Highlight Element by CheckBox State

{{7/16/2015 Workflow 7.6 update — review this update for new info on this post.}}

In response to a post on Symantec Connect, I built a quick Workflow demo project to show how to use CSS and Javascript to highlight a required section panel when a CheckBox is checked.


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Input Range Sliders

I had a need for a “Duration” field, and liked the idea of (instead of using a masked textbox or two dates (start and end)) using range sliders to increment the duration parts of the value.


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Workflow Short – pageLoad() and Dynamic Update Panels

A quick note on using DynamicUpdatePanels and body onload events.  The update panels, when updated, do not trigger the body’s onload event.  To get past this, we can use the form’s “Script” section and use the native function pageLoad() to run the actions we want to have happen.

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Workflow Short – Dynamically Size a Workflow Webform

Treat this entry as a proof-of-concept, as I just discovered it today, and haven’t thoroughly tested the potential or outcomes of this method.

Using javascript, we’re able to dynamically resize a form to provide more real-estate when required.


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Workflow Short – oninput Event

As I don’t have a lot of experience with Javascript outside of Workflow, I was, prior to yesterday, unfamiliar with the “oninput” function.  As it turns out, it’s a bit better for most of the value validations than what I was using previously (onchange).  Here’s a quick rundown on how to make use of this feature.


Much like the method for adding the “placeholder” attribute, and similar to the onchange event, we’re going to need to use javascript to add the “oninput” event attribute to an element on body onload.

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Workflow Short – Validating Whether Values Exists

Whether this is a great, or extensible, or lazy, or short-sighted solution is likely quite debatable.  However, I use this method for nearly every variable evaluation, and have never had a terrible issue with it.

Let’s set up a situation — say you’re doing a search for a set of values in a SQL table.  The results need to be mapped to another variable, but if there are no results (null), the mapping component fails.  We need to verify that a value exists prior to leading the data to the mapping component.

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Keeping a Tidy Workflow Canvas

Have a look at two examples of sprawling processes, and imagine trying to make sense of them.  The first I can take credit for; the second, I can only take credit for grabbing a screenshot when I saw it.

Symantec Workflow Unkempt Designer Canvas
Click for a larger view of sprawling process number one.

Let’s take a look at how to keep a readable, usable Workflow canvas, and untangle that spaghetti.

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Workflow Form Element Transition and Animation Effects with CSS

Here’s a short post on how to achieve transition effects with CSS in your Workflow forms.  First, a couple of examples:

Symantec Workflow CSS Transtitions on Forms
This transition effect is based on the two states of the element having different opacities as well as height, width, and visibility.


Symantec Workflow CSS Transtitions on Forms
256-color .gif files don’t really help illustrate subtle color changes.

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Workflow Basics – Modular Workflows

Symantec Workflow Model Tree
Modularizing your workflow processes does wonders for readability.

After I gained a bit of experience with Workflow, I began to attempt to tackle more complex processes.  While developing these, I ended up with a sprawling mess of a canvas, duplicate evaluations and actions, and path lines jumping all over the place and each other.  It was at that point that another, more experienced Workflow developer showed me the importance of modular processes, how to configure them, when to use them, and the difference between model types.

Symantec Workflow Designer Toolbar
This button on the Workflow Designer toolbar resizes the canvas to fit the diagram window.

First helpful rule: if using the “fit to screen” zoom button renders the Workflow tiny and  indecipherable, then you could likely benefit from some linked or embedded models.  We’ll go over the different types shortly.

Symantec Workflow Embedded Rule Model Component

Second helpful rule: the easiest way to simplify the sprawl of a workflow is to group components into Embedded Rule Model components.  Embedded Rule Models are like using folders to sort a stack of random documents on your desk into a nice, neat filing system.

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Sending a Javascript Event from an Iframe to its Parent

In this use case, I have a form with an embedded Iframe.  In the Iframe, I have a small webform that is continuously recycling to update the status of a patch staging/download task.

Symantec Workflow Patch Management Staging Status
The small panel cap at the bottom of the right column is an iframe component. The contents are a simple web form project that automatically recycles every few seconds in order to query the staging status.

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