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Scheduled Workflow fails due to special characters in SmartObject definition


When a SmartObject definition contains unsupported special characters, a scheduled workflow may fail with a error similar to '"' is an unexpected token. The expected token is ';'.  This error can occur for the following reasons:

  • When scheduling a workflow through the management site, the site incorrectly decodes workflow xml fields when loading the workflow xml fields/reference fields on the New/Edit workflow schedule form, and the decoded values contain invalid characters
  • When the workflow attempts to execute a Reference step (e.g. Create Reference)  on a SmartObject when the SmartObject definition contains unsupported special characters

Recreation Steps

You can recreate this error as follows:

  1. Create a simple SmartObject with 2 properties:     
    • Name (Text)
    • This & That (Multivalue)
  2. Create a new workflow
  3. Add a new 'Create Reference' step to the workflow, and select the SmartObject you created GetList method, using the ID property as Key
  4. Deploy the workflow
  5. Navigate to Management Site > Workflow Server > Schedules
  6. Add new Schedule for the workflow to Start
  7. When the workflow starts, it fails on the Create Reference Step


To resolve the issue, you will need to edit the SmartObject to remove the unsupported special character ('&' in the recreation example above) from the SmartObject definition, and then recreate the reference that point to the SmartObject to use the new definition. Then create a new workflow schedule.

If you created a column in SharePoint with a unsupported special character (e.g. &), you will need to remove the special character from the column definition in SharePoint, then recreate the SmartObject for the list/library, then recreate the Create Reference steps in the workflow, and then create a new workflow schedule.