Action templates

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Applies to version 8.3.x; Author: Jakub Okrzesik

Introduction

A new functionality was introduced in version 8.3 which allows you to save a sizeable chunk of time when implementing processes, reducing the probability of making an error in the configuration at the same time. Action templates will be today’s topic, they essentially allow you to create a configuration template that can then be easily replicated within a process, without manually entering the configuration of each action individually.

Where can templates be used?

Imagine a scenario where a series of processes are used for carrying out a project. A project is often made up of multiple stages, which are each handled by separate processes. During each stage, certain parameters of the project are modified, which may cause discrepancy issues further down the road. To avoid this, we can create a process which will be used to store the modification history of the project’s key parameters. Whenever a significant change is made to a project parameter on one of the processes that represent a project stage, another process will archive this fact in an element responsible for journaling the history of changes for said project. Easy in theory, however if you consider that this will require adding an identical action (that will modify the element containing the history of changes) on every step of every process – you will realize how tedious an inefficient this would be. So instead of configuring the same action on a dozen different steps, it will be much easier to configure an action template for replicating identical actions.

How to create templates?

Action templates are created per-process, every individual process in Designer Studio now has a new node to choose from – Action templates

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Click Action templates followed by New template. This will add a new blank action resembling those found in the normal workflow configuration.

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Here we enter details like name (of the template), choose which action will be executed, and configure it however you want. The execution conditions for triggering this action can also be entered here. After configuring the template, save the process. The template you just created should be available from the Action templates node of the process, and it’s ready for use.

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Using an action template in a workflow can be done in two ways:

[1] Add a new action of the same kind as the template, then bind it to an existing template:

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[2] Use the new From template button to directly add an action that is bound to the chosen template:

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After binding an action to a template, its entire configuration will be copied form the template, including the execution condition. The execution condition however, can be modified independently from the template. The action’s Configure button will be greyed out, and the configuration may only be modified through the template – making any changes to the template will automatically modify all existing actions bound to that template.

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It is possible to break the inheritance bond between the action and template at any moment by selecting <None> from the Template selection drop-down.

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In summary, Action templates may be used to drastically shorten the time needed to configure a large amount of similar actions, as well as ensuring that if a change is needed across all of these identical actions, it can be administered in a quick and foolproof way – and all this can be managed from one spot in BPS Designer Studio.

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