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!
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.
- Start the Aras Update tool
- Choose “Local”
- Click on "Add package reference"
- On file dialog find installation folder "Installation" (where you extracted this solution package to locally) and click "OK"
- Click on "install"
- Review the install selection. Click on "Next"
- Select "Detailed logging" and click on "Next"
- Click on "Browse" and select your Aras installation folder (choose folder "Innovator")
- Click on "Import into Innovator DB" and enter your connect parameters for Innovator URL, Database, Innovator user (admin), and the User Password
- 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?
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!