Shareflex Business Application Platform
Shareflex is an ideal application development platform for building custom business applications on SharePoint Online. It also offers various out-of-the-box business applications for SharePoint Online, such as Contract – and Invoice Management. The platform owner is Portal Systems.
Without Shareflex, we are unable to realize complex SharePoint applications for our customers. This is mainly because of the SharePoint Online limitations which force us to program many functions.
Examples of such limitations are:
- Delegating a workflow task
- Neatly displaying forms with input fields
- Field input validation
- Dynamic display or not hide of input fields
- Displaying the request data in a workflow task
The beauty is that Shareflex uses various standard SharePoint Online functions such as lists, libraries, sites, workflow, email messages and permissions and adds the following additional functions:
- File integration with forms
We will discuss each of these Shareflex functions in more detail below.
Thanks to Shareflex we can develop great looking, intuitive and structured forms that are added to a SharePoint list. For example, we can provide the Shareflex forms with:
- Different tabs
- Dynamic fields that are shown with certain dependency on other fields
- Tables with calculations
- Related documents
- File security
- Dynamic field input validation
- Related other list data
The following examples show various Shareflex forms from our projects.
The Shareflex platform provides a great way to integrate files with a particular form. The example below shows a SharePoint Online form with a Word file attached that are editable by the user.
Because the added documents are stored in a SharePoint Online file library (Library), all standard SharePoint functions, such as version control, are available.
Workflow and Notifications
Workflow functions and rule-based email notifications are crucial in business applications. These functions are available out-of-the-box through the extensive Shareflex Workflow module.
Below example shows how a workflow works from the user’s perspective.
First a user fills out a certain Shareflex form on the SharePoint Online site. After clicking ‘save’ a ‘Submit Workflow’ button will appear on the form.
When the user clicks this button the list of requests with the status ‘Submitting’ for his new request is visible.
A few seconds later SharePoint Online automatically starts the workflow. The request gets a certain status. In this example ‘AP Pending Approval’.
The applicant recieves a confirmation e-mail of the request.
During the approval process the applicant can no longer change the request.
Similar to the applicant the approver also receives an e-mail with a link to the workflow task.
After clicking the link the approver sees the request with related files and approval options all together on one screen.
The approver can also see all workflow tasks with due date in the workflow task list.
In this particular example the approver rejects the request. Subsequently, the applicant receives a notification with the reason of rejection.
A delegation function that allows the approver to delegate a task to another person for a certain period of time is also available.
At the end of the workflow we can ensure that the applicant can resubmit the request or that the request remains in the list and is no longer editable. This also applies to any attached file.
This way we can create very complex serial and parallel workflows with Shareflex. For example, it is possible to make the workflow execution dependent on a specific field on the form.
Workflow developers have a consolidated overview of the total workflow on one screen so they can flawlessly build workflows.
Most appplication development tools build and test a new SharePoint application in a test Site Collection. When the test is successful the application must then be rolled out to a production SharePoint Site Collection.
However, with Shareflex this is not required. It offers a fully automatic application roll-out function. This makes the deployment of complex applications easy.
The following steps are applicable:
- All necessary application files are in a Shareflex deployment folder.
- The files SSRD.beeml and SSRD_Finalize.beeml contain all instructions to roll out the application fully automatically to the new SharePoint site
- The content of the SSRD.beeml file is loaded into the Shareflex deployment tool.
- After a few minutes, the entire application is present on the new SharePoint Online production site.
- The final step is to set up the permissions manually so the application can be used.
You can also use this deployment method to update existing applications. In fact it is one of the reasons why we love to use Shareflex.
Apart for SharePoint Online, Shareflex is also available for SharePoint On Premise.