Monday 1 August 2016

Display related item repeating section in Nintex Workflow task form Nintex

Last week I worked with a customer that had repeating sections in Nintex Forms 2013 item form and Nintex Workflow 2013 workflow associated with the list. The customer had the requirement to be able to properly display the repeating section data in the workflow task forms. This requirement does not seems to be a straightforward to accomplish, but in this post I am going to demonstration that this is actually very simple and since I haven't found this in other sources I am sharing my solution and other useful links in this post.
The issue with the repeating section is that it is living as "section"only in the form. You can connect the entire repeating section to a field with type "Multiple lines of text" and you will see that our repeating section value is actually saved as XML.

Nintex Repeating Section

The item actually looks like this:

Nintex Repeating Section  Form

The first nice thing that is not directly related to the title of this post is to make the XML data looks better in List View. To accomplish this I am going to use the CSR (Client-side rendering) approach demonstrated in this post "Displaying Repeating Section as table in List View - the CSR approach". Adapting and applying the script to my list view gives me below result that is way better than the XML.

Repeating Section CSR

The way to make sense out of the repeating section in workflow is by querying the XML from the field. I will not go in dept since there are many resource on the subject. One thing that can help you in this task is this article "Nintex Forms/Workflow - Parsing Repeating Section Data" by Vadim Tabakman.
Now to the reason to write this post. If you have tasks in your workflow it will not be unusual you or your customer/users to want to see the related item properties right in the task form instead clicking on links. If you leave the form as it is, the best you can get is to view the repeating section as XML. You can edit the task forms with Nintex Forms for most of the task templates you will get a good starting point and all item properties controls will be created. However check out how this controls look like in three common tasks. From left to right Flexi Task, Request review and Request data.

Nintex Task Forms

As you can see the data from the repeating section is displayed as XML. Even in the "Request data" template where I have used "List item" control to display the related item. 
This was also the case with the customer, they had many "Request data" tasks and all of them were using "List item" control to display the related item.
The solution to this is very simple, just create a new repeating section in the task form, recreate all child controls by replicating the data type and the Name of the controls. Then connect the repeating section control to the related item field that contains the XML from the related item. Checkout how a Flexi task looks like if you recreate the repeating section as described.

Flexi Task Form

The data from the repeating section in the related item is represented as repeating section in the task form as well. Just make sure that the names of the controls are as in the original item, make the repeating section read only in the task form and you will be completely fine.
I tested the same approach in SharePoint 2016 and Office 365. However something interesting is happening with the XML as you can see in the screenshot below (the field is called Rep)

Task Form Office 365

The important thing is that the repeating section is visualized as expected. If I found what is happening with the XML might blog about it.
I hope that this was helpful! 

1 comment:

  1. To clarify Ivan's statement, "The solution to this is very simple, just create a new repeating section in the task form, recreate all child controls by replicating the data type and the Name of the controls"

    Since my repeating section had list lookups, I had to add list lookups on the task form (using the same control name), and change the Advanced Control Mode to "Display".

    Note that the XML contains the control names, so if you changed them on the form, existing items will not display properly if you re-run the workflow.