Christmas Bonus - Workflow with comments in Sitefinity 3.x

Christmas Bonus - Workflow with comments in Sitefinity 3.x

December 25, 2009 0 Comments

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In this blog post I will show you how to create a workflow with comments. This is very useful when the workflow for your website is enabled and you want to leave a message to your content editors why a give content has been approved, declined, published. Generally the idea is only to leave a message when you decline a content item, so your editor will be able to fix the problem with this content and send it back for approval. Here is what I did to get workflow comments working.

1. I created a new metakey called WorkflowDeclineComment1

<add key="News.WorkflowDeclineComment1" valueType="ShortText" visible="True" searchable="True" sortable="True"></add> 

As you can see I added the metakey for news provider, but you can do it for each other Generic Content based provider( Events, Blogs, Generic_Conent.

2. Then I mapped the NewsItemPreview external template through ControlsConfig file.

    <viewSettings hostType="Telerik.News.WebControls.Admin.NewsItemPreview" 
                  layoutTemplatePath="~/Sitefinity/Admin/ControlTemplates/News/NewsItemPreview.ascx" /> 

3. I modified the template by adding one TextBox and one Label. The texbox will be used by the approver to set text when a content item is declined. I used jQuery to toggle the TexBox on click. The Literal will be visible to all.

<%@ Control Language="C#" AutoEventWireup="true" CodeFile="NewsItemPreview.ascx.cs" Inherits="Sitefinity_Admin_ControlTemplates_News_NewsItemPreview" %> 
<%@ Register TagPrefix="telerik" Namespace="Telerik.Workflow.WebControls" Assembly="Telerik.Workflow" %> 
<%@ Register TagPrefix="telerik" Namespace="Telerik.Cms.Engine.WebControls" Assembly="Telerik.Cms.Engine" %> 
<%@ Register TagPrefix="telerik" Namespace="Telerik.Localization.WebControls" Assembly="Telerik.Localization" %> 
<telerik:JsFileLink id="jsLink" runat="server" ScriptType="jQuery" /> 
<script type="text/javascript"
    $(document).ready(function() { 
        $("#" + "<%= postCommentsPlh.ClientID %>").hide(); 
    function ToggleDiv() { 
          $("#" + "<%= postCommentsPlh.ClientID %>").toggle("slow"); 
<div class="ToolsAll"
    <asp:Label ID="lockedWarning" runat="server"
            <asp:Literal ID="Literal1" runat="server" Text="<%$Resources:IsEditingContent %>"></asp:Literal> 
    <div class="backWrapp"
        <asp:HyperLink ID="BackButton1" CssClass="actions back" runat="server"
            <asp:Literal ID="Literal2" Text="<%$Resources:BackToAllNewsItems %>" runat="server" /> 
                            <telerik:RadTab Text="<%$Resources:View %>" ></telerik:RadTab> 
                            <telerik:RadTab Text="<%$Resources:Edit %>" ></telerik:RadTab> 
                            <telerik:RadTab Text="<%$Resources:History %>" ></telerik:RadTab> 
    <div class="clear"><!-- --></div
<div id="divWorkArea" runat="server" class="workArea"
    <telerik:MessageControl runat="server" ID="message1"
            <asp:Label runat="server" ID="messageText"></asp:Label> 
    <div class="view"
            <telerik:WorkflowMenu ID="workflowMenu" runat="server" /> 
        <asp:HyperLink ID="editCommand1" runat="server" CssClass="CmsButLeft editdark"
                <strong class="CmsButRight dark"
                    <asp:Literal ID="editLiteral" runat="server" Text="<%$Resources:EditThisNews %>"></asp:Literal> 
<href="javascript:void(0)" id="test1" onclick="ToggleDiv();">Leave Workflow comment</a> 
       <div runat="server" id="postCommentsPlh"
        <asp:TextBox runat="server" ID="WorkflowDeclineComment1" /> 
 <asp:Label ID="WorkflowMessageLabel1" runat="server" /> 


4. I created a code behind of the template

  • OnPreRender - get the item and set the text of the label
  • Page_Load - get the itemand hide the texbox depending on the current user permissions using. You can do the same for the link that is used to show the TextBox
  • Inside Command event of WorkflowMenu I added the logic used to get the EventActivity CommandName and set the metadata using SetMetaData method.

    The important this here is that we have to work with StagedContent.


public partial class Sitefinity_Admin_ControlTemplates_News_NewsItemPreview : System.Web.UI.UserControl 
    protected override void OnPreRender(EventArgs e) 
            NewsItemPreview itemPreview = (NewsItemPreview)this.Parent.Parent; 
            Guid contentID = new Guid(CmsHttpRequest.Current.QueryStirng[itemPreview.ParameterKey]); 
            IContent content = itemPreview.Manager.GetContent(contentID); 
            WorkflowMessageLabel1.Text = (string)content.GetMetaData("WorkflowDeclineComment1"); 
    protected void Page_Load(object sender, EventArgs e) 
          workflowMenu.Command += new CommandEventHandler(workflowMenu_Command); 
          NewsItemPreview itemPreview = (NewsItemPreview)this.Parent.Parent; 
          Guid contentID = new Guid(CmsHttpRequest.Current.QueryStirng[itemPreview.ParameterKey]); 
          StagedContent content = itemPreview.Manager.GetCurrentState(contentID); 
          GlobalPermission perm; 
          perm = itemPreview.Manager.GetPermission(content); 
          WorkflowDeclineComment1.Visible = perm.CheckDemand(WorkflowRights.Approve); 
    void workflowMenu_Command(object sender, CommandEventArgs e) 
        WorkflowInstance instance = ((WorkflowMenu)sender).GetWorkflow(); 
        if (instance != null
            List<EventActivity> commands = new List<EventActivity>(); 
            this.LoadCommands(commands, instance.Activity.Activities); 
            int idx = int.Parse((string)e.CommandArgument); 
            if ((commands.Count > idx) && !(commands[idx].CommandName.Equals("Publish"))) 
                NewsItemPreview itemPreview = (NewsItemPreview)this.Parent.Parent; 
                Guid contentID = new Guid(CmsHttpRequest.Current.QueryStirng[itemPreview.ParameterKey]); 
                StagedContent content = itemPreview.Manager.GetCurrentState(contentID); 
                switch (commands[idx].CommandName) 
                    case "SendForApproval"
                        content.SetMetaData("WorkflowDeclineComment1", WorkflowDeclineComment1.Text); 
                        newsManager.Content.SavedStagedContent(content, ContentStatus.Published);                                         
                    case "Approve"
                        content.SetMetaData("WorkflowDeclineComment1", WorkflowDeclineComment1.Text); 
                        newsManager.Content.SavedStagedContent(content, ContentStatus.Published); 
                    case "Decline"
                        content.SetMetaData("WorkflowDeclineComment1", WorkflowDeclineComment1.Text); 
                        newsManager.Content.SavedStagedContent(content, ContentStatus.Published); 
                    case "Publish"
                        content.SetMetaData("WorkflowDeclineComment1", WorkflowDeclineComment1.Text); 
                        newsManager.Content.SavedStagedContent(content, ContentStatus.Published); 
    private void LoadCommands(List<EventActivity> commands, IList<Activity> activities) 
        foreach (Activity act in activities) 
            if (act is EventActivity) 
            this.LoadCommands(commands, act.Activities); 

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