Wrestling the “K2 for SharePoint” Bear


Although my main responsibilities revolve around business development, I have a deep love for technology.  I feel way more confident discussing something with partners and prospective clients when I understand the inner workings (to a degree) of something.

Making promises I might not be able to keep is not the way I like to roll and giving clients on the spot “this is possible” type feedback is one of the reasons I believe people like having me around.  #Smiles

This led me to delving into the K2 for SharePoint beast a few weeks ago just to refresh my already solid knowledge of this amazing platform.  Having done my K2 Solutions Professional training some time ago and coupling that with personal endeavors down the K2 AppIt road I knew that delving into the latest version of K2 and the K2 for SharePoint training wouldn’t be too difficult.

Remote On Demand Training

For those unaware of the K2 ecosystem, as partners and clients, you have the ability to request “remote services” via the K2 portal.  A variety of options exist, one of them being training.  I selected the “K2 for SharePoint” application builder and got going.

Within a few days, my VM was up and my training videos and content was accessible.  I quickly worked my way through a few modules following the exercises on the provisioned virtual machine.

The amount of content available at present is really astounding.  There is the official training material, there is the help.k2.* site and then there is YouTube.  The K2 community site also helps with queries that you may have.  Throughout the entire process I always felt I had enough information at hand to complete the tasks and continue with my education.

Remote Assistance

Post the training I assisted one of our implementation teams to configure K2 for SharePoint (putting it in practice) and ran into a bit of  a show stopper.  I went onto the portal and requested remote assistance.  Note:  This is different to logging a ticket, this is someone doing a screen share and talking you through a resolution.

After a day, someone was assigned and quickly worked through my challenge and resolved the issue.

Challenge 1 – OAuth over HTTP

In this scenario, our environment was still configured to run on HTTP, so we had to set “Allow OAuth via HTTP” to “True” as by default this is off.  Note:  It’s recommended to run K2 on SSL, but remember that both K2 and SharePoint need to run on the same protocol for it to work.

Challenge 2 – App Catalog Permissions

This wasn’t really a K2 issue, but more a SharePoint app catalog thing, but it’s worth mentioning.  After getting everything working, I setup permissions on the K2 server to allow certain users to design processes etc.  I confirmed that the people were in the right SharePoint groups and I ran the “synchronisation” from the K2 for SharePoint app settings.  Still, none admin users couldn’t design processes, weird!

After a coffee and some reflection I realised that when they click on the app, they are getting a “Site is not shared with you” and I simply gave them “Reader” permissions on the App Catalog site collection.  #Boom, all worked.

Challenge 3 – K2 for SharePoint Enablement

So after the remote assistance fun and games, we completed a migration for the client and overwrote the _content databases to go live on SharePoint 2016.  I knew we would need to “redo” the K2 for SharePoint config, but at that stage we were so well versed it in we weren’t worried.

We changed all the web applications to SSL, reran the configurations, updated the bindings, updated the K2 settings without luck.  After delving a little deeper we found that “stupid us” K2 for SharePoint was still “bound” to the old site collections with the temp names and we simply needed to rename the site collections for K2 to see it as a “new” site collection.

All the worked and sprung into life.

Challenge 4 – K2 for SharePoint Online

We have implemented an on prem version of K2 blackpearl and are in the process of configuring K2 for SharePoint Online (Office 365).   So far it’s been fairly straight forward, but will update this blog when we have it working.  🙂

Summary

In SharePoint 2016 the app catalog configuration experience is SOOOO MUCH easier than before that it really made the K2 for SharePoint experience a lot easier too.  K2’s configuration analyser and automated way of deploying the apps to the relevant app catalogs with automated remote activation also made this entire process a lot more user friendly than before.

Once configured the process design experience is very user friendly straight from a  SharePoint list and compares very favourably with other “SharePoint only” workflow tools.  K2 does however have the added benefit of being able to run without SharePoint on premise OR online.

Enjoy building those processes!

 

 

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