How to add new properties to the workflow service configuration

February 5, 2015

While investigating an issue I encountered when running a SharePoint 2013 workflow, see blog post for details, some of the suggested fixes I found suggested adding a new property into the workflow configuration settings.

I had a look at the MSDN article on how to do this but when looking at the steps it seems to indicate you could only set existing values not add new ones, see figure 1 for a snippet from the MSDN article

 “For Name, specify a name of the configuration setting (See below for the list of valid settings.)”.

Figure 1

I had a look around on how to add new settings but I wasn’t able to find anything except from people adding rows directly into the “WorkflowServiceConfig” table in the “WFResourceManagementDB” database. Anyone who has used SharePoint knows that it is generally not supported to touch any SharePoint database without putting them into an unsupported state.

As it turns out I was able to resolve my issue by updating an existing property so I didn’t need to do this in the end. After I had worked out what property I needed to update, which I had done via the PowerShell command supplied in the MSDN article, I thought it would be a good idea to create a wrapper PowerShell function in a common PowerShell file I have. I have several helper methods in this common PowerShell file and I use it to avoid having to remember specific PowerShell commands.

I started to implement this helper function and was adding some error handling to see what would happen when a property name was supplied that didn’t exist. I ran the helper method with an invalid name and it completed without any errors. I was expecting some kind of error message so I was slightly confused at this. I changed the name and debugged through the PowerShell, I use PowerGUI when writing scripts and it has this feature. When the script got to call the “Set-WFServiceConfiguration” function it completed with no errors.

I opened up the workflow table where the settings are stored and to my surprise the two test values I had tried were in the table.

I thought it was a bit strange that Microsoft would allow you to update properties but not add them, however the wording on the MSDN article does clearly suggest the name has to be one of the existing values. Added to this all the articles I found people were directly adding rows into the database table.

I have included the function I wrote below, see figure 2, in case anyone finds it useful but as always with PowerShell always try this in an non-production environment first.

Function to add property
function Set-SP2013WorkflowSetting{
    Write-Host "Starting to update workflow manager property $propertyName" -ForegroundColor Green
    $existingValue = Get-WFServiceConfiguration -serviceUri $workflowManagerURL -Name $propertyName
    if($existingValue -eq $null)
        Write-Host "Property $propertyName doesn't have a value which means it isn't in the settings DB table. Please confirm you want to add a new setting" -ForegroundColor Magenta
        $title = "Add Workflow Setting"
        $message = "Do you want to add a new workflow setting?"

        $yes = New-Object System.Management.Automation.Host.ChoiceDescription "&Yes", `
           "Add a new row into the settings table."

        $no = New-Object System.Management.Automation.Host.ChoiceDescription "&No", `
           "Doesn't add the new setting and exists the function."

        $options = [System.Management.Automation.Host.ChoiceDescription[]]($yes, $no)

        $result = $host.ui.PromptForChoice($title, $message, $options, 1)

        switch ($result)
            0 {}
            1 {return}
        Write-Host "Poperty $propertyName has a value of $existingValue it will be changed to $propertyValue" -ForegroundColor Green
    Set-WFServiceConfiguration -serviceUri $workflowManagerURL -Name $propertyName -Value $propertyValue
    Write-Host "Finished updating workflow manager property $propertyName" -ForegroundColor Green    

Figure 2

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