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Workflow objects

Workflow objects automate your organization's business processes. You can create active links, filters, and escalations to perform actions on one form or several forms. Active links, filters, and escalations share many similarities, but also have several differences that are described in this topic. When the workflow is attached to multiple forms, it is considered shared workflow. See Shared workflow for more information.

The following table lists the types of workflow objects available in AR System .

Workflow object

Description

Active link

An action or a series of actions that are triggered when a user performs an operation and are conditionally interpreted. The interpretation occurs on the AR System  client in the current form window, and run with the permission of the user. For example, you might define an active link that displays a list of all problems reported for the current workstation whenever a user presses Enter in the Workstation field. 

When an active link is executed, it can trigger varying actions as the result of a single user action. When you design an active link, you specify the conditions under which the active link executes, and further conditions to determine which action it will take. For example, if the user is a member of the Human Resources department, an active link could attach one menu to the Short Description field, or else attach a different menu if the user is a member of the Shipping department.

Active links can be grouped into execution groupings called active link guides that allow procedural processing. 

Active links cannot be run by an API program.

Filter

Used to implement and enforce your organization's business rules. A filter tests every request transaction to see if certain conditions are met, and then responds to the conditions by taking specific actions. For example, a filter can notify support staff members when they are assigned responsibility for a new request. 

Filters can act on virtually any condition that arises in a request. For example, filters can restrict how users create or modify a request. As another example, a filter can check for conditions in requests that are submitted by a network management system for a device that the system is monitoring. Then, the filter can automatically call a program to control that device. 

Filters execute on the AR System server  and run with administrator permissions. This means that filters can access any field in the AR System server database, even if the field is not available to the user (no view or change access). 

Filters can be grouped into filter guides to control the order of processing. For more information, see Defining guides and guide actions.

Escalation

Causes a condition to be checked on a regular basis and, depending on whether and how the condition is met, performs one or more actions. For example, an escalation can set the priority of a request to Urgent if the request is not closed within 24 hours, or send a page to a support staff member if a critical request has not been addressed in one hour. 

Escalations execute on the AR System server  and run with administrator permissions. Unlike filters, which run in response to a specific operation, escalations run at a specific time or after a defined time interval. Also, when they run, escalations find and act on all requests that meet a qualification, while filters act on the current request if it meets a qualification. 

At the time specified in the escalation, AR System server searches for requests that match the escalation qualification and performs the specified escalation actions on those requests that match. 

Escalations can be assigned to pools so the escalations from each pool run in parallel on separate threads within the escalation queue.

If you assign an escalation to a pool that has no thread configured, the escalation is run by the first thread.

Best Practice

When multiple escalations are assigned to the default escalation pool, performance issues might occur and because of this, an escalation runs unexpectedly.

To avoid this situation, we recommend that you create a dedicated pool of escalations and assign escalations to a different pool. For more information about creating escalation see, Creating escalations.

All escalations in a particular pool run on the same thread, so the execution of escalations within a pool is serialized. Escalations run in the order of their firing times, but an escalation is delayed if an escalation from the same pool is currently running. If two or more escalations have dependencies and must not run at the same time, put them into the same pool to make sure they run in sequence.

AR System does not support escalations if you have a read-only database. For more information on using a read-only database, see 2023-11-22_01-16-36_.Setting database options v21.05.

All workflow objects include the following elements:

You can use active link guides and filter guides to control the order of workflow actions and organize a related set of workflow objects. See Creating and managing fields

Active links allow you to create workflow designed for user interaction. You can use buttons and field menus with active links to assist the user. See Using buttons and menu bar items to execute active links

Workflow comparison


Active Links

Filters

Escalations

Where performed

Client, current form window

Server

Server

Executed by

A user performing an action

A specific operation

A specific time

Purpose

Help the user to do something

Implement and enforce business rules

Initiate and ensure timely actions

What they do

Start a series of actions that are conditionally interpreted.

Test every server transaction on the form to see if conditions are met in the current request, and respond by taking specific actions.

At a specified time or time interval, check whether conditions are met for requests existing in the form, and if so, perform actions on requests that meet conditions.

Run with permissions of

User

Administrator

Administrator

Example

Populate all name and address fields when user presses Enter in Last Name field.

Notify support staff members when they are assigned a new request.

Page a support staff member if a Critical request has not been addressed in one hour.

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