Lauren McManamon

4 minute read

Over the course of it’s last ten version upgrades, Flow Designer has blossomed and matured into the automation powerhouse it is today. Even with the great strides that have already been made, Utah welcomes additional, novel functionality into Flow Designer that deserves a spotlight.


Associated Flows

First, let’s draw some much-deserved to the backbone of Flow Designer - Actions! Actions are all of the pieces that make up a Flow, automating everything from creating child Tasks to integrating with third party applications.

There are a myriad of Actions that come out of box, but as you may or may not know - developers can build Actions using the Action Designer. The upgrade made here in Utah is that now, within Action Designer, developers can now see where their Actions are being put to use. Not only that, but it will also display whether the Flow or Sublow is active. This is critical, as showing impact of functionality is key as it cuts down on error correction and testing time in the future.


Support for Stages in the Flow Diagramming View

With the San Diego release came Flow Diagramming - a new view for your automations in Flow Designer that much more closely resembled the types of charts developers created in the legacy Workflow Editor. When it was launched, while most of the building could be performed in this new Diagramming view, developers would be forced to flip back for some more complicated steps. With each release, our internal developers make strides to make Diagramming a full feature parity with the main view.

Utah brings with it a large step in that direction, offering developers the means of not only viewing Flow Stages in the Diagramming view, but allowing developers the ability to configure and change Stage settings.


New Features

Convert Actions into a Subflow

POV: you’re working on a massive Flow - you’re just about to near the finish line when a thought hits you. You think to yourself, “Wow, a big chunk of this new Flow could be reused elsewhere.” You think that possibly it should be a Subflow - a callable, reusable entity that other developers can use and maintain easier. However, everything is nearly done and doing that would take so much work after the fact, so you move on.

Raise your hand if you’ve been there; I sure have! Luckily, this is a problem of the past. Utah allows developers the ability to select successive Actions within a Flow and with the click of a button turn them into a brand new Sublfow. This isn’t just great for maintenance but also performance of your instance; Subflows help with the speed of automation on the system, as they compartmentalize work by reducing the capacity of the main flow. This is a win-win for everyone!


Proces Automation Designer Optional Activities

In the years since Process Automation Designer was released, our platform has moved further and further past its days of relying on Jelly for UI changes. However, power users of PAD who wished to create optional activities were only left with Jelly to make said change.

Now, by default, PAD designers can add both global and lane-oriented Optional Activities. This further empowers the fulfillers and also keeps track of what they need to do to help their requestors.


Flow Priorities

Finally, we have an added piece of functionality that you see for other Application Files all over the platform - means of prioritizing and ordering the importance of Flows. On the ServiceNow platform, there are only so many threads per node and prior to Utah, all of them were processed in a FIFO manner. Whether you build Client Scripts, Business Rules, et cetera - most things on ServiceNow allow developers the ability to order how they are processed. Now - that same grace is offered for Flows as well.

By default, all Flows built default to a Medium priority. The Low Priority is reserved for things that arenbt time-sensitive, where High should be used rarely in times of high business value.


Parting Words

We hope you are as, if not more, excited as we are for these Flow Designer improvements. To see them in action, there will be a Creator Toolbox livestream covering all of these on March 28th at 8AM PT, so mark your calendars! To see additional content coming out about the Utah release, please visit our Content Calendar here.