Using Brute-Force to Support Multiple Workflows in SharePoint 2010
If you ever used Groove, you know its workflow supported multiple items and that model seemed to disappear when Groove Workspaces were merged into SharePoint Sites and Workspace. Many have looked for that feature in SharePoint 2010, and Eli Robillard explains how to unlock the capability in, “SharePoint 2010 Workflow for Multiple Items (Architecture).” Robillard says yes, it is possible with brute-force, as was the case in SharePoint 2007.
First, the brute-force method in 2007: While each workflow is associated with a single list item, there is also a property bag available on the workflow where you could store references to additional items, or a reference to a second workflow running in parallel, depending on how the processes for each document need to interact. The caveat is that this strategy is both complex and code-intensive.
Robillard discusses the three new constructs in SharePoint 2010 that can make it easier to build a workflow for multiple documents: Document Sets, Site Workflow, and List Relationships.
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Ken Toth, February 21, 2012