Shareflex Under the bonnet

Video transcript

In this video I will explain what the Shareflex platform looks like under the bonnet, and how a Shareflex application can be built and deployed.

Once the Shareflex app has been uploaded to your SharePoint App Catalog, it can be added to one or more site collections. It will then create a Shareflex Core site with several lists and libraries. I will go over some of them.

All application specific resources that are needed to deploy an application are stored in the Deployment library.

In the Logs list you can find all system and application logs.

The Form Configuration library contains all Shareflex form files.

In the List Events Configuration library, all Business Rule Engine scripts are stored. These proprietary scripts perform certain tasks when a list item or document gets created or modified.

There are multiple ways to create a Shareflex application. Before you can design your Shareflex forms, you will first need to create the application specific lists and libraries.

You can do this through the SharePoint interface, but it can also be done with the Business Environment Engine, which is a Shareflex-proprietary XML-based scripting language. This language makes it easy to automate the deployment of your Shareflex application.

This is an example of a deployment script. Among other things, it includes instructions to create a SharePoint site, a document library, and several lists.

Many options can be specified in this script. For example, the ‘mode’ attribute is used to define whether something needs to be created or updated.

The Shareflex Provisioning Client can be used to validate or execute the script.

Alternatively, it can also be directly executed from within Visual Studio Code. To demonstrate what is happening, I will only execute the first part of the script now.

As you can see, it created a new site, with several standard SharePoint lists.

Now that the lists have been created, the Forms can be designed with the Shareflex Forms Wizard.

The Shareflex form looks a lot like the default SharePoint form, but unlike SharePoint, Shareflex offers a significant amount of customizability.

Saving your Shareflex form creates a one or more HTML and JavaScript files. It is possible to modify these files, if you need even more customizability.

Shareflex even offers a feature-packed React-based library to make life easy for developers. This library is much simpler to use than the SharePoint API.

I will now execute the second part of the deployment script, to update the forms with designs I made before.

You can see that it replaced the original form files.

The new form layout looks very different, and the fields are spread over two tab pages.

Attachment files can be added by dragging and dropping. They will be uploaded to a dedicated document library, and are internally linked to the list item.

This application also has a workflow, which was made with the Shareflex Workflow Designer.

One or more workflow bindings can be added to link the workflow to a list. It is possible to define multiple start conditions.

The entire workflow can be exported, and imported either manually or programmatically.

In this case, the workflow will start after clicking on a menu button.

All active workflow tasks can be found in a dedicated Workflow Tasks list. Users can only see the tasks they have been assigned to.

With Shareflex, it takes very little effort to make a simple application. But the platform is also powerful and flexible enough to create business applications with complex workflows.

That is why there is extensive documentation available, with plenty of examples.




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