More about Flow Actions

In your flow, reference local flow actions in the assignment Shape Properties panel. Reference connector flow actions in the connector Shape Properties panel:

  • Connector flow actions allow a user to process an assignment completely and advance the work item within the flow.
  • Local flow actions allow a user to update properties in an assignment without completing the assignment. A local flow action may send the unfinished assignment to a coworker's worklist.

By referencing flow actions in your flow, you can determine the actions that users can take when they process a case.

Linked property references

For fields that are always displayed as read-only, you can enter a linked property reference, of the form .AAAA.BBBB, where AAAA is the linked property and BBBB is any property reference in the object identified by the value of AAAA as a key. For example, if the property AAAA has a value corresponding to a key of a Data-Admin-Operator-ID instance, then .AAAA.pyUserName presents that Operator ID's full name. This allows values from that object to appear (read-only) in the run-time display of the section, although your processing does not explicitly load the object onto the clipboard.

Best practices for Short Description text

The text in the Short Description field of the flow action form appears at run time as a user choice. Consider the following best practices:

  • Start the Short Description text with an imperative verb such as Attach, Update, Create, Send, Cancel, Resolve, or Approve. Choose language that reflects the worker's perspective, not what the application does next internally.
  • If a standard flow action meets the functional needs but you require different Short Description text, create a field value rule named (where name is the Short Description of the standard rule) and enter the text you want in the Localized Label field.
  • If your application is to support users who have multiple locales, choose a Short Description text carefully, and maintain a list of them. When practical, choose a text value already included in a language pack, to simplify later localization. Create a field value rule named (where name is the Short Description of your application flow action) in each language-specific RuleSet.
  • Create simple, explicit flow actions that record one decision or outcome, so that busy workers choose the correct one and have no uncertainty as to what will happen next.
  • Design the assignments so that each assignment has no more than five to seven connector flow actions. Offering users too many choices may increase errors. If the application truly requires users to select one choice from dozens of possibilities, sequence the alternatives in a screen flow or by using multiple assignments. For example, have users pick a major grouping or category in the first assignment, and then one minor choice within that group in the second assignment.

Development process

To build and use a flow action, take these steps:

As you build your application:

1. Create a flow action. As you create the flow action, you record several choices. You determine the HTML form or section that appears when a user selects this flow action. You can restrict a flow action to appear only to certain users, based on access roles. Using when conditions, you can conditionalize whether the flow action appears at all.

2. If the flow action is to be local, associate the flow action with an assignment shape in your flow. If the flow action is a connector flow action, associate it with a connector in your flow, with an arrow leading from the assignment shape to another shape on the flow diagram.

At run time:

3. To test a flow action, log in as a worker or manager with appropriate access roles. Enter the Process Work workspace. Enter a work item for a flow that includes an assignment that references the flow action. As it executes, the flow creates an assignment for the work item and places the assignment on a worklist.

4. Finally, log in as the person whose worklist has the assignment. From your worklist, click the assignment. You see the Perform harness form, and you see the short description of your flow action in the selection box in the Perform form. When you select the flow action, the HTML fields defined for that flow action appear.

Preview and Run

After you save a flow action form, click the toolbar Preview button to view an approximate run time rendering of the flow action presentation. (Many flow actions depend on context. Even when the rule is correctly configured, the Preview display may fail and report JSP errors if this flow action depends on clipboard contents that do not exist or other rules that cannot be found.)

Click the Run toolbar button to test the flow action with data from the clipboard.

As with the Form tab, the system renders both the Preview and Run displays using the styles of the skin rule identified in the Using skin preference. If the Using skin field is blank, these displays use the styles marked Work on the Styles tab of the skin identified in your current portal rule.

Click Actions > View Java to view the generated Java of a rule. You can use the Java code to debug your application or to examine how rules are implemented.

Where referenced

The area of a user form that allows users to choose among flow actions is known as the action section. As a best practice, include the standard action section Work-.pyActionArea on your Perform harnesses. (Other standard action sections introduced in PRPC Version 5 remain available and supported.)

Parent class

Through directed inheritance, Rule-Obj-FlowAction class is derived from the Rule-HTML-Section class.

Converting PRPC Version 5 flow actions to the Version 6 section reference form

In PRPC Version 6 and later, newly created flow actions reference a section for their appearance and layout. The value Reference Section appears in the HTML Generation field on the HTML tab. The previous design is identified by the Define Form value in the field.

Flow actions that reference sections promote reuse. For example, two flow actions may have different settings on their Security tab or Action tabs but use identical layouts. Both flow actions can reference one section that contains the layout.

Flow actions built prior to PRPC Version 6.1 are not supported for development but will continue to function in your applications without error. You cannot edit the layouts on the Layout tab. To upgrade the flow actions in bulk or individually, use the standard pxShowBulkFlowActionDisplay activity. It creates a section with the same name and links the section to the flow action. For examples, see the PDN article 25978 How to convert flow actions to the V6.1 section reference form.

If the original flow action contained required fields (usually marked with an asterisk icon), select the Enable Client Side Validation? check box on the new flow action's HTML tab and save the rule.

You can (in upgraded flow actions) save layouts as sections using the Save As Section icon, which is located in the wireframe's layout header. Note that the icon appears only in flow actions that have been upgraded.


If your application rulesets contain flow actions that are not auto-generated, run the Rule Security Analyzer before locking a ruleset Version, to look for possible security issues.