Playing with Notifications again…

I have been working with a client since December’08 (on and off) implementing an end to end K2/Sharepoint/Formservices solution. One aspect of the K2 process application we have been building is to notify various parties involved about whats going on and what they have to do, etc via…surprise surprise… emails 🙂

We looked at out-of-the-box client event notifications, Mail events in process and the event bus. We have chosen to go with the event bus for a number of reasons and I think this highlights the value of this component of the K2 platform:
1) We have about 26 different notifications
2) Business wanted to manage the content of these emails
3) The content will have a high degree of change in formatting, wording and data values from the process
4) No need to guarantee delivery of these emails, any error in sending does not have to affect the process instances

We wanted to rapidly build this application using Infopath formservices and outsourcing the email bits to client stake holders would free up the developers from the pain of getting those email notifications right. The notification events were created in reaction to some ‘proxy’ server events in the process. By giving business users the ability to change the email bits without a re-deploy means, less testing and immediate effect on process instances in motion – all are welcomed side effects.

The current inability to port email notifications from one environment to another automatically, works to our advantage to get the K2 workspace to be used in production directly by users sort out the emails there. We noted the lack of drag-n-drop ability for the XMLDatafields in the notification event designer UI and lack of file attachments but have managed to work around them. We created process datafields for some of these data values and made sure that is reflected by some server events. We also do some of the file attachment emails from within the process.

Got a few things to share re: out of the box task notifications. You can modify the message by updating the email template. but, be careful! You must ensure you include the tag [UrlWithSN] somewhere in there (I put it behind an html comment block) as otherwise you will get an exception when trying to deploy the notification event. see my response to this post on K2underground. Also you need to update the from email address used by K2 by updating the config files found under hostserverbin directory on the server install directory. (Search for string “System@K2.local”)

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