K2 Appit for SharePoint

Author by Concurrency Blog

K2 and SharePoint seem to have been made to work together. While we know that wasn't truly the case, K2's powerful integration features allow for almost any business process automation (BPA) concept to be a reality. K2 is a middleware and workflow engine capable of connecting to many of Microsoft's most widely used applications and services, such as Exchange, SQL Server, Dynamics CRM, Office - and perhaps most importantly, SharePoint. I recently had the opportunity to take a look at K2's new product, Appit, which directly integrates with SharePoint and makes BPA faster and easier than ever. Let's take a look at Appit on a high level, then jump into some differences between Appit and other K2 products.

How Appit Works

Appit is K2's new product built on the K2 Blackpearl platform. K2 Blackpearl workflows have the possibility of integrating with SharePoint and they are often used for that purpose. Appit is slightly different in that you can design all the components of a modern application right from within SharePoint, rather than one of the designers provided by K2. Once Appit is installed, you will see entry points for lists and libraries. You can start Appit by following these steps:
  1. Open any SharePoint site.
  2. Navigate to a list or library, or create one if one does not exist.
  3. With the list or library open, click the List option on the ribbon, and then under the K2 section, click Application. If you do not see the K2 section, K2 Appit may not have been installed properly. Note that you must be a SCA (site collection administrator) on SharePoint to launch Appit.
  4. Once Appit loads, you will see a screen with various items related to your list/library. K2 has already created initial SmartObjects, SmartForms, Reports and a Workflow for you. From here, you can continue building your application.
k2appit

What's Different?

While the core functionality and features of K2 workflows, SmartForms and SmartObjects haven't changed, K2 has made it much more convenient for basic SharePoint users to start their first K2 project. Appit organizes your project components much better than other designers and makes it easy to find things. Deploying a process to the K2 server is as simple as clicking a button. Finally, unlike some of the other design tools such as K2 Studio, Appit allows you to design SmartForms directly from the SharePoint page (above). It's a great way to get all of your K2 work done in one place. One disadvantage with Appit is that you have to be a site collection administrator in order to launch the product and get working, which I found a little strange.

The Verdict

Even though Appit is launched from a SharePoint list or library, it is not restricted to SharePoint integration only. Your workflow can integrate with CRM, Exchange, A/D, and many other providers that most K2 design tools offer. Overall, K2 Appit is a great choice for your BPA needs if you are working with SharePoint as your content management platform. Learn more about K2 Appit here.
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