Discover Winter ’21 Release features! We’re sharing release highlights for admins and developers, curated and published by Salesforce product experts, as part of Learn MOAR. Follow and complete a Learn MOAR Winter ’21 for Admins or Developers trailmix by October 30 to earn a special community badge and enter for a chance to win one $200 USD Trailhead Cert voucher.
Calling all #flownatics — If you haven’t tried Salesforce Flow yet, you’re missing out! This declarative builder makes it easy to build automation into our orgs. Flow is a very powerful tool that every admin should keep handy in their toolbox. It has a ton of amazing updates coming with Winter ’21, so let’s dig in.
Improved building experience
Flow Canvas ‘Auto-layout Mode’ (beta)
Flow Builder now provides a canvas option called auto-layout that automatically connects elements to each other and handles layout. This simplifies the user experience and makes flow construction more consistent.
Use the new auto-layout toggle on the Flow Builder header to switch between auto-layout and the traditional free-form mode:
Auto-layout mode does not currently support flows where a single non-Loop element has more than one inbound connector or where a single Loop element has more than two inbound connectors.
When changing to auto-layout mode, if the open flow was created in free-form mode, its positions will be lost, even if the user immediately changes back. We therefore recommend that users save before activating auto-layout mode if changes are not intended. However, if the flow is changed to auto-layout mode and then closed without any saves, the original positions will still be present in the latest version.
Universal ‘OR’ and ‘Custom Condition Logic’
You can now use actual OR logic. Oh, and Custom Condition Logic too. Everywhere in Flow. The ‘smart money’ on the Automation team thinks this might be this release’s most popular new feature, despite the tough competition.
Some parts of Flow Builder have been enhanced to feature pills, which allow friendly labels to be used in place of merge field syntax.
Click on a pill to reveal its underlying value. Pills do not change existing values in any way — they simply add a label.
For example, $GlobalConstant.True will appear as ‘True’.
We’ll be expanding the range of pills support in the next release.
Expanded Access to Global Variables
Global variables, previously only available in Flow via Formulas, are now accessible anywhere you want to reference a field.
New debugging features
This enables you to do a debug run as a specified user. Great for testing.
This feature must be enabled for the org in the Process Automation Settings page by a user with “Modify All Data” and “Manage Users” permissions:
- Not available in production. Test your flows in sandbox, please!
- Not supported for Aura Components and Lightning Web Components.
Visual Debugging for Autolaunched Flows
A number of debugging improvements have been rolled out for autolaunched flows:
Note the reorganized Debug Log, the improved header, and, most prominently, the visual path indicators.
Directed Error Messages
Error messages now provide, when available, links to the element that caused the error, allowing the property editor to be quickly opened.
Insider tip: One of the reasons we did this was to pave the way for the conversion of modal property editors into panel property editors that allow you to create an element and leave it partly unconfigured without triggering error messages. The validation moves to Save-time, which makes it important to help users ‘get back’ to the source of errors. This, in turn, is a prerequisite for true draft mode.
Record update trigger improvements
A number of Process Builder capabilities come to Flow in this release. Now, when you create a record-update triggered flow, you have the option to select entry criteria to narrow down which records you’re automating in the first place.
‘Only When Record Has Just Changed’
The Process Builder choice to only run when the criteria has just changed to meet the requirements is also now available. As seen above, the ‘When to Run the Flow for Updated Records’ option allows for tighter control of execution.
Traversal to Related Records
It’s hard to write something catchy about field traversal. It’s just one of those things that you don’t think about until you absolutely must have it. Now available in Record-Change Triggers.
Trigger on Delete
You asked for this — a lot. In fact, this idea garnered more than 24,000 IdeaExchange points. We’re very happy to say that you now have the ability to trigger a flow upon deletion of a record.
Flow API Versioning
For enterprises, this is the sleeper feature with a big impact.
Traditionally, changes that can cause breaking disruption have been deployed as critical updates (CRUCs), now known as release updates, that have to be carefully regression tested.
For a variety of reasons, this is burdensome. So, starting with this release, the Flow engine will be versioned with the API version. Features that are deemed to have disruptive impact get versioned, which means they only are applied automatically to new flows. (Importantly, we expect that most Flow enhancements will not have any breaking impact and will not need to be versioned.)
For your existing flows, you can decide on a flow-by-flow basis when to upgrade to a new version with a new version setting.
So, essentially, you will no longer need to apply CRUCs to your mature flows.
This release contains four versioned improvements:
- Removes unintended Next navigation from flow screens at the end of a flow that shouldn’t be showing a Next button. This eliminates a scenario where the Next button displays even though the ‘Next or Finish’ checkbox in a Screen element’s property editor is unchecked.
- Record Variables no longer cause an error if they’re used in a merge field and have a ‘null’ value.
- The ISBLANK function returns true for empty strings and not just for ‘null’ values.
- Enforces the running user’s data access rights when evaluating Flow formulas.
So, to reiterate, these four bug fix/improvements will only automatically apply to flows that use version 50 or higher. All flows that were last saved on a Summer ’20 or earlier org will be assigned version 49.
Now GA: Screen Components can use Generic SObject attributes
This capability is used to deliver screen components like this Datatable extension:
Invocable Actions (aka Flow Actions) already have this functionality at Generally Available (GA) level.
Custom Property Editor Enhancements
- Custom Property Editors for Flow Screen Components is now GA.
Custom Property Editors for Flow Actions (Invocable Actions) remains at Beta, but the only work remaining is some minor packaging enhancement.
- You can now use Custom Property Editors with Actions and Screen Components that use inputs of type SObject or SObject.
This opens up the use of Custom Property Editors to screen components like the Datatable shown above and actions like the Collection Actions. This is called Dynamic Type Mapping which you can learn about here.
- For developers of Custom Property Editors, a new Flow Base Components library is available that can be referenced as a dependency in your Custom Property Editor.
It provides a rich set of tools to accelerate your Custom Property Editor development.
- Read the new Custom Property Editors Developers Guide.
Other Winter ’21 changes
- Text Template resources now remember whether you’re viewing in plain text or HTML mode. This helps avoid situations where users were inadvertently entering HTML markup into their text.
- The Flow homepage list view now shows the Trigger Type of each flow.
- Labels show up in Flow Interview Logs.
- Newly enforced security restrictions on guest user access mean you need to activate the recently implemented permission elevation to ‘System Context without Sharing’ if you want guest users to have access to flows that use the Next Best Action Recommendation object.
- When a user changes the owner of a record via Salesforce Classic, that record change can now launch a record-triggered flow.
Have questions? Since these are official features, we suggest you post questions to the Automation Trailblazer Community.
Learn more in the release notes and join us for the Winter ’21 Admin Preview during Release Readiness Live on September 18 at 11:15 am PT to see a demo and get your questions answered by experts.
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