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Complete overview of the Flow Builder

Shrawani Bhattarai
Shrawani Bhattarai
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Introduction to Experience and Workflow Studio
Navigate Flows page in Workflow Studio

A Flow is a sequence of nodes that defines an automated workflow. A flow begins with a trigger node, which sets the process in motion based on specific events, and is followed by a series of action nodes that define the subsequent steps. The Flow Builder is the place where you can design your automated flows. You can configure each node individually, build in business logic, and connect to other data sources.

Navigating the Flow Builder interface

The menu bar at the top of the window allows you to add a flow name and flow description. Simply click on the text to edit it inline.

If your flow encounters issues, the menu bar alerts you with an error message indicator. Clicking this provides a breakdown of issues, opening the affected nodes for immediate action.

The Flow builder itself is divided into two sections:

  • The toolbar (left): Here you can browse and select different nodes. You can click the arrow in the top right to minimise or maximise the toolbar.
  • The canvas (right): Here you can drag and drop nodes and build your flow. The canvas lets you configure, rearrange, and build your flows. You can use the zoom slider in the top right to change the zoom scale, and the undo and redo controls to reverse changes.

flow-builder.gif

At the bottom right, you will find button(s), applicable per the state that your flow is in.

  • Save draft and exit
  • Save and active
  • Activate new version

What is a node?

All Pendula flows are made up of nodes. Nodes are modular and configurable. Each node represents a step in the workflow, and can be a process (sending or receiving data) or an activity (a touchpoint with a customer, like an SMS conversation). When nodes are put together, they create the customer experiences we call flows. Let's take a look at each node type:

Trigger nodes

These start the flow. They are event based (when something happens, start the flow) and are configurable.

Messaging nodes

These nodes facilitate communication through channels such as SMS, email, and social messaging supporting both outbound messages and two-way conversations.

Data nodes

These nodes enable API interactions, allowing for the transmission and receipt of data between the flow and external systems.

Workflow nodes

These nodes manage flow logic, allowing decision making based on predefined conditions and branching into multiple pathways based on distinct criteria.

Anatomy of a node

anatomy-of-a-node.svg

  1. Guide Text: Positioned at the top, this text offers quick guidance or instructions specific to the node.
  2. Node Body: The central part of the node that displays the Node Name and Node Description, which provide identification and details about the node's functionality.
  3. Node Actions Panel: Located below the node body, this panel includes several icons for managing the node:
    • Settings: Opens the configuration modal for the node.
    • Duplicate: Allows copying of the node along with its settings.
    • Trash: Offers an option to delete the node, typically prompting a confirmation modal.
  4. Outcomes: Indicated on the node, these direct the flow's path depending on the node's operation. Standard nodes may show a connector tab instead.
  5. Drop zones: Highlighted areas on the canvas where nodes can be placed. These zones pulse to indicate where a node can be dropped.
  6. Exit Node: Marks the path where the experience ends , guiding to subsequent steps or endings in the workflow.

Configuring nodes

Either click the settings icon (the cog) that appears on hovering over a node, or double-click the node itself to view and configure the settings. Different nodes have different configuration options.

Node settings are divided into two sections:

  • The details pane (left): Here you can edit the name, description and guide text. These details are available on every node.
  • The configuration pane (right): Here, you can adjust the node-specific settings, which vary depending on the type of node you are configuring.

Node names, descriptions and guide text don't affect anything to do with configuration.

Node management

  • How to search a node to a canvas.svg

    • Find the toolbar on the left of the Flow Builder. This section houses all available nodes.
    • Use the search bar to find nodes by their name or description. The toolbar will dynamically filter to show nodes that match your search criteria.
    • Browse through categories to find the node you need
  • How to add a node to a canvas.svg

    All flows need a trigger node to start the flow.
    • Click and drag a node from the toolbar onto the canvas. The drop zones will pulse where you can drop that particular type of node.
    • The node settings will open automatically after placing the node.
    • Once configured, click Save to save your settings.

      Remember, changes made on the Canvas are only saved when you click Save Draft or Save and Activate at the bottom of the page. Simply adjusting node settings does not automatically save the flow.

      Nodes with multiple outcomes, such as the conversation node, will show helper paths on the canvas.

  • How to add more nodes to a canvas.svg

    • Click and drag another node from the toolbar onto the canvas.
    • The drop zones will pulse where you can drop that particular type of node.
  • How to delete a node to a canvas.svg

    • Hover your mouse over the node you wish to delete.
    • Click on the bin icon that appears beneath it.
    When you delete a node with multiple outcomes, you can either choose to keep an outcome path, or delete all successive paths.
  • How to duplicate a node to a canvas.svg

    • Hover your mouse over the node you wish to duplicate.
    • Click on the copy icon that appears beneath it. Note that this is not supported on all nodes. If the icon is not visible, the node cannot be copied.

    The copied node will have "(Copy)" appended to the end of its name, and it will appear before the original node.

  • How to join nodes.svg

    • To connect nodes and establish paths, drag from an outcome or the helper attached to the node if no outcomes are present.
    • Drag the connector to the desired node, and release to create a new path.

    You cannot remove a joined node path and orphan the child node; to remove a path you must delete the child node.

  • How to move.svg

    • Click and hold on a node to 'pick' it up. You'll notice you're now dragging an icon of the node.
    • Drop zones will pulsate indicating where you can place the node. Drag, and drop on top of a helper zone to place it.
  • How to swap.svg

    • In addition to the drop zones that appear when moving a node, you'll notice that other nodes on the canvas will pulsate in the same way. This means you can swap places with them!
    • When you drag on top of one of these nodes, you'll notice two options, Swap and Replace. When hovering over the Swap side of the node, you'll notice it becomes highlighted. Simply drop the node here to swap them.

    Ensure your merge fields are still valid by checking the merge field data explorer on the newly swapped nodes.

  • How to replace.svg

    • Drag a node on to the Replace side of the node, and drop the dragged node.
    • You will be prompted to confirm that you wish to replace the node configuration on the canvas with the one you're replacing it with.

    Ensure your merge fields are still available by checking the merge field data explorer on the newly swapped nodes.

  • Troubleshoot errors in a node.svg

    Errors within nodes can be detected through two primary indicators:

    Within the Node
    If a node encounters an error, a message stating This node has some errors will prominently display within the nodule's interface. This alert serves as a direct indication that the particular node requires your attention for troubleshooting.

    Global Error View on Menu Bar
    Additionally, the Flow Builder provides a holistic view of errors across all nodes in a flow via the menu bar. If errors are present, an alert will list them collectively. Each error message is designed to guide you to the problem area within the node.

    For a detailed guide on understanding errors in Pendula, see Flow errors.