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Have questions about this site?

What is this site?

  • This website is Hornbill's new product documentation website and is currently under development.
  • It is intended that all existing and future public-facing documentation we produce will be available to search, browse and share.
  • Hornbill's current documentation is available at Hornbill Wiki but over time this content will be migrated to this documentation site.
  • Please feel free to have a look around at any time.

Why has Hornbill created this site?

  • Hornbill's products have moved on considerably since we introduced it almost 10 years ago. At the time, the MediaWiki tool was sufficient, but we have outgrown it.
  • Our customers are more enterprise focused and more self-sufficient than ever before, so for 2023 and beyond we have established a new documentation platform and team to drive our documentation initiative forwards.
  • We are aiming to deprecate the use of Hornbill Wiki for most Hornbill related documentation.
  • We want to enable our growing partner network with product resources and information, documentation beyond our Wiki approach is required.
  • We could definitely do with some help, and may even pay for some! If you have domain knowledge and would like to help, please check out our Hornbill Docs Contributor Guide and contact the Hornbill docs team at

What will this site be good for?

  • Community contribution will be facilitated, encouraged, and most welcome.
  • High quality documentation, will be kept up to date as rapidly as our products evolve.
  • Real-time content search and discovery.
  • Articles organized into books, books into libraries, creating a more natural and logical structure to our documentation.
  • Legacy API documentation and various other documentation sources will all be consolidated into a single unified documentation system.
  • Documentation available in browser as well as printable/viewable as PDF on demand.
  • Personalized documentation experience, allowing dark/light mode, article subscriptions, social media sharing and other useful features.
  • Almost all publicly available documentation on will be open-source and available to fork on GitHub, allowing customers to derive their own custom documentation around Hornbill products should they wish to.

What is the timeline for this site?

  • We have taken the decision to publish and make available early, there is very little content at this time.
  • As and when we have completed/usable documentation, it will be published here.
  • We have a host of additional features we wish to add over time, so please watch this space.
  • We expect most of our existing documentation should be reviewed/migrated to over the coming months.
  • The documentation project will be ongoing, will continue to expand, evolve and improve day-by-day.

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Workflow Approvals

A core capability of Hornbill’s Workflow orchestration system is the ability to orchestrate a sequence of human tasks. Although Human Tasks do have fully customizable outcomes that can be chosen on completion, making it easy to implement approvals using Human Tasks, the Hornbill platform includes a special category of Human Task known as an approval. An approval has different functionality and behaviors that a human task does does not, specifically consensus and voting for team/multi authority approvals.

As a workflow automation system, the Hornbill platform provides a number of approval capabilities to support the fairly diverse range of requirements. However, in broad terms, there are two fundamental approval schemes provided, those approvals that you have to be a full platform user for, which requires a subscription, and those approvals where you do not have to be a platform user, can be anyone with an email address, and these are commonly known as “free approvals” reflecting the fact that you DO NOT need to be a Hornbill Platform subscriber in order to receive and complete an approval you have been sent.

Full User Approvals

As a Hornbill Platform subscribed user, the built-in workflow approval scheme supports weighting/consensus voting with multi-approver participation. As an alternative (depending on your specific needs), you can also use Human Tasks for approvals. Human tasks, do not support weighting/consensus voting with multi-approver participation. However, Human Tasks do allow you to define up to eight individual fully customizable outcomes, each outcome can include pre-and-post outcome custom forms to collect/capture simple or complex additional input from each approver, including custom information specific to each individual outcome. Basically, this is the highly configurable, flexible approval system and is the RollsRoyce of the approval capabilities offered by the Hornbill Workflow system. However, in order to have these types of approvals or tasks assigned to you, you must be subscribed as a full platform user. See User Accounts for the various user account types that the Hornbill Platform defines.

External Approvals

External approvals are simple approval requests, referred to as external approvals because they can only be delivered to the approver via email. Unlike Full User Approvals, you are not required to be a subscribed platform user to receive and complete one of these approval requests, anyone can be sent an approval for completion via email, but as a consequence the functionality offered with these capabilities is far simpler and more limited. The limitations include: -

  • Non-Customizable Hornbill Branded Presentation: The email template sent, and the subsequent web page opened up from the link in the email for the approver to complete is Hornbill branded, fixed, non-customizable presentation.
  • Limited Information: The information provided to the approver in the form of text is limited to 1000 characters, it is not possible to extend or change this size, and the information sent to the user is a snapshot at the point in time the approval is sent to the user, and is non-editable.
  • Limited Outcomes: Unlike Full User Approvals, there are two fixed outcomes Approve or Reject plus one more optional customizable outcome that can be configured for anm approval request.

Although external approvals are less capable than Full User Approvals, External approvals are very comparable with the vast majority of service desk and workflow systems that support approvals. In practice, if you are not trying to collect structured data from an approver at the point of approval that needs a custom form, most workflows that require approvals will find this level of approval capability more than adequate.

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