Step 3: Configuration - Add workflow transitions

A workflow is a sequence of steps describing the life cycle of a document.

Workflows can automate your business processes such as reviewing documents, approving invoices and publishing company policies on an intranet.

In AODocs, each workflow step is called a workflow state.

Library administrators can configure workflow transitions, i.e. the set of rules that transition a document from one workflow state to another.

This article explains how to add workflow transitions:

 Types and structure of workflow transitions
     Types of workflow transition
     Structure of a workflow transition 
Configure manual transitions
     Define the workflow validators
     Configure workflow user actions 
     Configure workflow transitions 
Configure automatic transitions
Format of automatic transitions and examples


Type and structure of workflow transitions

Types of workflow transition

A workflow transition moves a document from a source workflow state to a target workflow state. The type of workflow transition depends on the type of source and target workflow states:

  • Basic transition: This transition moves a document from a standard state to another standard state or from a draft state to another draft state. No version control operation happens during this type of transition.
  • New versioning transition: This transition moves a document from a standard state to another standard state. During the transition, AODocs creates a new version of the document.
  • Check-out transition: This transition links a standard state to a draft state. During the transition, AODocs checks out the document. This means the document has two versions:
    • A draft version that is moved to the target draft state of the transition. The draft version can then transition to other draft states if you configure basic transitions.
    • A main version that stays in the source standard state until the draft version of the document goes through a check-in transition.
  • Check-in transition: This transition links a draft state to a standard state. During the transition, AODocs checks in the document.
    This means the draft version of the document initially in the source draft state becomes the current version and is moved to the target standard state. The main version of the document (in the standard state at the time of check-out) becomes a previous version.
  • Discard checkout: This transition discards the draft version of the document. The main version of the document becomes the current version.

Note: If you don’t need to implement version control in your workflow, use standard states and basic transitions.

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Structure of a workflow transition

Regardless of its type, a workflow transition is always composed of:

  • a target state - this is the new workflow state of the document if the transition occurs
  • a condition for the transition to occur - this can be a manual action or an automatic trigger, such as a time period or a specific document property value

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Tips: You can set automatic transitions:
- to trigger a reminder notification after a certain number of days
- to trigger a reminder notification before a Due Date (Date field property)
- to tag a document as expired after the Expiration Date (Date field property)
- to sort documents in different workflow states, according to the value of a property
- to send an error message when a property field is empty
- to refine/adapt/activate a validation workflow subpath depending on a property (such as department or amount of money)


Configure manual transitions

Manual transitions require one or more users to validate the document by manually pressing a custom workflow button.

Define the workflow validators

The person validating a manual workflow can be a:

  • specific user email address
  • specific Google Group: email address of Google Groups in the domain
  • custom property with a Field type “Person”
  • system role: Document Creator, Last Update Author, Administrator, Contributor, Reader
  • library custom role

Important recommendations:
- When configuring a workflow transition, you can define the validators directly in the workflow configuration section or with a pre-defined role. 
- AODocs recommends using roles as validators of manual transitions. This is useful to set workflow validators, workflow notifications and workflow permissions.  
- Make sure all your roles are created before configuring workflow transitions.
Learn more: What are roles? and Configure roles.

image4.png

 

Configure workflow user actions

Workflow user actions have the name as the actions that users see in their interface (AODocs or Google Drive).

They see the workflow buttons in the user interface if they can perform a workflow action.

image_04.png

Before configuring manual workflow transitions, define the wording of the actions available to the validator.

1. In the library administration interface, select Workflow.

2. Under User actions in Workflows, select the + icon to add a new custom user action.

Notes: By default, several user actions are proposed, such as Approve, Reject and Escalate.

image_05_-_A.png

3. Enter the User action and the Completed user action. You can select the Mandatory comment checkbox to force validators to enter a comment when they perform a workflow action. Press Create.

Notes:
- User actions are available to workflow validators in the user interface.
- Completed user actions are displayed in the comment section of the document page and in the workflow configuration. 

image_05_-_B.png

4. Select the edit button if you need to update the User action, the Completed user action or the Mandatory comment checkbox. 

 

Configure workflow transitions

1. Under Workflow in the library administration interface, open the workflow you want to configure.

2. In the source workflow state, choose the type of transition you want to create:

  • + New transition
  • + New versioning transition
  • + New check-out
  • + New check-in
  • + New discard checkout

The type of transition depends on the type of source and target workflows states.

Note: You can add multiple transitions from and to a state. However, from a given state there can be only one transition with all members of selected.

3. Choose the target state from the Transition to drop-down list.

4. Fill in the condition for the transition to occur: for a manual action, the condition is composed of an action verb and the validators of the workflow action.

5. When choosing the validator, select a role, a specific user or a specific Google Group. We recommend that you use roles, since they are easier to manage.
Learn more about roles: Configure roles

6. Define whether the document needs to be approved by:

  • Any single member of the validators - the first validator who performs the workflow action will transition the document into the target state
  • All members of the validators - the document wil transition only when all the validators have performed the workflow action

Learn more: Perform workflow actions

7. To delete a transition, press Delete at the end of a transition line.

8. Press Save or Save and Close.

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Configure transitions with automatic conditions

The AODocs workflow engine can automatically move the document into a different state when certain conditions are met.

In the source workflow state, choose the type of transition you want to create:

  • + New transition
  • + New versioning transition
  • + New check-out
  • + New check-in
  • + New discard checkout

The type of transition depends on the type of source and target workflows states.

2. Choose the target state from the Transition to drop-down list.

3. Fill in the condition for the transition to occur.

For an automatic transition, you can choose a condition based on:

  • on a date, time, duration:
    • from specified date/time
    • before/after a specific date (document property)
    • from a specific date (document property)
    • after a certain duration
  • on the value of a document property

Note: You can choose the document properties from all the custom properties and some system properties, such as creation date, document creator and last update.

4. Specify the condition rule depending on the condition chosen.
Learn more: Format of automatic transitions and examples

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5. Organize your transitions in the right order by drag-and-drop.
When entering a workflow state, AODocs checks each transition from top to bottom.The first transition that can be triggered is executed. If two transitions based on document’s properties are valid, the first one in the list of transitions is executed first.

Tip: If you are using automatic transitions based on a document property with the field type Category hierarchically organized in subcategories, the workflow transitions should be organized with the lowest subcategories values first. 

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6. If you need to delete a transition, press Delete at the end of the transition.

7. Press Save or Save and Close.


Format of automatic transitions and examples

Here are all the condition rules you can apply for a condition based "on date, time and duration".

Format 

Comment

Example

“on a specific date/time”

MM/DD/YY  HH:mm

 

The date can be chosen from a calendar

At the end of the year, all active contracts are transferred into the Archived workflow state.

“before/after a specific date (document property)”

xxx   min     before Date field property
        hours   after
        days

You can’t set an automatic transition with less than 5 minutes.

The Date field property is chosen from a drop-down list with all the system and custom properties with a “Date”, Type field only.

Contracts go to the "Soon to be expired" state 30 days before the "Expiration Date" or 1 year after the "Signature Date" of the contract, to trigger a reminder notification.

“on a specific date (document property)”

Date field property

 

The Date field property is chosen from a drop-down list with all the system and custom properties with a “Date”, Type field only.

Contracts automatically go to the "Archived" state when the "Expiration Date" has been reached.

“after a certain duration”

xxx    min
         hours
         days

         months

 

You can’t set an automatic transition with less than 5 minutes.

A reminder can be sent every week if the contract has not been approved yet.


Here are all the condition rules you can apply for a condition based "on document property":

Field Type property

Condition Choice Condition Value

Example

String



Empty
Not Empty
Contains
Equal
Not Equal
-
-
Sub-string
String
String
If the field "Context" contains the word "important", the head of Department has to sign the contract.

Text




Empty
Not Empty
Contains
Equal
Not Equal

-
-
Sub-string
String
String
 

Integer







Greater than
Less than
Strictly greater than
Strictly less than
Empty
Not Empty
Equal
Not Equal

Integer
Integer
Integer
Integer
-
-
Integer
Integer

If the "Amount" of the contract is more than 2000$, the contract has to be approved by the Financial department.
Decimal







Greater than
Less than
Strictly greater than
Strictly less than
Empty
Not Empty
Equal
Not Equal

Decimal
Decimal
Decimal
Decimal
-
-
Decimal
Decimal
 
URL



Empty
Not Empty
Equal
Not Equal

-
-
URL
URL
If the "Website of the customer" is empty, the contract goes back to the "Draft" state.
Boolean

true
false

  If a revision of the contract is needed, the contract goes back to the "Draft" state to be revised.
Person



Empty
Not Empty
Equal
Not Equal

-
-
email address
email address
If the "Approvers" field is empty, the contract is signed directly by the Head of the Department.
Category



Empty
Not Empty
Equal
Not Equal

-
-
Value of category
Value of category
If the "Type of contract" is a "Time & Material", the contract has to be approved by a specialist.
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