Creating a workflow

You can create a workflow by copying a workflow and adding steps and step chains to processing phases in the order that you want Ricoh ProcessDirector to do them. Delete any steps that you do not need. You set default values for some job properties as part of the workflow.

Ricoh ProcessDirector provides several sample workflows. You can modify these workflows or, to create a workflow that is similar to an existing workflow, you can copy the existing workflow and edit it.

We recommend that you plan your workflow before you create it. Outline the processing steps that your jobs pass through, and make sure that the step templates required to create those steps exist. If any of the step templates that you need do not exist, create them before you create the workflow.

Step chains must have one entry point, a single step at the beginning of the step chain that all jobs process through. They can, however, have multiple endpoints, or steps with no outbound connector. When a step chain is placed in a workflow, it might be connected to one or more steps for jobs both entering and exiting the step chain. If the step chain has multiple endpoints, all of the end points continue processing following the outbound connector. If there are multiple outbound connectors, each endpoint is evaluated against the connectors following the order of execution and the job proceeds down the correct path.

    Note:
  • We strongly recommend that all workflows begin with a SetJobPropsFromTextFile step and end with a RemoveJobs step.
  • If files for data streams that a workflow does not support can enter the workflow, we recommend these best practices:
    • Add a DetectInputDataStream step after the SetJobPropsFromTextFile step.
    • After the DetectInputDataStream step, add a branch with 1 step: FailWithMessage. Set the value of the Failure message property to Unexpected datastream encountered. On the connector from the DetectInputDataStream step to the next step in the workflow, set a conditional processing rule that defines the input data streams. For example, specify that the Input data stream property equals PDF.
To create a workflow:
  1. Click the Workflow tab.
  2. In the left pane, click Workflows.
  3. Right-click a workflow that you want to use as a model and select Copy.
      Note:
    • If you want to start with a workflow that has two steps, SetJobPropsFromTextFile and RemoveJobs, with a connector between them, click Add.
  4. Name the copy of the workflow, fill in or edit other values that you need, and click Continue.
    You see the workflow's steps in the workflow editor.
  5. Review the steps in each phase of the workflow.
    The default processing phases in the base product are Receive, Prepare, Print, and Complete. Some features add other phases such as Assemble or Insert.
      Note:
    • The default phase names can be changed to match the functions that you perform in that phase.
  6. Delete any steps that you do not need. Right-click the step and select Delete.
  7. Add each new step and step chain:
    1. To add a step, click Step Templates in the top right corner of the workflow editor.
    2. Click a step template and drag it into the workflow editor. Place the step where you want it.
    3. To add a step chain, click Step Chains in the top right corner of the workflow editor.
    4. Click a step chain and drag it into the workflow editor. Place the step chain where you want it.
        Note:
      • If you place the new step or step chain over a connector, you must delete the connector, and reconnect the two steps that were previously joined by the connector to the new step or step chain.
      • You can use the same name for more than one step or step chain. When you add a step or step chain with the same name as an existing step or step chain in the same processing phase, Ricoh ProcessDirector assigns the new step or step chain a Step identifier property value. The value has a number at the end of the step or step chain name, for example, AssignJobValues2. Each time you add another step or step chain with the same name in the same phase, Ricoh ProcessDirector increments the number by one, for example, AssignJobValues3. You see the Step identifier property value in the step and job properties notebooks, messages, and system logs.
  8. Connect the steps and step chains:
    1. Hover over the edge of the step or step chain that sends jobs to the new step or step chain. Click and hold a highlighted section () to make the connector appear.
    2. Drag the connector onto the step or step chain that receives jobs from the new step or step chain. Wait until a section of the step or step chain is highlighted, and release the mouse button.
        Note:
      • You can attach the connector to the top, bottom, or either side of the step or step chain.
        Important:
      • If a step uses conditional processing, Ricoh ProcessDirector uses the values specified in the Order of execution property of each connector to determine which connector to try first. If a step or step chain sends jobs to three different steps or step chains, Ricoh ProcessDirector first attempts to send each job through the connector with an Order of execution value of 1. If a job does not meet the conditions for that connector, Ricoh ProcessDirector attempts to send the job through the connector with an Order of execution value of 2. If a job does not meet those conditions either, Ricoh ProcessDirector attempts to send the job through the next connector in the execution order. If a connector processes all jobs that do not meet the conditions specified by the other connectors, make sure that connector has the highest Order of execution value.
  9. To change the order of the steps or step chains:
    1. Drag a step or step chain to a new position.
      The connectors reposition themselves as the step or step chain moves.
    2. Delete each connector that you do not want. Right-click the connector and select Delete.
    3. Make a new connection by hovering over the edge of the sending step or step chain. Click and hold a highlighted section () to make the connector appear, and drag the connector onto the receiving step or step chain. Wait until a section of the step or step chain is highlighted, and release the mouse button.
  10. Specify property values for each step and step chain:
    1. Right-click the step or step chain and select Properties.
    2. On each tab in the properties notebook, fill in or edit values for any required properties.
      An asterisk, *, indicates that a property is required.
    3. Fill in or edit values for any optional properties that you plan to use.
      You can also specify default values for job properties without editing each step, using the Manage job defaults action. Right-click on the Workflow editor and select Manage job defaults.
    4. When you are finished, click OK.
        Note:
      • Ricoh ProcessDirector remembers the values that you enter for each step and step chain but does not save them until you save the workflow.
  11. If a step or step chain sends jobs to multiple steps or step chains, right-click each connector from the sending step or step chain to a receiving step or step chain, and select Properties. Specify a conditional processing rule for the connector, and click OK.
  12. When you are ready to save the workflow, review it for completeness.
    Only one step must start the workflow. That step does not receive jobs from other steps. All other steps and step chains must have connections through which they receive jobs.
  13. Save the workflow by selecting Save workflow from the More menu to the left of the workflow name.
  14. When you are ready to use the workflow, enable it by selecting Enable workflow from the More menu to the left of the workflow name.
    Ricoh ProcessDirector validates the workflow when you enable it. If any steps or step chains are not connected properly, Ricoh ProcessDirector issues a message.
      Note:
    • You cannot enable a workflow if:
      • Any step or step chain is not connected to other steps or step chain.
      • More than one step or step chain has no connector coming to it.
      Alert (Alert icon) icons show steps that do not meet the requirements.
    • To enable a workflow before you finish it, make sure that all steps and step chains, except the step that starts the workflow, receive jobs from other steps or step chains. If necessary, add connectors before you enable the workflow. Remove them the next time you work on the workflow.