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I am currently implementing workflow in our SDL Tridion 2011 SP1 instance. Using Visio to design the workflow process, we have a manual decision at one point that can branch off into several automated activities.

When the user is finishing this manual activity and has the choice of the next activity, I would like to know how to control the order of the activities in the "Next Activity" drop-down.

Strangely the order isn't alphabetical, so I've tried several other ways to see how I might control it - activity creation order, connector creation order, connector length, and several others. What I've found is that the connectors seem to be the only thing that affects the order.

Initially it looks like the order that the connectors are created drives the drop-down's order, but as you add new activities the original connectors sometimes have priority and sometimes don't.

Once the activities are all created and I can see the order they're listed in the drop-down, I can then manipulate the connectors and control the order of the activities in the drop-down, but that seems very strange if it's the only way to control them.

Can someone educate me on better ways to do this? GUI Extension? Something I'm overlooking?

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As far as I know, that's indeed how you determine the order. You can probably use a Data Extender (login required) to change the order in the XML returned by the Core to the CME, but it sounds like over-engineering to me.

What is the business benefit you're trying to achieve by changing the order of the options? Should one option always be first? Or be first only under certain conditions?

  • There's no real need to programmatically change the order on the fly, it's more a usability issue when initially setting up the list. Basically one decision point for some admins could have 12 options to choose from. Obviously it would be nice if those were in some sort of order (since some are semi-related). I may look into the Data Extender option depending on how often we end up changing/altering the list. Thanks Nuno! – J Stuart Jun 4 '13 at 22:33
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Yes order of manual decision is tricky. You can play around in visio. Like trying to move arrows around for next 2 activities and that worked for me some times. Definitely I wished the order in drowpdown is alphabetical(that way Approve shows first and Reject next) instead order is based on tcm:id of activities stored in tridion when you load visio diagram so couldn't do much about it.

  • My experience thus far is that I can pretty consistently control the order by moving the connectors/arrows in Visio. It's just very cumbersome. It definitely would be nice if the default behavior was alphabetic which would allow the workflow designer to prepend "01" and such to their activity names in order to easily control the order (much like we do with Structure Groups, Categories & Keywords, etc). – J Stuart Jun 20 '13 at 15:20

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