Cloudy holding a laptop and standing under tex that says "Understand Tricky Flow Concepts."

5 New Videos to Help You Understand Tricky Flow Concepts

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When I started learning Flow Builder as an admin, it was difficult to wrap my head around many of the concepts. “I’m not a developer!” I cried. “Doesn’t this tool exist so that you don’t have to be a developer?!”

Although it’s true that you don’t need to know how to write code to use Flow, you do need to understand a few advanced concepts, like variables and Get Records.

We made this series of videos to explain some ideas behind Flow. We’re not going to show you here how to build a flow, but, hopefully, you’ll have a much greater understanding when you get back into Flow.

Video 1: Intro to Flow Builder

As an admin, the three types of flows you’re most likely to build are screen flows, record-triggered flows, and autolaunched flows. We’ll get into more details about all three types in the short video, but below is a brief overview.

  • Screen flows require users to input information like they’re filling out a form. Use these to collect info that needs to be stored on multiple objects, or if you want the user to quickly fill out a few fields instead of an entire page.
  • A record-triggered flow fires in the background when a record changes (or is created or deleted). For example, when an opportunity closes, the flow will automatically send your team a Slack message. (Did you know it could do that? So cool!) Use these when you want something to happen without user input.
  • Autolaunched flows are frequently not launched in an auto-matic way at all. Use these when you want to launch a flow with a button on a record or the utility bar.

Video 2: Variables

That’s enough of the easy stuff—let’s get into it now. You may remember variables from algebra. Flow variables are similar. Let’s say X = 42, but if we add 4 to X, now X = 46. A variable in Flow could have a numeric value like 46 and the name of the variable could be “X”… Wait, did you just fall asleep? WAKE UP! Watch this cute video that shows you how variables are like Tupperware that can hold either a taco or a slice of pizza. You’ll learn a lot more about variables in the subsequent videos.

Video 3: Get Records

FYI: Flow knows nothing about our data. It is a blank canvas or an empty void. We have to tell Flow when we want it to reach over into the data using the Get Records element—and grab the contacts who were named after their grandmothers and play the ukulele at a mediocre level. Get Records is like a giant claw that’s ready to snatch all those Dorothys and Barbaras and dump them into variables in our flow. The flow can then use info from those variables to populate other records or take a relevant action.

Video 4: Data elements: Create/update/delete records

Flow should touch our actual data as little as possible. We use variables to hold info from our records so we don’t mess up our actual data during the flow. The greyed-out people in the video below represent record variables: temporary holding spots for our records’ field values while inside the flow.

When we want the flow to push changes from our variables out to our actual database (our Salesforce org), we use a Create, Update, or Delete Records element. Best practice is to use one of these elements with a variable that holds a collection of records, if applicable. You’ll see in the video how it’s more efficient to take a big garbage bag full of quotes to the dumpster than to take each item out one at a time.

Video 5: Flow loops

Remember back when you worked in an actual office and someone would get stuck having to clean out the fridge? This video shows how dealing with a collection of questionable Tupperware is just like dealing with a collection of records in a flow loop: You pick one item up at a time, decide what to do with it, put it off to the side, pick up the next item, and repeat until you’re ready to make your final changes.

This video will help you understand the five required steps for flow loops: Get Records, Loop, Assignment 1, Assignment 2, and Create/Update/Delete Element. (We’ve also thrown in a Decision element to make it easier to explain). Enjoy! (I love this one!)

Keep on learning

Enjoyed these videos and interested in learning more about Flow? We’ve got a trailmix for that! Check out Get Started with Flow on Trailhead to continue your Flow journey today!

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