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Flows

Concord flows consist of series of steps executing various actions: calling plugins (also known as “tasks”), performing data validation, creating forms and other steps.

Structure

The flows section should contain at least one flow definition:

flows:
  default:
    ...

  anotherFlow:
    ...

Each flow must have a unique name and at least one step.

Steps

Each flow is a list of steps:

flows:
  default:
    - log: "Hello!"

    - if: ${1 > 2}
      then:
        - log: "How is this possible?"

    - log: "Bye!"

Flows can contain any number of steps and call each other. See below for the description of available steps and syntax constructs.

Expressions

Expressions must be valid Java Expresssion Language EL 3.0 syntax and can be simple evaluations or perform actions by invoking more complex code.

Short form:

flows:
  default:
    # calling a method
    - ${myBean.someMethod()}

    # calling a method with an argument
    - ${myBean.someMethod(myContextArg)}

    # literal values
    - ${1 + 2}

    # EL 3.0 extensions:
    - ${[1, 2, 3].stream().map(x -> x + 1).toList()}

Full form:

flows:
  default:
    - expr: ${myBean.someMethod()}
      out: myVar
      error:
        - log: "whoops, something happened"

Full form can optionally contain additional declarations:

  • out field - contains the name of a variable, in which a result of the expression will be stored;
  • error block - to handle any exceptions thrown by the evaluation.

Literal values, for example arguments or form field values, can contain expressions:

configuration:
  arguments:
    colors:
      blue: "blue"
    aFieldsInitialValue: "hello!"

flows:
  default:
    - task: myTask
      in:
        colors: ["red", "green", "${colors.blue}"]

    - task: myTask
      in:
        nested:
          literals: "${myOtherTask.doSomething()}"

forms:
  myForm:
    - aField: { type: "string", value: "${aFieldsInitialValue}" }

Classes from the package java.lang can be accessed via EL syntax:

flows:
  default:
    - log: "Process running on ${System.getProperty('os.name')}"

Conditional Execution

Concord supports both if-then-else and switch steps:

configuration:
  arguments:
    myVar: 123

flows:
  default:
    - if: ${myVar > 0}
      then:                           # (1)
        - log: it's clearly non-zero
      else:                           # (2)
        - log: zero or less

    - log: "myVar: ${myVar}"          # (3)

In this example, after then (1) or else (2) block are completed, the execution continues with the next step in the flow (3).

“And”, “or” and “not” operations are supported as well:

flows:
  default:
    - if: ${true && true}
      then:
        - log: "Right-o"

    - if: ${true || false}
      then:
        - log: "Yep!"

    - if: ${!false}
      then:
        - log: "Correct!"

To compare a value (or the result of an expression) with multiple values, use the switch block:

configuration:
  arguments:
    myVar: "green"

flows:
  default:
    - switch: ${myVar}
      red:
        - log: "It's red!"
      green:
        - log: "It's definitely green"
      default:
        - log: "I don't know what it is"

    - log: "Moving along..."

In this example, branch labels red and green are the compared values and default is the block which will be executed if no other value fits.

Expressions can be used as branch values:

configuration:
  arguments:
    myVar: "red"
    aKnownValue: "red"

flows:
  default:
    - switch: ${myVar}
      ${aKnownValue}:
        - log: "Yes, I recognize this"
      default:
        - log: "Nope"

Groups of Steps

Several steps can be grouped into one block. This allows try-catch-like semantics:

flows:
  default:
    - log: "a step before the group"

    - try:
        - log: "a step inside the group"
        - ${myBean.somethingDangerous()}
      error:
        - log: "well, that didn't work"

See the Error Handling section for more details.

Calling Other Flows

Flows can be called using the call step:

flows:
  default:
    - log: hello

    - call: anotherFlow
      # (optional) additional call parameters
      in:
        msg: "Hello!"

    - log: bye

  anotherFlow:
    - log: "message from another flow: ${msg}"

A call step can optionally contain additional declarations:

  • in - input parameters (arguments) of the call;
  • withItems - see the Loops section;
  • retry - see Retry section.

Setting Variables

The set step can be used to set variables in the current process context:

flows:
  default:
    - set:
        a: "a-value"
        b: 3
    - log: ${a}
    - log: ${b}

Nested data can be updated using the . syntax:

configuration:
  arguments:
    myComplexData:
      nestedValue: "Hello"

flows:
  default:
    - set:
        myComplexData.nestedValue: "Bye"
    
    # will print "Bye, Concord"
    - log: "${myComplexData.nestedValue}, Concord"

A number of variables are automatically set in each process and available for usage.

Checkpoints

A checkpoint is a point defined within a flow at which Concord persists the process state. This process state can subsequently be restored and process execution can continue. A flow can contain multiple checkpoints.

The REST API can be used for listing and restoring checkpoints. Alternatively you can restore a checkpoint to continue processing directly from the Concord Console.

The checkpoint step can be used to create a named checkpoint:

flows:
  default:
    - log: "Starting the process..."
    - checkpoint: "first"
    - log: "Continuing the process..."
    - checkpoint: "second"
    - log: "Done!"

The example above creates two checkpoints: first and second. These checkpoints can be used to restart the process from the point after the checkpoint’s step. For example, if the process is restored using first checkpoint, all steps starting from Continuing the process... message and further are executed.

Checkpoint names can contain expressions:

configuration:
  arguments:
    checkpointSuffix: "checkpoint"

flows:
  default:
    - log: "Before the checkpoint"
    - checkpoint: "first_${checkpointSuffix}"
    - log: "After the checkpoint"

Checkpoint names must start with a (latin) letter or a digit, can contain whitespace, underscores _, @, dots ., minus signs - and tildes ~. The length must be between 2 and 128 characters. Here’s the regular expression used for validation:

^[0-9a-zA-Z][[email protected]\\-~ ]{1,128}$

Only process initiators, administrators and users with WRITER access level to the process’ project can restore checkpoints with the API or the user console.

After restoring a checkpoint, its name can be accessed using the resumeEventName variable.

Note: files created during the process’ execution are not saved during the checkpoint creation.

Parallel Execution

Note: this is a “preview” feature. The syntax is subject to change.

The parallel block executes all step in parallel:

flows:
  default:
    - parallel:
        - ${sleep.ms(3000)}
        - ${sleep.ms(3000)}

    - log: "Done!"

The runtime executes each step in its own Java thread.

Variables that exist at the start of the parallel block are copied into each thread.

The out block can be used to return variables from the parallel block back into the flow:

- parallel:
    - task: http
      in:
        url: https://google.com/
      out: googleResponse

    - task: http
      in:
        url: https://bing.com/
      out: bingResponse
  out:
    - googleResponse
    - bingResponse

- log: |
    Google: ${googleResponse.statusCode}
    Bing: ${bingResponse.statusCode}

Note: currently, to pass current variables into a parallel block, the runtime performs a “shallow copy”. If you’re passing collections or non-primitive objects in or out of the parallel block, you can still modify the original variable:

# TODO

Loops

Concord flows can iterate through a collection of items in a loop using the withItems syntax:

- call: myFlow
  withItems:
    - "first element"   # string item
    - "second element"
    - 3                 # a number
    - false             # a boolean value

# withItems can also be used with tasks
- task: myTask
  in:
    myVar: ${item}
  withItems:
    - "first element"
    - "second element"

The collection of items to iterate over can be provided by an expression:

configuration:
  arguments:
    myItems:
      - 100500
      - false
      - "a string value"

flows:
  default:
  - call: myFlow
    withItems: ${myItems}

The items are referenced in the invoked flow with the ${item} expression:

  myFlow:
    - log: "We got ${item}"

Maps (dicts, in Python terms) can also be used:

flows:
  default:
    - call: log
      in:
        msg: "${item.key} - ${item.value}"
      withItems:
        a: "Hello"
        b: "world"

In the example above withItems iterates over the keys of the object. Each ${item} provides key and value attributes.

Lists of nested objects can be used in loops as well:

flows:
  default:
    - call: deployToClouds
      withItems:
        - name: cloud1
          fqdn: cloud1.myapp.example.com
        - name: cloud2
          fqdn: cloud2.myapp.example.com

  deployToClouds:
    - log: "Starting deployment to ${item.name}"
    - log: "Using FQDN ${item.fqdn}"

Error Handling

Handling Errors In Flows

Task and expression errors are regular Java exceptions, which can be “caught” and handled using a special syntax.

Expressions, tasks, groups of steps and flow calls can have an optional error block, which is executed if an exception occurs:

flows:
  default:
    # handling errors in an expression
    - expr: ${myTask.somethingDangerous()}
      error:
        - log: "Gotcha! ${lastError}"

    # handling errors in tasks
    - task: myTask
      error:
        - log: "Fail!"
    
    # handling errors in groups of steps
    - try:
        - ${myTask.doSomethingSafe()}
        - ${myTask.doSomethingDangerous()}
      error:
        - log: "Here we go again"
    
    # handling errors in flow calls
    - call: myOtherFlow
      error:
        - log: "That failed too"

The ${lastError} variable contains the last caught java.lang.Exception object.

If an error is caught, the execution continues from the next step:

flows:
  default:
    - try:
        - throw: "Catch that!"
      error:
        - log: "Caught an error: ${lastError}"
    
    - log: "Continue the execution..."

An execution logs Caught an error message and then Continue the execution.

Handling Cancellations, Failures and Timeouts

When a process is CANCELLED (killed) by a user, a special flow onCancel is executed:

flows:
  default:
    - log: "Doing some work..."
    - ${sleep.ms(60000)}

  onCancel:
    - log: "Pack your bags, boys. Show's cancelled"

Similarly, onFailure flow executes if a process crashes (moves into the FAILED state):

flows:
  default:
    - log: "Brace yourselves, we're going to crash!"
    - throw: "Crash!"

  onFailure:
    - log: "Yep, we just crashed."

In both cases, the server starts a child process with a copy of the original process state and uses onCancel or onFailure as an entry point.

Note: onCancel and onFailure handlers receive the last known state of the parent process’ variables. This means that changes in the process state are visible to the child processes:

configuration:
  arguments:
    # original value
    myVar: "abc"

flows:
  default:
  # let's change something in the process state...
  - set:
      myVar: "xyz"

  # will print "The default flow got xyz"
  - log: "The default flow got ${myVar}"

  # ...and then crash the process
  - throw: "Boom!"

  onFailure:
    # will log "I've got xyz"
    - log: "I've got ${myVar}"

In addition, onFailure flow receives lastError variable which contains the parent process’ last (unhandled) error:

flows:
  default:
    - throw: "Kablamo!"
        
  onFailure:
    - log: "${lastError.cause}"

Nested data is also supported:

flows:
  default:
  - throw:
      myCause: "I wanted to"
      whoToBlame:
        mainCulpit: "${currentUser.username}"
        
  onFailure:
    - log: "The parent process failed because ${lastError.cause.payload.myCause}."
    - log: "And ${lastError.cause.payload.whoToBlame.mainCulpit} is responsible for it!"

If the process runs longer than the specified timeout, Concord cancels is and executes the special onTimeout flow:

configuration:
  processTimeout: "PT1M" # 1 minute timeout

flows:
  default:
    - ${sleep.ms(120000)} # sleep for 2 minutes

  onTimeout:
    - log: "I'm going to run when my parent process times out"

If an onCancel, onFailure or onTimeout flow fails, it is automatically retried up to three times.

Retry

The retry attribute can be used to re-run a task, group of steps or a flow automatically in case of errors. Users can define the number of times the call can be re-tried and a delay for each retry.

  • delay - the time span after which it retries. The delay time is always in seconds, default value is 5;
  • in - additional parameters for next attempt;
  • times - the number of times a task/flow can be retried.

For example the below section executes the myTask using the provided in parameters. In case of errors, the task retries up to 3 times with 3 seconds delay each. Additional parameters for the retry are supplied in the in block.

- task: myTask
  in:
    ...
  retry:
    in:
      ...additional parameters...
    times: 3
    delay: 3

Retry flow call:

- call: myFlow
  in:
    ...
  retry:
    in:
      ...additional parameters...
    times: 3
    delay: 3

The default in and retry variables with the same values are overwritten.

In the example below the value of someVar is overwritten to 321 in the retry block..

- task: myTask
  in:
    someVar:
      nestedValue: 123
  retry:
    in:
      someVar:
        nestedValue: 321
        newValue: "hello"

The retry block also supports expressions:

configuration:
  arguments:
    retryTimes: 3
    retryDelay: 2

flows:
  default:
    - task: myTask
      retry:
        times: "${retryTimes}"
        delay: "${retryDelay}"

Throwing Errors

The throw step can be used to throw a new RuntimeException with the supplied message anywhere in a flow including in error sections and in conditional expressions such as if-then or switch-case.

flows:
  default:
    - try:
        - log: "Do something dangerous here"
      error:
        - throw: "Oh no, something went wrong."

Alternatively a caught exception can be thrown again using the lastError variable:

flows:
  default:
    - try:
        - log: "Do something dangerous here"
      error:
        - throw: ${lastError}