Designing a SharePoint 2010 workflow in Visio 2010 is just great. You can put the shapes on the design surface, draw the transitions, and it is really interesting for people that need visualization of their workflows. Unfortunately, this is where it stops. Because there is no direct link between Visio and SharePoint (meaning that no information from SharePoint comes to Visio), it is not possible to set the conditions or roles or users to the shapes. In other words, you can put a decision shape, but you cannot set the condition itself.
This is why the Visio file has to be exported into a .vwi (Visio Workflow Interchange) and then imported into SharePoint Designer 2010. After that, you have to set the conditions and all the parameters to the different shapes that are part of the workflow. Ok, so far, so good. But, how can I take my workflow and import it somewhere else ? How could I reuse the workflow with the parameters ?
When you export a workflow from SPD, you cannot import it, even if it is not in the same site. The message specifies that “This workflow cannot be imported because it was created in SharePoint Designer for a different site, or the original workflow has been moved or deleted. To move a workflow between sites, use Save as Template (.wsp file) instead of a Visio workflow drawing.
I tried to see what is inside a .vwi file to check what was different between the original .vwi file and the one exported by SPD. To do this, it is possible to rename the .vwi file into .zip and to look inside the compressed folder. The main difference is that an additional file has been generated, named “workflow.xoml.rules” "workflow.xoml.wfconfig.xml". Deleting this file will make this file importable again and, surprisingly, all the settings that were set in the SPD are still there.
Ok, I did it several times, in the same environment (AD), but I can imagine that it is not a “supported” way to move workflows, knowing that exporting a .wsp and deploying it is the recommended way…
The opinions expressed herein are my own personal opinions and do not represent
my employer's view in any way.