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Duet Workflow 1.0 allows you to easily enable your existing workflow user’s decision steps in Microsoft Outlook. It supports parallel and multiple steps approvals, reservation, substitution, and much more. The coolest thing is that you don’t need to be a developer to achieve this, but simply use Duet Workflow Configuration Tool to design your Duet workflow application. For more details, watch Duet Webinars (third item on the list) which explains what Duet Workflow is all about.

In this blog I’m going to discuss how to troubleshoot common issues while developing a Duet workflow application using the Duet Workflow Configuration Tool, and issues related to the runtime of the generated workflow application.

Installing the Duet Workflow Configuration Tool

In order to enjoy the benefits of Duet Workflow, you will need to install the Duet Workflow Configuration Tool on top Visual Studio 2005.

If the installation of the tool fails, you should make sure that the setup is executed from your hard drive after you have copied the setup files from the CD. In addition, make sure that you are running the correct setup file (the one located under the “Workflow Design Time” folder).

There are other prerequisites that are required for the solution to fully function. You can find the detailed instructions in the Duet Workflow documentation.

Designing a Workflow Application using Duet Workflow Configuration Tool

When designing a Duet Workflow application using the Workflow Configuration Tool, you might encounter situations where the generation of the application cannot be completed, or the deployment of the application fails.

Follow this checklist to troubleshoot such cases:

 

  • In the case the application generation fails, you should look at the generation log to identify the problem. This file (log.txt) can be found in the “GenerationTarget” folder under the Visual Studio project’s folder.

  • If the generation was completed (in release mode) but did not produce an SCA file, you should verify that JAVA JDK 1.4 (or a newer version) and Ant 1.7 are installed and that the environment variables are defined correctly (you can find the exact details in the Duet Workflow documentation: Developing a Decision Making Scenario using Duet Approval Workflow Template, page 31).
  • In case the application deployment is failing in SDM, make sure that the SDM host and port are configured correctly (you can find these settings under menu Tools > Options > Duet Workflow>Deployment section). In addition, make sure that there are no other active connections to the SDM.
  • When you use the Duet Workflow Configuration Tool to preview the application you have just designed (by debugging the solution), the “Object Identification Region” (OIR) on the Duet task pane might contain no data. This is usually because the configured parameters in the OIR region have no default values defined. To correct this, double click on the “Model Data Source” in the Visual Studio project and set default values to the parameters that are in use by the OIR region:

    Default Values

  • If the application deployment succeeded, but you cannot see the application in Duet administration environment, or the deployed application override an existing one, you should verify that you have changed the application’s display name. To change this value, go to menu Tools > Options > Duet Workflow and change the Display Name value, or simply do the same when the deployment dialog appear by choosing “Deploy Duet Application” option from the project’s context menu.

    Options

  • If you fail to run the application in debug mode (allowing you to see how the application will look and behave in Outlook), make sure you have copied the necessary files to Microsoft IBF framework path on your development machine. The steps are explained in details in the Duet Workflow documentation: Developing a Decision Making Scenario using Duet Approval Workflow Template, page 33.
Working with Duet Workflow Application

After you have finished designing and deploying a workflow application on your landscape, it is time to test it on a “real” client. There are a few configuration steps that are crucial for the application to work, and sometimes one of them is skipped or forgotten.

If you are experiencing issues on the client (items not getting into the mailbox, missing regions, disabled buttons, etc), check the following settings:

 

  • The generated application DLL should be allowed to run at the client’s and development’s machines. To add the relevant trust to the application, go to the client’s control panel > administrative tools > Microsoft .Net framework 2.0 configuration, and increase the trust level of the application’s assembly. In the clients, you can find the application’s assembly in a folder under x:documents and settingsuserlocal settingsapplication dataMicrosoftInformationBridgeFrameworkOfflineCache. In the development environment you can find the assembly in the IBF installation path (usually x:program filesMicrosoft Information Bridge1.8framework).

    If you don’t set the trust properly, some regions in the application’s task pane will not be shown or will be disabled. You might also experience exceptions and error messages when opening items that relates to your workflow application.

    Note that it is advised to replace the key signing the application with your own key. To do so simply replace the workflow.snk file in the “Workflow Configuration Tool” located in the
    esources folder of your application’s project with your own snk file. Then this key will be used in the generated application’s assembly (you will need to regenerate the application).

  • Check the Duet client’s logs (outlook process). If you find error messages like the one in the following screenshot, this means that the property defined in the bound item definition is missing (the backend did not sent it) or the property type is incorrect (the SAP system sent different data type than the one defined in the Duet Workflow Configuration Tool under “Model Data Source”). Check the SAP system configuration or the type definition in the “Model Data Source”.

    Outlook log file

  • Check Outlook hidden folder “OBAControlMessages” for failed items or items that are not getting processed. You can use Microsoft Sync Monitor or Duet Support Tool to view the items in this folder and determine their status.
  • In case items are not reaching the user’s inbox and task folders (and you noticed that there are items pending for a long time in the OBAControlMessages), verify that the “Application ID” and “Application Name” (as defined in the Duet Workflow Configuration Tool by clicking on an empty spot in the design surface) are exactly the same as configured in the SAP system. Even a lower/upper case difference might cause the application not to work on the clients:

    Backend Settings

In addition, check the bound item type configuration in the SAP system. The Groupware Object Type should match the type defined in GPW bound item type field:

Email type

Task Type

You can find this configuration on the application settings in the SIMGH transaction (advise the documentation for more details on how to access it).

 

If you still experiencing issues related to the application runtime consider using the following tools which should help in identifying the problem:

 

  1. Duet Support Tool (part of Duet CD)
  2. Microsoft Duet Log Viewer
  3. YATT – Http sniffer
  4. Outlook Spy

 

** This information was gathered with the great help of the Duet Workbench developers: Roy Fishman, Guy Blank, Neerup Sarkar and Yuval Anafi. **

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