Orchestration Activity Designer

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Note: This article applies to Fuji and earlier releases. For more current information, see Orchestration Activity Designer at http://docs.servicenow.com

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1 Overview

The ServiceNow Activity Designer enables you to construct reusable activities that suit your business needs. Activities created by the activity designer offer the following advantages over core activities offered in previous releases:

  • Re-use of custom activities in multiple workflows.
  • Upload and download custom activities from the App Store.
  • Parse data from standard input formats.
  • Share data between activities.
  • View and revert to previous versions of an activity.

Access to the activity designer requires activation of ServiceNow Orchestration. For instructions about managing transitions and conditions for all activities, see Using Workflow Activities. The activity designer is available starting with the Fuji release.

To use the activity designer, you must have either the workflow_admin or activity_creator role.

2 Activity Designer Components

Orchestration installs the activity templates and provides access to the controls required to create and manage custom activities in the Workflow Editor. Orchestration also installs the activity_creator role, which gives users the ability to create custom activities, share data between activities, and download activity packs from the ServiceNow Store.

2.1 Activity Templates

ServiceNow provides the following templates for creating custom activities, depending on the target host.

2.2 Custom Activity Controls

Use the following tabs in the workflow editor palette to create and manage custom activities:

  • Packs: View all activity packs downloaded from the ServiceNow Store or created for upload.
  • Custom: Create custom activities for use in workflows.
  • Data: View all activities on the current workflow that produce data. Workflow designers can use the data from these activities as the input for other activities.

2.2.1 Packs Tab

The Packs tab contains any activity packs downloaded from the ServiceNow Store and any activity packs that you create. Users with the activity_creator role can organize custom activities into packs and upload them to the App Store. To download an activity pack, click the download icon (Activity pack download). The hierarchy in the tab organizes packs by vendor, scope, category, and activity.

You can copy activities for reuse within a pack or within a different pack. To reuse an activity, right-click it and select one of these options:

  • Copy into global scope as new activity: Copy the activity, give it a new name, and move it to the global scope in the Custom tab. This copy has the same version number as the original activity.
  • Copy into global scope as new version: Copy the activity, change the version number, and move it to the global scope in the Custom tab. This copy must have the same name as the original activity. The system automatically adds the parent category to the Custom tab if it does not already exist.
Note: Your custom packs do not appear in the tree until at least one activity in the pack is published. Activities added to an existing pack are not displayed until they are published. Activity packs from any application scope can appear in the Packs tab, regardless of the current scope setting for the instance.

View workflow activity packs

2.2.2 Custom Tab

From the Custom tab, you can create and update custom activities without leaving the workflow editor. Click the + icon to create a new activity and select the appropriate template from the list. To add custom activities to a workflow, drag them to the canvas. For information about creating and configuring custom activities, see Managing Activity Designer Variables and Orchestration Activity Parsing Rules.

Custom activities can:

  • Share data between activities
  • Parse data from standard input formats
  • Be purchased from and shared on the ServiceNow Store
  • Be versioned

The information displayed in the Custom tab depends on the current view in the workflow editor. When you display a workflow on the canvas, the Custom tab shows all available custom activities categorized by application, but does not display any input or output data. You can use this view to drag activities into the workflow.

Custom activities available for use in a workflow

When you create a custom activity, the Custom tab displays input and output data when the properties form for the new activity is open. You can reuse the data by dragging parameters into fields in the new activity.

Input and output data available for a new activity

2.2.3 Data Tab

The Data tab lists all custom activities used in the current workflow that produce data. Activities are categorized by application in this tab and are available for use as data sources for other activities. Drag output variables from an activity in this tab into the inputs of another activity on the workflow canvas to link the activities together. You can use any of the outputs in the structure, regardless of the the application to which they belong. An index number in parenthesis after the activity name provides a unique identifier for the parameters that you use as input data in other activities. When you drag a custom activity into the workflow canvas, the system adds that activity and its output data to the structure. Conversely, if you remove a custom activity from the canvas, that activity and its outputs disappear from the data list.

Activities in the current workflow that have data output

The Data tab is a graphical representation of the workflow databus, which manages all the temporary data used by the current workflow. Databus information is included in pop-up windows that display information about individual activities in a workflow. Point to an activity to display information about it. Any output data reused by the activity is listed in the Databus Output field of the the pop-up window.

Databus information for a workflow activity

3 Activity Scopes

Custom activities run in their own scope, even if it is different from that of the workflow. The scope of a custom activity can be private or public. Any script that runs inside a custom activity with a scope can only access outside artifacts that are within the scope of that activity or artifacts that are configured to run in any scope. Conversely, an outside artifact can only access the script inside that private activity if the outside artifact is running in the same scope. Activities with public scopes can interact with outside artifacts in any application scope.

You can use private activities as part of a workflow that has a public application scope. These activities are protected from reaching outside of the workflow or from being reached from outside the workflow. For details about setting application scoping for custom activities, see the field description table for the appropriate activity template.

Note: Custom activities uploaded to the ServiceNow Store must be configured as accessible to all application scopes.
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