The Start Bot Workflow action allows a workflow to automatically start another workflow, a functionality it shares with the Start Another Workflow Action. However, these actions behave differently from each other when used in a workflow. This article discusses the Start Bot Workflow action in more detail.
Table of Contents
- Understanding the Start Bot Workflow Action
- Setting Up a Start Bot Workflow Action
- Setting Up the Workflow to be Started by the Action
- How the Start Bot Workflow Action Appears in the User Application
Understanding the Start Bot Workflow Action
The Start Bot Workflow action allows data gathered in a workflow and saved into square brackets to be passed on directly to another workflow, and without needing to start the other workflow manually.
Users are not passed from the workflow with the Start Bot Workflow action directly to the other workflow. Instead, the Start Bot Workflow action automatically starts the other workflow with a bot while the user continues working on the current workflow. The user does not need to be aware of the actions happening in the other workflow at all.
Once the data is handed off, the other workflow is automatically started with a Bot user - Autto runs the workflow entirely automatically without human intervention. If this workflow includes a step which requires human interaction, for example, a Form or a Page, then the workflow stops. So if you need these to be part of the triggered workflow, you can use an Assign User action within the workflow if you want another user to work on it at some point.
Unlike the Start Another Workflow action, you are not required to end your workflow using the Start Bot Workflow action. Workflows can also have more than one Start Bot Workflow action.
Imagine a scenario where we have three users X, Y, and Z, and three workflows 1, 2, and 3. User X is running Workflow 1, which has two Start Bot Workflow actions that connect to Workflows 2 and 3. Users Y and Z are assigned to work on Workflows 2 and 3 using Assign User actions within those workflows, respectively.
In this scenario, the following cases are possible:
- If user X is running Workflow 1, when user X encounters the Start Bot Workflow action in Workflow 1, Workflow 2 gets triggered and starts running.
- User X continues running Workflow 1, and User X then takes over Workflow 2 until it is completed.
- User X encounters the other Start Bot Workflow action in Workflow 1, which connects to Workflow 3.
- User Z runs Workflow 3 until it is completed.
- User X continues running Workflow 1 until it is completed.
A Start Bot Workflow action can only be used with Invitation Required and Registration Required workflows. It is not available for Public workflows.
When adding a Start Bot Workflow action to a workflow, you will be asked to select the workflow that will be triggered by the action. You can use any existing workflow with Invitation Required or Registration Required publishing settings.
You will need to create a workflow first before you can connect it to a Start Bot Workflow action. For example, if you anticipate a new, and non-existent, Workflow 2 to be started by Workflow 1, you will have to create and publish Workflow 2 first before you can select it in the Start Bot Workflow action in Workflow 1.
You will also need to create starting square brackets in the Start action of Workflow 2. These square brackets will take the values passed on from the corresponding square brackets in the Start Bot Workflow action in Workflow 1.
Like the Start Another Workflow action, the Start Bot Workflow action gives Autto the capability to create complete systems composed of several workflows. Each workflow in such a system can be triggered automatically through either a Start Bot Workflow or, at the end of a workflow, a Start Another Workflow action, with users seamlessly going backwards and forwards between different ones when required. Careful planning is needed to create this system of connected workflows.
Data from a workflow with a Start Bot Workflow action can be passed on to another workflow using Starting Square Brackets. For more information, see To Set Up Starting Square Brackets in a Start Action.
NOTE: The Start Bot Workflow Action is one of several Actions in Autto that have a Run for Table option, which allows you to use it against every record in an existing table and enter the results into a new table. Using square brackets, you can then use the new table later on in the workflow. For more information, see Getting Started with Run for Table.
Setting Up a Start Bot Workflow Action
You can add Start Bot Workflow actions to a workflow once you have compiled the required information needed to trigger the start of the other workflows.
In addition, make sure to create a Workflow with Publishing Settings set to either Invitation Required or Registration Required. Otherwise, you will not be permitted to use a Start Bot Workflow action in your workflow.
To set up a Start Bot Workflow action:
- Drag a Start Bot Workflow action to the canvas of the Workflow Editor, then connect it to the previous action in the workflow.
- Position your cursor over the action, then click the Edit icon when it appears.
- Click the Run for Table option to use it with the Start Bot Workflow action. You can skip this step if your Action will not get any value from an existing table and pass that value on to an output table.
NOTE: If you are going to use a Start Bot Workflow action with Run for Table enabled (see Getting Started with Run for Table for more information), create or designate an input table first. You will need to select this table when setting up your Start Bot Workflow Action. This will start the target workflow for each line of the input table, pulling information from each line of that table.
- On the Action Editor, select the workflow that will be started using the action. Only Invitation Required or Registration Required workflows will appear on the list of workflows.
- Click Update.
- When asked to confirm the connection to the other workflow, click Confirm.
- Select the square brackets in the workflow that will be sent to the other workflow.
NOTE: The values under the Inputs column are automatically pulled from the Start action of the other workflow. In our example, name, date, and value are all taken from the Start action in Workflow 2.
- Click the X button on the Action Editor to close and save the Action.
Setting Up the Workflow to be Started by the Action
On the workflow to which the Start Bot Workflow action is connected, you need to set up starting square brackets in the Start action. These square brackets will take the values of the inputs passed from the Start Bot Workflow action. For more information, see Setting Up Starting Square Brackets in a Start Action.
NOTE: Publishing settings for the other workflow should also be either Invitation Required or Registration Required.
How the Start Bot Workflow Action Appears in the User Application
With the Start Bot Workflow action, you are passing information from one workflow to another workflow, which then runs automatically like a bot. In addition, data gathered in one workflow, including any information saved in square brackets, is passed on to the other workflow through the use of Starting Square Brackets in the Start action of the other workflow. This is all done seamlessly, with the two connected workflows acting as if they are part of a single workflow, rather than being two separate workflows. However, you still need to complete the rest of the actions in the current workflow. The other workflow is run by a bot until it gets handed off to another user or is completed.
This feature is not limited to a couple of workflows only - you can use more than one Start Bot Workflow action in your current workflow, allowing it to be connected to as many workflows as you need.
The data passed between workflows, including which workflow passed and received data, are viewable from the Data tabs of the workflows. For more information, see Viewing Progress, Workflow Data and Users.