Interactive Workflow Graph Visualizer

Interactive Workflow Graph Visualizer

One of the many advantages of Aras Innovator’s open approach is that anyone can come up with a new idea, build their package, and release it for others to use. Often called Community Projects, these range from the small tweak to the ambitious addition. Today, we’re pleased to present a community project to add a Workflow Graph visualization right to the item’s own page, as a relationship. Lets take a look, shall we?

For many items, there are many steps along their journey from creation to end-of-life requireing governance and repeatability that Workflows in Aras Innovator can deliver. Workflows are a tool to help manage that process, but while the link between an item and its workflow is present, it can take a bit of navigation to get to. This project makes that link easy, a single click, and by making that relationship a visible part of the item it reminds the user of the Workflow whenever they visit the item. In other words, this project doesn’t allow you to do new things, but it lets you do the things you always could do but do them much easier and faster.

You can download the project for yourself right here!

Installation

First, we need to get the project. Take a look at this link and download the project to any convenient place on your machine. This project is helpfully designed to work with the Aras Update tool.

  1. Start the Aras Update tool
  2. Choose “Local”
  3. Click on "Add package reference"
  4. On file dialog find installation folder "Installation" (where you extracted this solution package to locally) and click "OK"
  5. Click on "install"
  6. Review the install selection. Click on "Next"

  1. Select "Detailed logging" and click on "Next"
  2. Click on "Browse" and select your Aras installation folder (choose folder "Innovator")

  1. Click on "Import into Innovator DB" and enter your connect parameters for Innovator URL, Database, Innovator user (admin), and the User Password
  2. Click "Install" - wait until success message appears

The next time you log in to your Aras Innovator instance, everything should be set up and ready for you. Now that this project is installed, how do we use it?

 Usage

Open up an item you've got a workflow for. In our example today, we'll use ECOs, but this project is fully capable of working with ECRs, ECNs, and even PRs. In your relationships, you should see a tab for the Workflow Graph. Click it- for the moment, we'll assume you've already set up a workflow for this ItemType in the past. And that you like the Irish flag!

Not only can you see your Workflow, but there are some quick ways for you to get the information you need, all without leaving this page. Green means it's already complete, orange is the active step, and your grey and white indicate stages you haven't gone through yet. Mouse over one of your stages, and you'll be presented with a quick summary of what's going on with that stage, such as who it's assigned to and if there were any comments. Left click anywhere on the graph and hold the click, and you can drag the Workflow around to better see some part of a complicated web of connections. Your mouse scroll wheel will zoom in and out, again a useful trick in more convoluted Workflows.

Lastly, there are two more features of this project that deserve your attention. See those icons just above the Workflow Graph? A circle of arrows, a hand with a pen, and four colored squares have some shortcuts. The circle will refresh the Workflow. The pen, on the other hand, will show you the process history for that Workflow. Meanwhile, you may have recognized the four colored squares as the symbol we use for Workflows in the first place! That will open up the form for the workflow, where if you have permissions you're only a click away from editing and changing the flow. Now that is a setup worthy of the rapid, iterative processes you need in today's world!

Conclusions and Congratulations

In this article, you’ve learned of a handy new tool you can add to your Aras Innovator instance. Your users will be more likely to remember Workflows, and you’ll find more and more ways to make Workflows work for you. You’ve also learned something else, possibly even more important: Aras Innovator has a living community, constantly tinkering and, well, innovating! Next time you have a problem, take a look to see if someone else has already solved it and you can import their solution with a tweak or two to make it fit your situation. Are there any such projects you’ve already seen, or perhaps made yourself? We’d love to hear about them in the comments below!

Mike Lindner
Parents
  • Hi,

    Installed on 12SP9. Just one interesting thing. The graphic moves forward non-stop. Is it correct?

    Thanks.

    Erlandas 

  • I noticed this as well. In current versions of Chrome and Edge (Chromium version), the workflow graphic grows larger and appears to shift downward once every second. However in Firefox this does not happen, and the feature seems to work as intended, so you can at least test it out.

    I noted that to drag the map around, you need to click-hold on the white space, not on the map graphic itself. Other than that, behavior is as described in the article, albeit with some refresh oddities where the form will go blank above and then redraw. The workflow process activities are placed on the graphic with the same placement used in the workflow map itself. It doesn't appear to handle routes that double back on themselves very effectively yet, although it's likely a design choice. For instance, in the OOTB ECO workflow, I added a couple activities from Planning, then drew a path back down to Plan Review and voted through it. The red arrows below show the voting path, but when it got back to Planning, the graphic erased the path it took and it looks like it never got past Planning. However, the signoff history will still show the actual path. 

    The button to access the workflow process is handy, and the hover-to-show-signoff feature is nice for those who prefer a more interactive, visual approach to accessing history. However I did notice that when viewing signoff history that way, the option to vote directly from there is missing, so this isn't a replacement for the Signoff tab without some modification. Would be great to get a right-click option for admins or CM on the activities to access the activity itself!

    Overall a neat little option to have in your back pocket, although the difficulties with handling circular paths could present problems in some cases.

Comment
  • I noticed this as well. In current versions of Chrome and Edge (Chromium version), the workflow graphic grows larger and appears to shift downward once every second. However in Firefox this does not happen, and the feature seems to work as intended, so you can at least test it out.

    I noted that to drag the map around, you need to click-hold on the white space, not on the map graphic itself. Other than that, behavior is as described in the article, albeit with some refresh oddities where the form will go blank above and then redraw. The workflow process activities are placed on the graphic with the same placement used in the workflow map itself. It doesn't appear to handle routes that double back on themselves very effectively yet, although it's likely a design choice. For instance, in the OOTB ECO workflow, I added a couple activities from Planning, then drew a path back down to Plan Review and voted through it. The red arrows below show the voting path, but when it got back to Planning, the graphic erased the path it took and it looks like it never got past Planning. However, the signoff history will still show the actual path. 

    The button to access the workflow process is handy, and the hover-to-show-signoff feature is nice for those who prefer a more interactive, visual approach to accessing history. However I did notice that when viewing signoff history that way, the option to vote directly from there is missing, so this isn't a replacement for the Signoff tab without some modification. Would be great to get a right-click option for admins or CM on the activities to access the activity itself!

    Overall a neat little option to have in your back pocket, although the difficulties with handling circular paths could present problems in some cases.

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