Verbose Logging is a feature that is fairly new and is slowly being picked up by the masses. Where as before, workflow designers would use the Log in the History List action to log all the information they wanted to see for debugging, now they can enable the Verbose Logging functionality and be provided with a plethora of data.
Having said this, this does not make the Log in the History List action useless. I’m sure it will still be used quite often for logging data during run time, and for debugging.
Enabling Verbose Logging – Central Administration
In order to use this feature, you first need to enable it in Central Administration->Application Management. In the Nintex Workflow Management section, click on the Global Settings link. On this page, you can enable the Verbose Logging here :
Take note that the verbose logs will only be kept for a certain number of days. By default, it is 5 days. You can change this to another number, or to “Infinite” if you don’t want them deleted.
Enabling Verbose Logging – Workflow
Now that you have enabled Verbose Logging at the Central Administration level, workflow designers will be able to enable Verbose Logging on their workflows.
When you open a workflow in the Nintex Workflow designer, click on the Settings menu option, and select Startup Options. Check the box that says “Enable verbose logging”. Now when you publish your workflow, verbose logging will be enabled when your workflow executes.
What does the verbose logging actually look like?
As an example, I am going to create a workflow with one Number variable called “numNumber”. I will use a Set a Variable action to first initialize that variable to 10. Then I will use a Math Operation action to add 5 to it.
I will then look at the results of the verbose logging and see what it tells me.
To view the verbose logs, once you have run your workflow, click on your list item and in the dropdown menu, select “View Workflow History”, and then click on the workflow instance that ran.
You’ll notice now that with Verbose Logging enabled, you will see a “Logging” option in the “Workflow Information” box at the top left of the workflow. Here you will be able to click on the “Click here to export complete log” and this will export the whole log as an XML file.
You can also click on the actions themselves, to bring up information on the specific action. As an example, I clicked on the first action, which is the Set a Variable action. This will bring up the popup window, showing you a variety of information. The part which is highlight in yellow, shows you the value of your workflow variables before the action ran, and also after.
As you can see, the variable “numNumber” was originally 0, which is the default for a number variable. Then its value is 10, which is what this action is doing.
Next, I click on my second action which is the Math Operation action. Again, in the highlighted yellow section, you can see that the “numNumber” was originally 10, and is now 15.
Also note, that you can scroll down on the popup window and there is even more information you will have access to. There are item properties and common properties. Metadata this is very useful for debugging purposes.
One of the interesting tidbits of information, is the Last Task Respondent. This is something that designers will use when they use such actions as the Request Approval and the Assign a FlexiTask.
So if you have build 11000 or greater, don’t forget this little interesting piece of functionality, because it may help you when you have a workflow that you are designing and testing and it’s not quite doing what you expect.