Geocortex Workflow enables you to automate your custom business processes so you can include them in your web mapping applications. A workflow represents one such automated process. For example, a municipality could build a workflow that finds flood-damaged tax parcels within an area requested by the user. Or an oil and gas company could build a workflow that locates anomalies in a pipeline and ranks them by severity, allowing the engineers to intelligently schedule the repair work.
Workflows often guide the user through a number of steps to accomplish a particular task, gathering input from the user, operating on the input, presenting interim results, prompting for more input, and so on until the task is complete. To accomplish a task, you can perform sophisticated spatial analysis, query databases, manipulate a map and its features, and more.
Activities are the building blocks of a workflow. Each activity represents a unit of work. For example, there is an activity to set a map's extent, an activity to perform geocoding, and an activity to gather input from the user. In all, Geocortex Workflow provides over 200 activities for building workflows.
The Toolbox in Geocortex Workflow Designer lists the available activities. To build a workflow, you drag activities from the Toolbox onto the design surface and connect the activities into a flowchart. The completed flowchart represents the process that the workflow automates. Each activity is a step in the process.
Most activities have inputs—the values that the activity operates on—and outputs—the results of the activity's operations. When you add an activity to a workflow, you customize the activity by configuring the activity's inputs. The outputs are computed when the workflow runs.
Geocortex Workflow includes a powerful tool for building workflows, Geocortex Workflow Designer. Designer's drag-and-drop interface and library of predefined activities simplify the process of creating custom functionality for your web mapping applications, without programming.
Forms allow end users to enter information for the workflow to operate on. For example, a workflow that locates an address for the user could include a form where the user enters the address.
In addition to gathering textual information like addresses, you can use forms to get dates, numbers, map locations (geometries), and more, or to get the user to select from arbitrary items that are either defined in the workflow or retrieved from a database when the workflow runs.
Geocortex Workflow provides over twenty configurable elements for building forms, like the Auto Complete, Geometry Picker, Date Picker, Number Slider, and Text Area elements. Just as activities are the building blocks of workflows, form elements are the building blocks of forms. When you design a form, the Toolbox contains form elements instead of activities. To build the form, you drag form elements from the Toolbox to the design surface and place them in the order that you want them to appear to the end user.
Expressions are a way to specify the inputs for an activity when you don't know what the input's value will actually be. Expressions specify how to find or compute input values when the workflow runs.
The most common use for expressions is to access the output of activities that have already run. For example, if you have an activity that calculates the length of a geometry, you could follow it with an activity that displays the calculated length. When you build the workflow, you don't know what the actual length will be, but you do know which activity will calculate the length, so you use an expression that gets the output of the activity that calculated the length.
To help you build expressions, Geocortex Workflow Designer provides auto-complete suggestions when you enter an expression. This allows you to select from a list of possible items for each part of the expression.