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Author's profile photo William van Strien

Programmatically set decision of Duet Enterprise task

In our award-winning VIEW (Virtual Integrated Enterprise Workplace) concept we include a generic inbox. In the generic inbox tasks are aggregated from multiple sources: SAP, SharePoint, Oracle, proprietary systems, and so on. The user sees in his/her inbox all outstanding tasks from the diverse task backends. And it is also supported to direct handle the tasks from the generic inbox.

To make the generic inbox real also for Duet Enterprise tasks, it is required to programmatically approve them via the inbox instead of via the standard Duet Enterprise task forms. A good start how to achieve this is article ‘how to create Duet SharePoint webparts’ of Ravi Sharma, in which he uses programmatic Duet Enterprise task approval as an example.

The approach Ravi takes in his setup is to directly update the SAP task by invoke via SharePoint BCS Application Programming Interface (API), explict self the wfUpdate method on the DuetEnterprise WorkflowTask External ContentType. And if the SAP task update is successful, also afterwards alter the SharePoint task that functions as reference or placeholder in SharePoint context to that SAP task.

Although this approach works, it has multiple architectural disadvantages:

  • It bypasses the standard Duet Enterprise workflow capability to update the SAP task via the SharePoint task
  • It effectively duplicates some of the code and working of the internals of Duet Enterprise workflow update. As architect, I very much dislike any code duplication.
  • Per conceptual task update, 2 tasks must be explicit updated: first the SAP task, next the SharePoint task. This makes the task handling more complex.
  • There is a clear difference in the approval of SharePoint tasks that are created via Duet Enterprise workflow capability, versus regular SharePoint tasks (from any SharePoint workflow, e.g. document approval)

I favor the approach to handle all SharePoint tasks, including the ones that are instantiated as result of Duet Enterprise workflow publication, the same. And be ignorant of what happens in the SharePoint context and possible beyond as result of the task decision update. To achieve this, my SharePoint task update code is a variant on the ‘updateSharePointTask’ method of Ravi. And in this approach, I have no need for the ‘updateSAPTask’ method, as this responsibility is handled by the standard Duet Enterprise workflow capability.

There are 2 caveats when programmatically update Duet Enterprise tasks:

  1. Generic for SharePoint tasks: extendedproperties field ‘ows_taskstatus’ must have been set for the task update to be accepted. However, you cannot set this direct self, but set it indirect by this code snippet:

    SetSharePointTask ows_taskstatus.png

  2. Specific for Duet Enterprise tasks: In ItemUpdating eventreceiver, multiple checks are done to verify that it is indeed the intention to propagate to SAP. One of these checks is that a string-compare is done on both the set status text as status code. If this string-concattenation is not present in the Duet Enterprise task PossibleOutcomes (you specify this when you in SharePoint ‘Configure a new SAP workflow task type’), then the SharePoint task update succeeds, but the update is silently not propagated onto the connected SAP side. To make sure the programatically set status text is in sync with the configured PossibleOutcomes, I derive the status text based on that same configured PossibleOutcomes:


The complete code example to programmatically set the decision on SharePoint task, which via Duet Enterprise workflow capability then propagate the decision made to the connected SAP task:

Programmatic Update SharePoint task.png

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