Difference between SharePoint 2010 and SharePoint 2013 Workflow

Parameters SharePoint 2010 SharePoint 2013
.NET Framework SP2010 workflow framework is designed on to of .NET framework 3.5 SP2013 workflow framework is designed on top of .NET framework 4.5
Hosting Engine SP 2010 workflow are hosted on SharePoint workflow runtime which is using Windows workflow runtime.

SharePoint Workflow Manager 2010 Architecture

Workflows are hosted outside of SharePoint.

Can be hosted on an on-premise SharePoint farm as an tenant server or Windows Azure Workflow (WAW) is an installable product.

Workflow is run as a separate service. Communication of workflows with SharePoint will happen via REST / CSOM using OAuth. Workflow architecture is shown as below,

SharePoint Workflow Manager 2013 Archìtecture

Workflow Data Storage Stored in Content database. Workflow definitions reside within SharePoint and the actual workflow is stored on Databases of Workflow Manager services.

SharePoint Workflow Manager 2013 Storage Architecture

Execution Context Workflows executed in the context of super user. In SharePoint 2013 one thing called App Step and that it is a mechanism provided to developers of SharePoint 2013-platform workflows (Designer workflows or Visual Studio workflows) to elevate permission of the workflow. you have to do following steps.

Deployment On-Premise deployment.

To deploy in a sandbox environment we need to write a full trust proxy.

Can be deployed On-Premise or in a hosted environment.

You can have a dedicated workflow farm for large deployments.

Analytics Analysis on the number of instances of workflows running, last run by and last run date are hard to acquire.


Since workflows are decoupled from SharePoint runtime it provides better stability, scalability and transparency.

Analysis is very much improved for information related to workflows.
Performance Issues with scale up and large deployments. Since workflows are decoupled from SharePoint runtime it provides better stability, scalability and transparency.
Types of Workflows Workflow Foundation 3.5.1 hosted by SharePoint 2010 Two types of workflows,

  1. SharePoint 2010 (Workflows hosted by SharePoint)
  2. SharePoint 2013 (Workflows hosted by Workflow Manager or Windows Azure)


Changes for developers Need to write source code for,

  • Calling SharePoint API
  • Connect and Query Database
  • Consume ATOM/REST Feeds
  • Call Web Services/REST Services
Workflow Manager Client 1.0 is a redesigned workflow infrastructure that is built on Windows Workflow Foundation 4 and brings new power and flexibility to workflow authoring in SharePoint 2013. Developers can perform declaratively all of the actions as mentioned in the right hand for SharePoint 2010 by using services.

SharePoint designer is significantly improved and many features that makes a developer’s life easier like copy paste, undo, redo.

A new data type called DynamicValue is being introduced to capture run time dynamic values.

Visio Designer Create in Visio and Export to SharePoint Designer. Visio Designer is integrated into SharePoint designer.
What’s New?   General Improvements

  • Introduction of “Stages”,
    • Mitigates SharePoint Designer’s lack of loop support
    • Provides functionality of “state machine” workflows in WF 3.5
  • Declarative workflows have loops,
    •  Loop # times / with condition / with expression
  • Declarative workflows can call REST/SOAP services
Workflows for SharePoint Apps Workflows execute in SharePoint hence it is difficult to protect the intellectual rights that goes into building apps. Visual Studio can be used to build workflows for SharePoint Apps whereas SharePoint Designer workflows cannot be used to build Apps.

Since workflows execute in the cloud and not in SharePoint it provides enormous flexibility in designing workflow-based apps for SharePoint.

Packaging *.wsp *.wsp or *.app

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