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DriveWorks Pro 19
Specification Flow

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Specification Flow

The Specification Flow task provides the ability to customize the behavior of specifications created by running a project. Multiple steps can be configured, and the actions that are taken at each customized.

Specification Flow gives complete control over the specification process.

It allows the creation of the navigation buttons that appear on the user forms.

You can choose what will be created from a specification and when it will happen.

Furthermore you decide which Users or Teams have permission to perform actions on a specification.

Beyond simply customizing the built-in Specification Flow, it is possible to completely replace it with a custom one of your own design to gain complete control over the specification process.

At the top of the Specification Flow designer, there is a list of warnings (if there aren't any then this won't be visible). Many of these warnings will prevent you from being able to run a project.

Default Specification Flow

The default Specification Flow can be customized to suit your own requirements. This is useful if changing the name of the Transitions or Operations is all that is required. Anything more than this and we recommend to Clear the default Specification Flow.

Default Specification Flow Transitions

The default specification contains some intricacies with the release transitions:

  • ReleaseLocal - will use the application that the specification is being made from (DriveWorks Administrator, User, Live, etc.) to release the specification.
  • ReleaseAutopilot - will use DriveWorks Autopilot to release the specification, but only when the setting Release specifications to Autopilot is checked.

    There is a condition that will check if this setting has been applied. Please see Setting: Release To Autopilot for more information.

DriveWorks Autopilot will generate models, if it is running, regardless of the method of release.

Releasing specifications to DriveWorks Autopilot is recommended when using DriveWorks Live for performance.

Please see How To: Modify Specification Flow for more information.

To Customize the Specification Flow

By default, the Specification Flow for a project is not customized and cannot be changed. A warning message indicating this will appear at the top of the design area, which reads:

Warning: This Specification Flow is not customized and can not be edited

To customize the Specification Flow, click the  button on the command bar.

Add State

To add a state to the Specification Flow

Step 1

Click the Add State button on the command bar.

Step 2

Give the new state a name and click OK or hit Return on the keyboard to create it.

The first state added to a blank Specification Flow will automatically be set to a Running and Initial State.

The Initial State has an Initial label in the bottom right corner.

Set State Type

Every Specification Flow must have one Initial State.

This tells DriveWorks which state a specification enters when a new specification is started.

For the default Specification Flow the Initial State is the Specify State.

To Change the Initial State

The Initial State can only be applied to a Running State.
Step 1

Right click on a running State that is to be set as the Initial State.

This will open the State Type dialog.

Step 2

Click Initial State.

The state has now been set to be the initial state

To Change the Type of State

A Running State which is also the Initial State can only have its State Type changed by first setting another State to be the Initial and Running State.

Once a State has been added to the design area it's type can be set.

There are three types of states:

  • Running State - The user forms will be displayed in the specification window.

  • Paused State - The specification will be held in a queue.

  • Automatic State - The specification will be picked up when running DriveWorks Autopilot.

Step 1

Right click on the State that is to have its type changed.

This will open the State Type dialog.

Select one of the state types:

  • Automatic
  • Paused
  • Running

Edit State

To Open the State Editor

The state editor enables an administrator to customize the tasks that are run when operations and transitions are started, or when events occur.

Step 1

Click the Edit... link at the bottom of the state to edit.

Add Operation

To Create a new Operation on a State

Step 1

Select the state on which to create the new operation.

Step 2

Click the Add Operation button on the command bar.

Step 3

Give the new operation a name and click OK or hit Return on the keyboard to create it.

Add Transition

To Create a new Transition from one State to Another

  1. Select the state from which the transition will start.
  2. Click the Add Transition button on the command bar.
  3. Give the new transition a name and press Enter or Return to create it.

To Change the Target of a Transition

If the transition already has a target:

  1. Click the orb next to the arrow head at the target of the transition, and drag it over the new target state.

If the target does not already have a target state:

  1. Expand the source state, find the transition, and drag its title over the new target state.

Rename

To Rename a State

  1. Click the title of the state to rename, the state will become selected.
  2. Click the Rename button on the command bar.
  3. Type the new name of the state.
  4. Press Enter or Return to save the new name.
If you are working with a Specification Flow that has already been customized, be careful when renaming states because they might be referred to by name in rules in your project, e.g. by using the DWCurrentStateName special variable.

Delete

To Delete a State

  1. Click the title of the state to rename, the state will become selected.
  2. Click the Delete button on the command bar.

Overview

To See an Overview of a Large Specification Flow

If a Specification Flow becomes so large that it cannot be seen without scrolling, a preview can be turned on by clicking on the Overview button on the command bar.

You can click and drag the red rectangle in the overview to navigate the Specification Flow.

Customize Specification

To modify or clear the Default Specification Flow

  1. Click the Customize Specification button on the command bar

Restore Default

To Reset the Specification Flow to the Default

  1. Click the Restore Default button on the command bar.
If you restore the default Specification Flow, all of your customizations will be lost.

Clear

To completely clear the existing Specification Flow

  1. Click the Clear button on the command bar.
This will remove the existing Specification Flow and all customizations that have been included.

This operation can be undone.

Aligning States

To align two or more states, either box select (by click-dragging the Specification Flow design surface), or control-select each state you wish to align, and then press the relevant alignment button.

The following alignment tools are available:

IconAlignmentDescription

Align Left

Aligns all selected states to the left most position

Align Top

Aligns all selected states to the top most position

Equalize Vertical Spacing

Evenly distributes three or more selected states between the top most and bottom most selections
Align CenterAligns all selected states to the center (vertically) of the last selected state

Align Middle

Aligns all selected states to the middle (horizontally) of the last selected state

Equalize Horizontal Spacing

Evenly distributes three or more selected states between the left most and right most selections

Align Right

Aligns all selected states to the right most position

Align Bottom

Aligns all selected states to the bottom most position

To Zoom In and Out of a Specification Flow

To zoom in or out of a Specification Flow, hold the control key on your keyboard, and scroll using the wheel on your mouse.

To reset the zoom to 100% at any time, double click the Zoom box at the top right of the Specification Flow.

To Move the Transition Connection Line

The transition connection line is placed onto the target state automatically by DriveWorks.

If a target state has been selected incorrectly it can be moved to a different state.

If the position of the connector on the source or target state is not to your liking it can be repositioned.

If the connection line or lines interfere with other connection lines they can also be moved.

Move to a Different State

  1. Locate the transition connector that is to be moved.
  2. Move the mouse pointer over the gray orb, just near the Transition Direction arrow. The orb will be highlighted with a blue circle around it and the name of the State the transition belongs to will pop up.

  3. Click and drag the connector to the required State.

Reposition the Connector on the State

  1. Locate the transition connection line that is required to be repositioned on the State.
  2. Move the mouse pointer over the black block that connects the transition line to the State. The name of the Transition and the name of the source State and target State will pop up.

  3. Click and drag the connection block to a new location on the State.

Move the Connector Line(s)

  1. Locate the transition connector line that is required to be moved.
  2. Move the mouse pointer over the line segment. The mouse pointer will change to be directional arrows that indicate the direction the line can be moved. A vertical connector line can be moved left and right, a horizontal connector line can be moved up and down.

  3. Click and drag the connector line to the required position.

To Rename/Delete/Modify Transitions and Operations in a State

To be able to work with transitions or operations in a state, you first need to expand the state by using the Expand/Collapse box at the top right of the state, this will expand the state so that it looks like the following:

You can then use the arrows at the top and bottom to scroll the operations, transitions, and events in the state.

  • To Move the select an operation, transition, or event, click it in the list.
  • To edit conditions or tasks for an operation, transition, or event, double click it in the list to launch the State Editor with the operation, transition, or event selected.
  • To delete an operation or transition, select it in the list, and click the "Delete" button on the command bar.
  • To reorder an operation or transition, the operation or transition to the desired location.
The order of the operations and transitions in the state list is the same as they will be shown on the specification explorer.
  • To change the name of an operation or transition, select it in the list, and click the "Name" link that appears to the right.
  • To change the title of an operation or transition, select it in the list, and click the "Title" link that appears to the right.

Operations and Transitions have both a name and a title. Two operations or transitions can have the same title but must have different names, this is useful in cases where you want the end-user to see the same action, but you want to do slightly different things, perhaps based on the team they belong to, or settings in DriveWorks.

For example, in the default Specification Flow, there are two Release transitions ReleaseLocal and ReleaseToAutopilot which are both titled Release, but only one is visible to the end-user depending on the settings in DriveWorks.

Load Template

DriveWorks has some preloaded Specification Flow Templates that can be used for your projects.

Additionally your own customized Specification Flows can be exported and loaded into other projects.

Load a DriveWorks template

  1. Click Load Template from the command bar of the Specification Flow stage.
  2. Select the template from the template list
  3. Click Finish to load the template.

Advanced Child Flow

Advanced Child Specification Flow Template

Creates a new advanced Child Specification Flow with separate Model and Document Release States.

Advanced Flow With Approval

Advanced Specification Flow with Approval Template

Creates a new advanced Specification Flow with an approval loop before creating designs.

Autopilot Child Flow

Autopilot Child Specification Flow Template

Creates a new Specification Flow designed for Child Specifications when Autopilot is used for processing.

Autopilot Parent Flow

Autopilot Parent Specification Flow Template

Creates a new Specification Flow designed for Parent Specifications when Autopilot is used for processing.

Basic Child Flow

Basic Child Specification Flow Template

Creates a basic Child Specification Flow with Model Release on Transition of the Child Specification.

Basic Flow

Basic Specification Flow Template

Creates a basic Specification Flow with no Approval Process.

Basic Flow with Automatic State

Basic Specification Flow with Automatic State Template

Creates a basic Specification Flow with an Automatic State for Autopilot to generate the Released Models.

Classic Specification Flow Default

Classic Specification Flow Default Template

Creates the Classic Specification Flow Default for compatibility with old implementations.

Expense Claim Flow

Expense Claim Specification Flow Template

Creates a Specification Flow for approving or rejecting expenses claims.

Holiday Request Flow

Holiday Request Specification Flow Template

Creates a Specification Flow for approving or rejecting holiday requests.

Quotation With Approval Flow

Quotation with Approval Specification Flow Template

Creates a new Specification Flow ideal for a Quote with an Approval Loop.

CPQ Custom Item Flow

CPQ Custom Item Flow

This Specification Flow Template can be used to add a Specification Flow to a configurator that you want to use as a Custom Product inside the DriveWorks CPQ DriveApp.

Export Template

For information about exporting a customized Specification Flow as a template please see How To: Create And Install A Specification Flow Template.

DriveWorks Tech Tips Portal

Approval Concept

A customized Specification Flow can be used to implement and Approval State for Specifications, so that users specifications must be approved by an administrator before release.

View all Tech Tips

DriveWorks Tech Tips Portal is available to DriveWorks Pro customers with an active subscription and support contract.

Tech Tips provide cut down projects that highlight specific functionality for faster and more effective learning.

To access the portal:

  1. Go to https://my.driveworks.co.uk/learn/tech-tips/
  2. Login with your DriveWorks Pro account credentials, if asked
  3. Click the Visit Tech Tips Portal button for access

The portal provides a search facility, start typing the name of the Tech Tip (as indicated above) to display the Tip you require.

The first state a specification enters when a new specification has been started.

Indicates the user forms will be loaded into the specification window or browser for the users to enter data onto.

If a state is a "Paused" state then it is one which is shown in the Specification Explorer, e.g. "Pending", "Completed" are paused states.
An automatic state is similar to a "Paused" state, except that if DriveWorks Autopilot is running, it will automatically find the first transition to a "Paused" state and run it. This is useful if you want certain tasks to take place on a server.