvs

Perhaps one of the most useful automated processes out there is the ability to do approval processes. We fortunately have two tools on-prem or online that allows us to perform this action. Microsoft Flow offers some incredible connectivity between services (like approve a Tweet and post it, approve something from Google Docs and have it moved to SharePoint, etc.), but the approval process itself is very simple at this point and doesn’t offer some of the more robust features and customization options we get in SharePoint Designer 2013 approval processes.

I also will use both tools in the same business process occasionally, because they both have unique strengths.

But which do you use for approvals?

The quick answer to the question is: Use Flow for simple approvals, or approvals that involve multiple sites or external services. Use SPD for more complicated processes and customization options for approvals that involve a single site.

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Creating a subsite in SharePoint Server vs O365

Having come from an O365 background, I always find it interesting how routine processes differ from on-premises. But creating subsites hasn’t changed much. Here’s a comparison of the 3-step process in an on-prem environment (2013 in this example) vs O365:

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Solution: “Visio cannot open the file because it’s not a Visio file or it has become corrupted.”

visioerror

If you’re new to exporting SharePoint Designer workflows to Visio, chances are you’ve seen this message.

“Visio cannot open the file because it’s not a Visio file or it has become corrupted.”

Opening the exported Visio file is not intuitive (export, open), but also isn’t complicated. Instead of opening the file directly, you need to import it from within Visio.

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A better way to display “today’s events” from multiple calendars in SharePoint on your intranet home page

today at LMH

Below on the left are two traditional, out-of-the-box solutions for showing Today’s events in SharePoint. Notice how both take up a lot of extra space repeating today’s date (which we don’t need to see at all in a web part called “Today’s Events”) or showing gray space where there are no events. Soak that in – prime real estate on your home page goes to non-existent events. These also may require overlays and other manual labor processes that need adjusted every time a calendar is added or removed.

But on the right is what you could have. It uses search instead and displays events from all calendars a user has access to in one place. It shows only the necessary information on the home page and links to full details. And with a little CSS included in this post, it can look polished and themed. Imagine all you could do with that saved space on your home page…

Also seen above: Adding local weather to your SharePoint intranet home page
and a “this week’s menu” button for your intranet

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Adding local weather to your SharePoint intranet home page

Update 5/9/2019: AccuWeather has discontinued their widget. Watch
https://www.accuweather.com/en/free-weather-widgets for updates.

weatherI jokingly said at a recent presentation that I thought adding weather to our intranet’s home page was a good idea for employees like me who work in the basement and don’t see much of “the outside.” But it can also help with planning and decisions depending on your industry and daily routines.

Accuweather has a free script for a widget you can use that resizes perfectly on different screen sizes. I’m impressed with its simplicity and how dynamic it is.

All you need is a script editor where you’re placing the weather on your page and the following script from Accuweather.com. This script will work as-is from a straight copy and paste, but you should generate your own code from their website to paste after the closing style tag so that when clicked, users will be taken to more info specific to their location instead of mine. You can start from scratch on their site, just be sure to add the “style” tag and content below before the script they generate for you. This will get rid of a rather pesky button they include.