Work with Flow Studio

Flow Studio allows you to drag and drop end-to-end automation Flows. With more than 300 point-and-click functions, Flow Studio brings together workflow combinations, data preparations, data analytics, and machine learning to build automations with a wide range of complexity.

Overview

A completed automation process in Hero Platform_ is called a Flow. Flows are built within Flow Studio. A completed Flow contains Input(s) specifying what data to bring into Hero Platform_, functions to build your automation, and Output(s) to write the data back out of Hero Platform_. When a Flow has been completed, you can schedule the Flow to begin running.

Open Flow Studio

Open Flow Studio by:

Using the Element Browser

The element browser is a menu that stores each type of element (Inputs, Outputs, functions) available to use in a Flow.

The elements are separated by type:

  • Inputs
  • Aggregations
  • Creators
  • Filters
  • Flattens
  • Formulas
  • Lookups
  • Procedures
  • Outputs

Each element type can be expanded/minimized by clicking the drop-down icon.

Each element can be dragged and dropped onto the Flow Studio canvas.

Search for elements using the search bar at the top of the element browser.

Add text features to annotate your Flow:

  • Comment - Drag and drop the "Comment" element to add an editable speech bubble to the Flow Studio canvas.
  • Headline - Drag and drop the "Headline" element to add large editable text to the Flow Studio canvas.
  • Text - Drag and drop the "Text" element to add small editable text to the Flow Studio canvas.

Parts of an Element

Element Title Bar

  • Double-click on the element icon in the top right of the box to:
    • Add notes to an Input.
    • Configure a function or an Output.
  • Double-click on the element's name to rename the element.
  • Click the page/magnifying glass icon to open the preview data at the bottom of the screen.
  • Click the up/down caret icon to expand or collapse the element's information section.

Element Information

Inputs

Input elements display:

  • The Connection name used for the Input data.
  • The source of the data.
  • Field names that are outgoing from the element further into the Flow. 

Double-click within the Input element's information section to add notes to the Input element.

Functions

Function elements display:

  • Field names coming from previous elements in the Flow.
  • New field names that are outgoing from the element further into the Flow. 

Double-click within the function element's information section to configure the function.

Outputs

Output elements display:

  • Field names that coming from previous elements in the Flow.
  • New field names that are outgoing from the element further into the Flow. 

Double-click within the Output element's information section to configure the Output's field mapping.

Add Inputs

The first step in building your Flow in the Flow Studio is adding an Input which allows you to bring selected data into Hero Platform_.

  1. Add an Input in Flow Studio by opening the Input menu in the element browser.

  2. Select the Input from the list and drag it onto the Flow Studio canvas.

An Input has now been added to the Flow.

Create new Inputs

Inputs can be created in the Inputs section of Hero Platform_ or directly within a Flow.

To create a new Input from within the Flow Studio:

  1. Open the element browser in the Flow Studio.
  2. Click the + icon next to Input in the element browser.

  3. Enter the Input configuration.
    (A valid Connection for the Input must already be configured.)

The Input is now available in the element browser to use in the Flow.

Upload a CSV Input file

Hero Platform_ supports uploading a CSV file as an Input from within the Flow Studio. 

The Input configuration is saved in Inputs. The data and schema is saved in Hero Platform_'s Data Store.

To upload a CSV file as a Input:

  1. Click Upload on the Hero Platform_ toolbar.
  2. Enter a name for the Input and click OK. This name is also used to identify the file in the Data Store.
  3. Click Choose file... and select a CSV file from the file browser and click Save.
  4. Configure the CSV parameters and click Save.
  5. Review and adjust the field mapping. When complete, click Save.

The new Input is displayed on the Flow Studio canvas.

Drag and drop a CSV or binary file Input

Along with creating and using a standard Input, users also have the ability to drag and drop a .csv or binary file onto the Flow Studio canvas.

The data is uploaded to Hero Platform_'s Data store and can be found in the Inputs after uploading has been completed.

Add multiple Inputs

Additional Inputs can be add to a Flow.

  1. To add additional Inputs, drag and drop additional Inputs from the Input list onto the canvas.

Edit or Delete an Input

All Inputs have two edit options:

  • Edit
  • Edit Outputs

The action Edit allows users to add a text note to the Input.

The action Edit also allows the user to select the schema version for Robin and Data Store Inputs.

To edit an Input:

  1. Right-click the Input and select Edit.
  2. Add a note (or select the schema version for Robin or Data Store Inputs).
  3. Click OK to save.

The action Edit Outputs allows users to remove or reinstate input fields from the Input.

To edit the output fields of an Input:

  1. Right-click the Input and select Edit Outputs.
  2. Mark the boxes of the fields the to use from the Input.
  3. Click OK to save.

An Input in Flow Studio deleted from the Flow process.

To delete an Input:

  1. Right-click on the Input name and select Delete.


  • An Input cannot be deleted if there are branched functions or Outputs currently attached in the process.
  • An Input with only a straight process of functions without an Output can be deleted. The deleted Input also deletes the attached functions.
  • After selecting DELETE, an applicable Input is deleted from the Flow without an additional confirmation prompt.

Add Functions

Functions are used to implement the automation's logic and become active when they are connected within the Flow.

  1. To add functions in the Flow, select a function from the Element Browser and drag and drop it onto the canvas.

  2. Click and drag the cable plug (a dot on the side of element boxes) from the Input to the function.
    Configure the function and click OK.

A function has now been added to the Flow.

Add multiple functions

Add multiple functions to the Flow in a straight or branched process using the add function method above.

Edit or delete a function

The settings of a function in Flow Studio can be edited or deleted from the Flow process.

To edit a function:

  1. Right-click on the function and select EDIT.

  2. Adjust the function specific settings.

  3. Click OK.

Functions and Outputs attached to the edited function use the same data fields as the original function's settings. If data field names have changed, the updated process might not be functional.

An error message is displayed: Some functions are invalid.

To delete a function:

  1. Right-click on the function name and select DELETE.


  • A function cannot be deleted if there are branched functions in a forward position in the process.
  • After selecting DELETE, an applicable function is deleted from the Flow without an additional confirmation prompt.

Copy and paste elements

Copying and pasting Flow elements does not copy data from the Input.

Elements on the canvas of the Flow Studio can be copied and pasted.

The copy and paste functionally in the Flow Studio works the same as the systems copy and paste functionally.

Keyboard shortcutAction
Ctrl/Cmd + ccopy
Ctrl/Cmd + ppaste

After element(s) can be copied and pasted within the same Flow or into different Flow.

To copy and paste Flow elements:

  1. Select the elements to be copied.
    Multiple elements can be selected by holding the Ctrl/Cmd keyboard key while selecting elements.
  2. Right-click and select Copy or use the keyboard shortcut Ctrl/Cmd + c
  3. Open the Flow to paste the elements.
    or, the elements can be pasted into the same Flow from where they were copied.
  4. Right-click and select Paste or use the keyboard shortcut Ctrl/Cmd + p

It is also possible to save a copied element as text to use in a future Flow.

  1. Copy the desired elements in a Flow.
  2. Paste the copied elements as text to text editor.
  3. At a later time, copy the text from text editor and use the paste functionality to paste the Flow elements into Flow Studio.

Example:

UEsDBBQACAgIAPRjLVMAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAApAAAAZmxvdy9iNWVlY2YzYy04NGVmLTQwNjctOWI5
Zi0xODlmNGI0NTU1NDKtVMlu2zAQ/RWDZ0mQtdiWb60DpwEaN0iMXgojoMWRTYQiBS6Jg8D/3qEk
283Sg9NehNFw+GZ58/hCHkEbriSZkiROhlERpWMSkFIDtcC+PqMfdo3SFp2S1oD/p+ML/JDpCzFQ
KskMmQ5H6TBPR2kc+2ip0FWkeZrlcRzvA1Irxiv+FvbgPRftnjOEWecAZZWW4SSDKszi0Tgs1kUV
DidFla2zPM+zBJOsBQCbKa1d0xVOybSiwkCAhUDpLM7gWjHf393y9mq2xDsbTZutr6gU1GByYqgA
swWtokqop6gR1FZK1xFDOO8xaG2i9lo0x//LFgDHpaQFaY3HkpgEjV/nooKAGjGimTNW1XMnS1/y
wpf8OoEBa7nctPa9fW58S9dOWN4ImClpLMXADuXuEBoQJECwrq7WXHRcfwMhFB5TvXE+/QVUXHLb
LswJ/gD7pY/CC49UuJbNLuQUe6N5jQCPMPdplt4ZtEFXrJ/94pLsjwBkuaXywQxwIgOh1AOWO6B2
YLfcDGBHa2zKR38uy36/wrsaDI5nfhqAfN37J7FXONSepY+n9jfeVQOa+mATlS1NB5io7mksDzRG
74idv0+JLbZKKbLRKKPDOEySgoZZQllIAeUyput8PJ5MRozlXuXK9ip3vNPJC6GCU/PHHg2O+TBs
R6b5ZByhSFHW6STxFjcX3GCZEkqU21Fq3MyUELQx3me1a10LTPjO/cSZRe2h9iOvddiVwjFgR5Zw
ulw27gPa2s39NGvBEefeOuwUT/8Hlim3UNOf/Vt7LuL3H2/x1q58APsvxa3aDQW2gX6cJ7aZppVd
9O/UqtuI3txo5ZrWRvHg0013t2A198dJ+3tDNRUCBDc1PuABwf1tmgOt+99QSwcIA5P6wJECAABv
BgAAUEsBAhQAFAAICAgA9GMtUwOT+sCRAgAAbwYAACkAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAGZsb3cvYjVl
ZWNmM2MtODRlZi00MDY3LTliOWYtMTg5ZjRiNDU1NTQyUEsFBgAAAAABAAEAVwAAAOgCAAAAAA==

List of functions

See the full list of Flow Studio functions.

Add Outputs

The final step in building your Flow in the Flow Studio is adding an Output which allows for writing selected data out from Hero Platform_.

  1. Add an Output in Flow Studio by opening the Output menu in the element browser.
    Select the Output from the list and drag it onto the Flow Studio canvas. 

  2. Click and drag a cable plug (a dot on the side of an element box) from a function to the Output.
    Map the Flow fields with matching fields in the Output and click OK.

    An Output has now been added to your Flow.

    If the Input field in a Flow has a tuple data type, Outputs have the ability to use a value from that tuple’s nested tuple values.

    Hero Platform_ also has an Automatic Output selection under Outputs in the element browser that outputs data to the Data Store.

Create new Outputs

Outputs can be created in the Outputs section of Hero Platform_ or directly within a Flow.

To create a new Output from within the Flow Studio:

  1. Open the element browser in the Flow Studio.
  2. Click the + icon next to Output in the element browser.

  3. Enter the Output configuration.
    (A valid Connection for the Output must already be configured.)

The Output is now available in the element browser to use in the Flow.

Add multiple Outputs

Additional Outputs can be added to a Flow.

  1. Add additional Outputs in Flow Studio by opening the Output menu in the Element Browser.
    Select an additional Output from the list and drag it onto the Flow Studio canvas.

  2. Click and drag a cable plug (a dot on the side of an element box) to the Output.
    Map the Flow fields with matching fields in the Output and click OK.

Edit, change, or delete an Output

An Output in Flow Studio can be edited, changed, or deleted from the Flow process.

To edit an Output:

  1. Right-click on the Output name and select EDIT.

  2. Adjust the Output specific settings.
  3. Click OK.

To delete an Output:

  1. Right-click on the Output name and select DELETE.

After selecting DELETE, an Output is deleted from the Flow without an additional confirmation prompt.

Merge Flow Branches

Join Flow branches in Flow Studio into a single branch Merge allows similar data from different data sources to be leveraged in the same Automation Flow.

To merge Inputs:

  1. Drag and drop and additional Input(s) onto the canvas.

  2. Drag and drop a cable from the unattached Input into function element already attached to an Input.

  3. The merge configuration box is displayed.
    • Click Add output field.
      Enter a name for the data output field.
    • Select input fields to merge.
    • Additional output fields can be created. 

    To save time, the input field names can be automatically set as the output field names by clicking Use as output under the desired Input.


  4. A Merge icon appears on the canvas that connects each Input.

Merging Inputs only append tuples, it does not combine tuples.

Add Comments to Flow Elements

Notes can be added to Flow elements (Inputs, functions, and Outputs).

To add a note to a Flow element:

  1. Right click the element in the Flow and select Edit.
  2. Enter text into the Note field.

Notes can be viewed in a Flow by clicking on the "Note" drop-down box at the bottom of the element.

Preview Data

View a preview of the data anywhere within the Flow.

To preview data:

  1. Click the preview data icon located at the top of each element to view the data.
  2. The preview data is located at the bottom of the screen.

After the preview data has been displayed, click the expand/minimize icon on the preview data box to:

  • minimize the preview data when expanded.
  • expand the preview data when minimized.

The data used to generate the preview data is a random selection from the input data fields. Any partitions set in the Flow configuration are not taken into account when generating the preview data.

Preview data error messages

Inline error messages are displayed in the preview data. 

The errors alert users to specific problems that are caused by individual tuples of a field so that errors can be caught and corrected in the design phase.

  • The number of errors are displayed at the top of the preview data.
  • A dot (red) located on the left side of the preview data record indicates an error in that record.
  • An exclamation mark icon (red) indicates an error with that specific tuple. Hover over the error icon to display the error message.

Error in Flow with no preview data

If an error occurs in the Flow which causes preview data to not be displayed, an error message is displayed in the preview window.

Click Show Stacktrace to view a detailed account of the error occuring in the Flow. 

Save and Close a Flow

To save a Flow:

  • Click Save on the toolbar at the top of screen.

To close a Flow:

  • Click Close at the top right corner of the screen.


  • If a Flow is closed with unsaved changes, a dialog box is displayed with the following options:
    • Click Back to editor to cancel closing the Flow and remain in the Flow Studio.
    • Click Discard and exit to close the Flow and delete any unsaved changes.
    • Click Save and exit to save the current progress in the Flow and leave the Flow Studio.

Recover unsaved Flow changes

If the Flow Studio was left before selecting to save or discard changes, the previous changes can be recovered.

To recover unsaved changes:

  • Open a Flow. If the Flow has unsaved changes:
    • Click Yes to revert back to the Flow's previous progress.
    • Click No to discard previous unsaved changes. 

The option to restore unsaved changes is not available if any node in an unsaved Flow was removed from Hero Platform_.

Example:

  1. A user creates a Flow with an Input, functions, and an Output.
  2. The user leaves the Flow unsaved.
  3. The user opens the Output dashboard in Hero Platform_ and deletes the Output used in the Flow example.
  4. When reopening the unsaved Flow, there is no option to recover unsaved changes.

This is to protect the Flow from possible corruption. 

Run a Flow

When a Flow is complete and ready to be run, there are two methods to start the Flow running.

Run a Flow immediately from Flow Studio

When the Flow has been completed and should run immediately:

  • Click Run Now in the toolbar. 
    • The Flow is saved with this action.

After clicking Run Now, Hero Platform_ closes the Flow Studio and displays the Flows dashboard.

Run a Flow at a scheduled time

When a Flow has been completed, it can be scheduled to run at a specific and/or reoccurring times:

  • Save the Flow by clicking Save in the toolbar.
  • On the Flow Dashboard, locate the Flow and click the gear icon for menu options.
  • Click Schedule

Making edits to a Flow that has been scheduled

After editing and saving a Flow that had already been scheduled, it is necessary to stop that Flow before the new edits become active. After stopping the Flow, it can be rescheduled and the changes made to the Flow are applied.

Flow Studio Toolbar

The Flow Studio toolbar is located at the top of the page.

OptionDescription
UploadSelect to close the Flow Studio. Unsaved changes are not saved when closing.

Save

Select to save your the work on your Flow. 
UndoSelect to undo the previous action made in Flow Studio. This command is only applicable for actions made in the current session of the Flow. 
RedoSelect to redo the previous action made in Flow Studio. This command is only applicable for actions made in the current session of the Flow. 
Reset ViewSelect to restore the original view of the Flow Studio.

Zoom In

Zoom Out

Select to adjust the viewpoint of the Flow.

Zoom in moves the view closer to the elements.

Zoom out moves the view farther away from the elements.

Run NowSelect to run the Flow immediately.
Close

Select to close the Flow Studio.

Click Back to editor to cancel closing the Flow Studio.

Click Discard and exit to close the Flow studio with unsaved changes.

Click Save and exit to save all unsaved changes and close the Flow Studio.

Simple Flow Example

Here is an example of a simple flow.

The first white element is an Input that brings in data fields into Hero Platform_ from your data's location.

The blue element is a type of function that performs an action or calculation on your specified data.

The last white element is an Output where the adjusted data is written back out of Hero Platform_ to an outside data location.