Hints for using step templates

These hints for using step templates help you choose the steps to place in a workflow, order the steps in the correct sequence, and take advantage of conditional processing capabilities. The Workflow Editor does not validate workflows to make sure that steps are in the correct sequence or that conditional processing rules work.

Sample workflows for learning how to order steps

Ricoh ProcessDirector includes several sample workflows and others are supplied with features, such as Archive or Inserter. We strongly recommend that you study the order of the steps in the sample workflows, especially the more complicated workflows, before you create your own.

First and last steps in a workflow

We strongly recommend that you make the first step in a workflow SetJobPropsFromTextFile and the last step RemoveJobs. When workflow receives a job, SetJobPropsFromTextFile reads all the steps in the workflow and initializes the values for the job properties with the defaults on those steps.

  • The AssignJobValues step sets property values but does not assign property values from all the steps in a workflow. Because SetJobPropsFromTextFile considers all steps, it is a better choice for the first step.

The RemoveJobs step not only deletes data files from the system but also cleans up database entries for a job.

We recommend that you put a RetainCompletedJobs step before the RemoveJobs step. If your workflow does not have a RetainCompletedJobs step, jobs disappear from the system as soon as they complete the step before the RemoveJobs step.

Property values for multiple steps based on the same step template

You can place steps based on step templates with positional properties in a workflow multiple times, and their properties can take different values when each step is used. The RunExternalProgram step template is an example. Two different RunExternalProgram steps can run two different external programs.

You can also place steps based on step templates that do not have positional properties in a workflow multiple times. When you change the value of one step’s properties, the values of the properties for the other steps change. The PrintJobs and RetainCompletedJobs step templates are examples.

  • Two different PrintJobs steps can only have one Requested printer property value. If you want two different branches of a conditional workflow to print to a different printer, you must place a step based on the AssignJobValues step template before each PrintJobs step. Set the values you want for each branch of the conditional workflow on each AssignJobValues step. The value of the Requested printer property in each AssignJobValues step overrides the Requested printer property value in the two PrintJobs steps.
  • Two RetainCompletedJobs steps can only have one Retention period property value. Use AssignJobValues steps to set different Retention period property values before the RetainCompletedJobs step.

  • If a job moves through multiple workflows in your production print process, you can use AssignJobValues steps in one workflow to set property values for steps such as PrintJobs in another workflow. You cannot see the property value in the job’s properties notebook while the job is in the first workflow because the step at which the property is set is not in the first workflow. As soon as the job transfers to the second workflow, you can see the property value in the job’s properties notebook.

To see whether a step template has positional properties, do these steps in the legacy user interface:

  1. Click the Administration tab.
  2. In the left pane, click Workflow → Step Templates.
  3. Select a step template and click Properties.
  4. Click Job Defaults. If the property names include [ Receive ] [ Default ] symbols, the step template has positional properties.

Different data streams in one conditional workflow

If you want to use different branches of a conditional workflow for jobs in different data streams, such as PDF and AFP, make sure that the Input data stream property is set properly before the job reaches the conditional processing by data stream. The DetectInputDataStream step sets the value of the Input data stream property.

If your workflow only processes one data stream, you can omit the DetectInputDataStream step and set the value of the Input data stream property on the SetJobPropsFromTextFile step at the start of the workflow.

If you do not set the value of the Input data stream property, Ricoh ProcessDirector might set the value to Unknown. If a connector has a rule that checks the value of the Input data stream property, your workflow might give unexpected results when it processes jobs in Unknown data streams.

Steps for reprinting partial jobs

The CreatePageRanges step generates a subset AFP or PDF print file when you select the Print again function and specify less than the whole job. To work, CreatePagesRanges needs information about the number of pages in the job. Steps based on the EnableRepositioning and CountPages step templates can be used for this purpose but must be placed before the CreatePageRanges step in the workflow. You only need one of them. If your job is indexed AFP, use EnableRepositioning. Otherwise, use CountPages. If your jobs are neither AFP nor PDF, do not use any of the three steps.

Step to keep related child jobs together

In some cases, your original job may end up as several child jobs that you want to keep together at critical points in the workflow such as printing. Place a WaitForRelatedJobs step before the step that needs all the child jobs together. The WaitForRelatedJobs step stops processing until all the child jobs reach that point in the workflow.

Step templates that cannot be copied or deleted

Some step templates, such as PrintJobs and RemoveJobs, are protected by the system. They cannot be copied or deleted. Although you might want to set the Requested printer property value in the PrintJobs step template to one type of printer and then copy the PrintJobs step template and set the value in the copy to another type of printer, you cannot do that. Use two steps based on the AssignJobValues step template to set different property values and pass them to the PrintJobs step in the workflow.

Step for notification of jobs that stop in a conditional workflow

If you want to write a message to the job log when a job stops in a step because the conditional processing in a workflow is not designed correctly, add a step based on the FailWithMessage step template as the last conditional branch of a step. When a job arrives at the FailWithMessage step, Ricoh ProcessDirector writes the message that you specify with the FailWithMessage step.

If you do not have a FailWithMessage step and a job does not meet any of the conditions to go to another step, the job stays in the step in a No matching connector state.

Steps available to the Process again function

Each step in a workflow has a Step restart type property. The default value is General. If a step has any Step restart type property value except None, you can choose the step when you use the Process again function on a job. Ricoh ProcessDirector saves the input print file to each step at which you can restart a job. If you want to reduce the number of copies of large print files that you keep in the system, set the Step restart type property value to None on some steps. Operators can still process jobs again, but they might have to restart the job at an earlier step in the workflow.

  • Only steps that have been run for a job can be processed again. Depending on the step and attributes, a job that is processed again might take a different path through the workflow.
  • If you edit a workflow with active jobs in it, you must start over at the beginning of the workflow to restart the job.

Steps available to the Print again function

We recommend setting the Step restart type property value to Print on the CreatePageRanges step. When an operator uses the Print again function for a job, Ricoh ProcessDirector starts the reprinting process at the first step in the workflow with a Step restart type property value of Print. If you do not set the Step restart type property value on at least one step to Print, you cannot use Print again. Ricoh ProcessDirector does not set the Step restart type property value to Print by default.

Steps available to the Override error function

If you use a step that puts a job in error, you can use the Override error function to move the job out of the error state manually. Set the value of the Allow error override property to Yes. For example, the VerifyPrintedSheetCount step puts a job in error if the count does not match. When the Allow error override property is set to Yes, an operator can force a job to continue through the workflow even though the printed sheet count has not been verified.

Additional information on step templates

Several step templates have relationships to other step templates. Each step template has a reference topic in the Supplied step templates section of the information center. See the usage notes in those topics to understand the relationships before using the step templates in a workflow.

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