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Salesforce Spring 18 Features – Flow (Visual Workflow)

Spring 18

This is the fourth and final part of our Spring 18 write-ups. As a quick reminder, we covered Sales Cloud in our first point, Service Cloud and Field Service in our second and then Communities in our previous post. Lately, our last post has touched on a floating topic. For Winter 18 we covered Field Service Lightning, for Summer 17 we covered CPQ and now for Spring 18 we are going to take a look at Flow (what used to be called Visual Workflow). Overall, this post will cover features from the last few releases, but will highlight some of the new stuff coming in Spring 18 for Flow. As with all of the other clouds, Flow has come a long way with the introduction of Lightning. In Summer 17, Flow components were added to Lightning and each release since then has added more features to seamlessly integrate Flow with Lightning. It’s come a long way since the old Visual Flow days – which were cool – but pretty limiting.

Before diving in, I just want to acknowledge that most of this post was written by our long-time flow guru Deborah Atkinson and I’ve provided some commentary alongside it. Unlike most of my posts where I just toss things in random order, Deborah was kind enough to organize this one and grouped the features into three main areas: Design, Distribution and Paused Flow Interviews. Let’s jump in.

Flow Design

    • Set values for Picklist and Multi-Select Picklist Variables – You can now set picklists or multi-select picklist variables from the URL or the Flow component in the Lightning App Builder. The URLs to launch a flow work the same in Classic and Lightning.URL: /flow/flowName?accountId={!Account.Id}&industry=Banking&locations=New York; Buenos


    • Flow Screen Components – Flow screens are virtually limitless now that we can leverage Lightning Components. You want the user to select a date and time separately? You can do that. Show a data table? Customize an agent script? Yes, you can do that too. As long as a component uses the new lightning:availableForFlowScreens interface and has a corresponding design resource, it’s available as a Lightning component screen field.


    • Upload Files – Users can now attach files during a flow by adding the File Upload component to the flow screen. (Harry Comment: This is super powerful for Flow. A lot of the time we are asked to use Flow for complex processes like applications or onboarding. Countless times users that are being guided through these flows need to upload files as supporting documentation. Previously, that was all custom to add. Now, you can just do it with this slick out of the box feature.)
      Upload Files in Flow


    • Override the Default Header and Footer – You can now decide to show or hide the Header and Footer and by using a custom Lightning component you can customize the look and feel and the placement of the navigation buttons (Harry Comment: Terrific in particular for those customer facing flows where the UI matters. Lightning gives you so much more control over the look and feel of the Flows than in the old Visual Workflow days).


    • Stages Bars (Beta) – This feature helps the user know where they are in the flow. This one is in Beta now but I hope it comes out next release as it really enhances the flow experience for the user. (Harry Comment: This is another awesome feature. When you need Flow, it’s typically because you are gathering data in multiple sections or different types of data. Basically, the Flow usually has natural breaks. Now, the users moving through the flow can see the progression through these different Stages very easily. One thing to be careful about is if they navigate back and change something, that could impact what they see in the future pages if your flow is dynamic).
      Flow Stage Bars


    • Translate flows with Translation Workbench – Flows can now be translated using the Translation Workbench without having to have several copies of flows to support multiple languages. You can translate these parts of a flow:
      • Flow definition name
      • Flow version name
      • Screen-level help text and paused message
      • Screen input and output fields: labels, error messages, and help text
      • Choices: labels, error messages, and input labels
      Translation Workbench in Flow

Flow Distribution

    • Add Flows Anywhere, including Communities – You can add flows to any Lightning page in the App builder by using the Flow Component. It is no longer obvious to your user that they have entered a flow since it appears embedded in the Lightning Page.


    • Actions – Flows are now available as an action type when you create an action and your list of flows will appear for selection. Flows must be active and have screens to work as a flow action. Use the text variable “recordId” and the Object’s Record ID will be sent to the Flow. Flow actions are now fully supported in packages, change sets, and other deployment tools.


    • retURL – The URL parameter retURL allows you to control what happens when the flow finishes. Previously, this parameter was only respected in Classic.


    • Custom components and apps – But it doesn’t stop there. Now you can add flows to custom components and apps by using the lightning:flow Lightning component. How great will it be to have that flow run inside your Visualforce page?


    • Community Pages – And then bring that functionality to your community by adding the flow to your community pages like any other component (Harry Comment: This is huge and one of the big benefits of Flow moving into Lightning. Customer experience is critical for Communities – and for some, it’s everything. Adding Flow to Communities allows you to collect data you need from your Customers or Partners, but in a much easier and controlled UI then just giving them a Quick Action or a Page Layout to fill out. With Lightning, not only can you now provide richer data collection flows but you can now fully brand them like your Community. Powerful and appealing at the same time. It’s a win/win).
      Flow in Communities


    • Launch Flows as Subtabs in Lightning Console Apps (Pilot) – When records are opened in a console and a flow is associated the flow will be autolaunched in a subtab. The Lightning Flow for Service is available through a pilot program (Harry Comment: We mentioned this in the Service Cloud post. This is a huge change for how agents enter in Case or other information as we can now ensure they are guided into a flow versus needing to rely on the agent to launch the flow themselves).


    • Start Flows from Apex – Previously you had to hard code the Flow into the method. Now, with createInterview() you can write one method to start any flow interview. (See Apex Developer Guide)


    • Execute All Autolaunched Flow Interviews When Invoked in Bulk (Critical Update) – If you have an autolaunched flow, let’s say for new cases, previously if you uploaded a group of cases the flow would only be initiated once. Now, after you install the critical update, the flow will be launched for each case without hitting bulk update limit errors.


Paused Flow Interviews

Flow settings can be configured to allow users to pause a flow interview (running instance of a flow) and come back to it later.

    • Resume Paused Interviews That Other Users Own – Now other users are able to resume a flow interview that was started by someone else – interview sharing. Use cases could involve a community user who starts a flow and then pauses to hand it off to inside sales. Or an agent who begins a script and their supervisor finishes it.


    • Resume Paused Flow Interviews from Lightning Experience – Now you can a component in the Lightning App Builder and Lightning Experience users can resume interviews directly from the home page.
      Paused Flow Interview in Lightning


    • Associate Paused Flow Interviews with a Record – by setting a record on a flow and then creating a Lightning Component to the record page you will be able to see all the flow interviews associated with that one record.

If you aren’t using Flow today, it’s definitely worth taking a look at. It’s part of your subscription, so this is powerful functionality at your disposal. We would definitely classify this as advanced administration though. Even though it’s all configuration, it is more sophisticated from a technical stand-point, and you also need to really game plan what you are doing with the flow. Validation rules, data quality and the full map of dynamic options are all things you need to map out ahead of time and figure out how you want this to function. Once you get it mapped out though, it’s a terrific user experience and the best way to collect larger amounts of data from your users. As always, if you’d like some help with Flow, feel free to reach out on our Contact Us.

Alright, that wraps up our Spring 18 write-ups. Another monster release on the books as it’s already out. Thanks for reading and be sure to keep up when we do the Summer 18 write-ups next.

Harry is the CEO and founder of GearsCRM, with more than 18 years of experience working with the Salesforce platform. Outside of Gears, Harry enjoys debating Star Wars and Marvel with his son and sharing music and videos with his daughter. He is an avid racquetball player, bleeds Dodger blue, cries Jets green and always tries to find spare time to read a good fiction novel.

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