Accessing and Managing Automations

Tim Shin
Tim Shin
  • Updated

FME Version

  • FME 2023.0

Introduction

This article provides a brief overview of how to access, build, and manage your own automations, along with information on how to view triggered jobs and Automation logs for troubleshooting in FME Flow. 

 

Step-by-step Instructions 

Part 1: Accessing Automations

Access automations by logging into the FME Flow web interface. If you don’t see the Automations menu item (pictured below) ask your FME Flow Administrator for access to Automations.

The Automations menu has links to Create Automations or Manage the ones you’ve already created.

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Part 2: Assemble and Configure your Automation

After clicking on Create Automation through the Automations Menu, the Getting Started dialog will appear. Review the content on the Learn tab for more getting started information. When you are ready to create a new automation, either close the dialog or switch to the Create tab and select Create New. 

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Clicking Don’t Show on Startup will disable the Getting Started dialog when clicking Create Automation on the side menu. 

You’ll begin in Guided Mode, where you’ll see a Trigger component and two Next Action nodes connected to the success and failure output ports on the Automations canvas. 

In Guided mode, Next Action nodes will be visible so that you can add and configure action components without needing to drag connection lines to connect components. New Next Actions nodes will appear each time you add a trigger or action component on the Automations canvas. 

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A red exclamation mark is visible on  Triggers.jpg Triggers, Actions.jpg  Actions, and ExternalActions.jpg External Actions that have not yet been configured. Double-click the Trigger node to configure it. First, you must choose what type of event will trigger the automation workflow. Once a Trigger has been chosen from the drop-down, configuration parameters will appear.

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Once the Trigger has been configured, double-click the silhouetted Next Action that is connected to the Trigger to open the Action Details panel.

The Next Action is what should happen once the automation is triggered. Picking from the Actions list will continue the automation with options on success or failure; the External Actions list will send output to another process, ending that branch of the automation.

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Nodes can be added to the automation by clicking and dragging their icons from the toolbar.jpg toolbar in the lower left out onto the canvas. If you find you prefer to add nodes manually rather than through the visual prompts, select “Hide Guides” in the Automations Menu.

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All Triggers, Actions, and External Actions have two output ports: one for success and one for failure.  The failure port will be used on a Trigger if FME Flow cannot connect to a service or there are issues with authentication. 

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Workspace Actions that run workspaces with Automations writers will have additional output ports listed below the pass and fail ports - one additional port for each Automations writer feature type in the workspace. Different destinations for each output port can be set, so that, for example, a successful action triggers another workspace to run and a failure emails some responsible party for troubleshooting. See Routing Data Between Workspaces in Automations for an example on using the Automations Writer. 

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Part 3: Automation Components

Automations can consist of the following components:

ManualTrigger.jpg
Manual Triggers: Allows the automation to be run on demand rather than in response to a schedule or event. Extremely useful for testing as it allows sample JSON messages to be passed downstream.

Triggers.jpg 
Triggers: A Trigger listens for and receives messages from an external client or from within FME Flow. Every automation begins with a Trigger.

Actions.jpg
Actions: Process messages from a trigger with an FME workspace or other tool hosted on FME Flow.

ExternalActions.jpg
External Actions: Sends a message to an external client or another process in FME Flow. What happens afterward is no longer part of this automation.

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Split-Merge Block: Combine messages from multiple workspace actions. See Getting Started with the Split-Merge Block for more information. 

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Annotations: Add annotations to the automation canvas just like in FME Workbench, which can be stand-alone or attached to components.

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Bookmarks: Organizes your workflow by grouping and separating components.

For a full description of triggers and actions available, please visit the Automations documentation.
 

Part 4: Organize and Run the Automation

Save an automation through the Automation Menu or by clicking the save_icon.jpg save icon above the canvas. When saving an automation for the first time, you’ll be prompted to add or remove descriptive tags, which you can use to filter your growing collection of automations, these are optional.

There are tools for zooming/panning around the canvas and organizing or annotating automations available on the top menu bar or through the hamburger menu in the upper right, depending on browser size:

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Annotations or bookmarks that separate major components of the workflow can be added from the toolbar.jpg toolbar in the lower left or by right-clicking on the canvas or on a component and clicking Create Bookmark/Attach Annotation. The colors of the annotations and bookmarks can be edited by right-clicking on the bookmark/annotation > Change Color and selecting the color.

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To start an automation, click the “Start Automation” button at the top right. You will be prompted to save any recent changes. 

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While the automation is running, you may not make any modifications to it. To stop the automation so that it can be modified or removed, click the same button, which now says “Stop Automation”.

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Part 5: Managing Automations

To manage any automation, click on Automations > Manage Automations in the left side FME Flow menu to view a list of saved automations.

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On the Manage Automations page, you can check which automations are currently enabled or see at a glance if there are any errors that may require your attention. At the top of the screen is a filter bar where you can opt to view only those automations with a specific tag.

Select an automation, and the Actions button will become available, allowing you to start or stop the automation, view its log file or triggered jobs, duplicate it to build a similar workflow, remove it, or create an Automation App.

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Part 6: Troubleshooting Automations

Viewing Triggered Jobs
Under Automations > Manage Automations, in the Actions menu (pictured above), selecting 'View Triggered Jobs' will show a list of all jobs triggered by the automation that is currently selected. Here you will see the job start and finish time, its current status, and other useful parameters. You may also filter the list of jobs on the Jobs > Completed page to see all jobs with source type “Automations”. This will help you keep track of what workspaces are being run by your automations.

Log files
Each automation has one log file (also accessible from the Actions menu) that collects information so you can easily track errors/warnings. Logs can be exported or cleared for easy sharing, archiving, or added clarity. If a log contains any warnings, this will be easily visible from the manage page. When changes are made to an automation to address warnings or change workflow, you may want to archive the log and clear it to make it easier to track current issues.

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For the Accessing and Managing Automations automation above,  there are two warnings under the Status column. These warnings may be from an incorrect web connection, missing data, or something else. To find out more detailsselect “View log file” from the Actions menu or through the Automations Menu for more information. 

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The toolbar on the Automation Log page can be used to display only log messages from when the automation was last started, filter log actions, errors, warnings, and information messages, hide/display timestamps, reverse the chronological order of log messages or refresh the log display. The red text in the Automation Log provides information regarding the errors shown under the Status column on the Manage Automations page.

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