Andy in the Cloud

From BBC Basic to Force.com and beyond…


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Flow in Winter’17 Lightning Experience

A short blog charting an evening with Flow, Lightning Experience in Winter’17

Flow on Record Detail Pages

Screen Shot 2016-08-30 at 22.11.47Flow makes its presence known in Lightning App Builder this release (in Beta) and with it some new possibilities for customising the Lightning Experience user experience, as well as Salesforce1 Mobile. I decided to focus on the Record Detail Pages as you want to see how it passes the recordId. As you can also see Flow gets an automatic face lift in this context, making them look properly at home!

Screen Shot 2016-08-30 at 22.05.48

This is the Screen element showing the passed information from Lighting App Builder…

Screen Shot 2016-08-30 at 22.08.48.png

By creating an Input variable in your Flow called recordId of type Text (see docs). Lightning App Builder will automatically pass in the record Id. You can also expose other input parameters, e.g. CustomMessage so long as they are Input or Input/Output.

Screen Shot 2016-08-30 at 22.00.19.png Screen Shot 2016-08-30 at 22.09.58.png

These will display in the properties pane in Lightning App Builder. Sadly you cannot bind other field values, but this does give some nice options for making the same Flow configurable for different uses on different pages!

Screen Shot 2016-08-30 at 22.04.27.png

Flow Custom Buttons with Selection List Views

Winter’17 brings with it the ability to select records in List Views. As with Salesforce Classic UI it will show checkboxes next to records in the List View, IF a Custom Button has been added to the List View layout that required multi-selection.

In my past blog Visual Flow with List View and Related List Buttons, prior to Winter’17. I was not able to replicate the very useful ability to pass user selected records to a Flow in Lightning Experience. I am now pleased to report that this works!

FlowListViewSelection.png
FlowOverSelectedRecords.pngThis results in the flow from my previous blog showing the selected records. As you can see, sadly because we are using a Visualforce page the lovely new Flow styling we see when using Flow (Beta) support in Lightning App Builder does not apply. But hey being able to select the records is a good step forward for now!  The setup of the Visualforce page and Custom Button is identical to that in my previous blog.

Screen Shot 2016-08-30 at 21.43.43.png

Summary

Flow continues to get a good level of love and investment in Salesforce releases, which pleases me a lot. Its a great tool, the only downside is with more features comes more complexity and thus a great need to stay on top of its capabilities, a nice problem to have!

 

 

 


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Introducing the Flow Factory

Flow is a great technology for providing a means for non-coders to build functionality. More so than any other point and click facility on the platform, even Process Builder. Why? Because it offers a rich set of Elements (operations) that contain conditional branching, loop and storage of variables. Along with the ability to read or update any object (API accessible) you like. Its almost like a programming language….

Ironically, like Apex, it is missing one increasingly asked for feature… being able to call another Flow that is not known at the time your writing your calling code. Such as one configured via the amazing Custom Metadata… Basically a kind of Apex reflection for Flow. Often the workaround for this type of problem is to use a factory pattern.

As i highlighted in this prior blog on calling Flow from Apex, the platform does not yet provide this capability to change this please up vote this idea. Well at least not in Apex, as there exists a REST API for this. Meanwhile though back in the land of Apex, it occurred to me when building the LittleBits Connector last year. As workaround i could generate a factory class that would workaround this.

I have created Flow Toolbelt library (GitHub repo here) and package (if you want to install that way) which takes last years solution and lifts it into its own smaller package. The Flow Factory tab discovers the Flows configured in your org and generates the required factory Apex class. If you add or remove flows you need to repeat the process.

FlowFactory.png

Once this has been Deployed you can use code like the following. Passing in the name of your Flow. Note this is a WIP version of the library and needs more error handling, so be sure to pass in a valid Flow name and also at least an empty params Map.

Flow.Interview flow =
  flowtb.FlowFactory.newInstance('TestA', new Map<String, Object>());
flow.start();
System.debug(flow.getVariableValue('Var'));

I think this concept can be extended to allow Flow to run from other Apex entry points, such as the recently added Sandbox Apex callback. Allowing you to run Flow when your Sandbox spins up. Let me know your thoughts, if this is something useful or not.

 

 


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Visual Flow with List View and Related List Buttons

Last years blog Clicks not Code with Visual Flow Custom Buttons has continued to be quite well received, so i thought i would explore what more could be done and address a few questions that have come up since. This blog does make some assumptions that you are already familiar with the approach from my previous blog.

This time i want to focus on using Visual Flows with list Custom Buttons, such buttons can be placed on List View layouts and Related List sections on Detail layouts. Salesforce also provides a means for the user to select specific records to process. These buttons apply to both Salesforce Classic and Salesforce Lighting Experience.

AccountFlowListView

As before we are keeping in the spirit of Clicks not Code, well with a little bit of reusable Visualforce code. But don’t worry you can easily copy and paste to adapt with a few changes. Critically with this approach you don’t need to resort to JavaScript based Custom Buttons, which will no longer be supported in Lighting Experience.

Handling Record Lists from Custom Buttons

First things first, ensure you have created a SObjectCollection variable in your Flow and ensured its designated as Input. For this blog we are simply going to display a step in the UI for each selected record. Using the Loop and Screen elements. One thing to keep track of is the fields your referencing within the Flow, in this case i’m using Account Name and Annual Amount.

SelectedAccountsFlow

List View Custom Button Example

Lets get started with a Custom Button on the Account List View. When adding a List Custom Button you have two choices, do you want the user to be able to select records or not? If not, then your button will pass all the records in the List View (currently limited to 2000).

So if when creating your Custom Button you plan to select the Display Checkboxes (for Multi-Record Selection) option. Then create the following Visualforce page, changing the object name and list of fields accordingly. This will ensure selected records are passed to your Flow.

<apex:page standardController="Account" tabStyle="Account" recordSetVar="AllAccounts" >
    <!-- Add below each field you reference in your Flow -->    
    <apex:repeat value="{!AllAccounts}" var="row" rendered="false">
        {!row.Name}
        {!row.AnnualRevenue}
    </apex:repeat>
    <!-- Runs your Flow -->    
    <flow:interview name="SelectedAccounts" 
          finishLocation="{!URLFOR($Action.Account.Tab, $ObjectType.Account)}">
        <apex:param name="SelectedRows" value="{!Selected}"/>
    </flow:interview>
</apex:page>

IMPLEMENTATION NOTE: If you want to avoid bothering with changes between lines 3-6, simply re-query the records in the Flow using the Fast Lookup element. Thought it’s less efficient this way since your not leveraging the query made by Visualforce.

If you don’t want the ability for the users to select records and want all records, the main difference to the above is a change to the line 10, passing in the AllAccounts binding.

    <!-- Runs your Flow -->    
    <flow:interview name="SelectedAccounts" 
          finishLocation="{!URLFOR($Action.Account.Tab, $ObjectType.Account)}">
        <apex:param name="SelectedRows" value="{!AllAccounts}"/>
    </flow:interview>

Don’t forget to add your button to the List View layout, select some records and give it a try!

SelectedAccountRow

Related List Custom Button Example

In this case the Visualforce page is much the same, accept that of course your placing the associated button on the Layout of the parent object by editing the applicable related list section. The following example shows a button on the Opportunities related list on the Account object.

<apex:page standardController="Opportunity" tabStyle="Opportunity" recordSetVar="AllOpportunities">
    <!-- Add below each field you reference in your Flow -->
    <apex:repeat value="{!AllOpportunities}" var="row" rendered="false">
        {!row.Name}
        {!row.Amount}
    </apex:repeat>
    <!-- Runs your Flow -->
    <flow:interview name="SelectedOpportunities" 
          finishLocation="{!$CurrentPage.parameters.retURL}">
        <apex:param name="SelectedRows" value="{!Selected}"/>
    </flow:interview>    
</apex:page>

RelatedListFlowButton

IMPLEMENTATION NOTE: Note that the above Visualforce page code uses a URL parameter retURL, which is not available in Lighting Experience. It still works, but leaves the user on the finish page.

Summary

For more information on passing values to Flows using Visualforce check out the docs here. With the exception of the retURL hack above, i’m pleased to see support in Classic and Lighting Experience. Though the later, has yet to obtain support for providing the record selection support, so only the all records use case is available.

At present Visual Flow styling does not quite look at home either in Lightning Experience, which made me wonder about trying SLDS styling with Flow’s CSS customisation abilities (i will let everyone known how successful this is!)…

AccountFlowListViewLEX

FlowInLEX

Finally both these approaches will also work equally well with Automation Flows (aka Headless Flows), just in case, as with the example in my earlier blog you just want to do some kind of calculations without prompting the user.


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Controlling Internet Devices via Lightning Process Builder

Lightning Process Builder will soon become GA once the Spring’15 rollout completes in early February, just a few short weeks away as i write this. I don’t actually know where to start in terms of how huge and significant this new platform feature is! In my recent blog Salesforce evolves customization to a new level! over on the FinancialForce blog, i describe Salesforce as ‘the most powerful and productive cloud platform on the planet’. The more and more i get into Process Builder and how as a developer i can empower users of it, that statement is already starting to sound like an understatement!

There are many things getting me excited (as usual) about Salesforce these days, in addition to Process Builder and Invocable Actions (more on this later), its the Internet of Things. I just love the notion of inspecting and controlling devices no matter where i am on the planet. If you’ve been following my blog from earlier this year, you’ll hopefully have seen my exploits with the LittleBits cloud enabled devices and the Salesforce LittleBits Connector.

pointingdeviceI have just spent a very enjoyable Saturday morning in my Spring’15 Preview org with a special build of the LittleBits Connector. That leverages the ability for Process Builder to callout to specially annotated Apex code that in turn calls out to the LittleBits Cloud API.

The result, a fully declarative way to connect to LittleBits devices from Process Builder! If you watch the demo from my past blog you’ll see my Opportunity Probability Pointer in action, the following implements the same process but using only Process Builder!

LittleBitsProcessBuilder

Once Spring’15 has completely rolled out i’ll release an update to the Salesforce LittleBits Connector managed package that supports Process Builder, so you can try the above out. In the meantime if have a Spring’15 Preview Org you can deploy direct from GitHub and try it out now!

UPDATE August 2015: It seems Process Builder still has some open issues binding Percent fields to Actions. Salesforce have documented a workaround to this via a formula field. Thus if you have Percent field, please create Formula field as follows and bind that to the Percent variable in Process Builder or Flow.

PercentFormulaWorkaround

How can developers enhance Process Builder?

There are some excellent out of the box actions from which Process Builder or Flow Designer users can choose from, as i have covered in past blogs. What is really exciting is how developers can effectively extend these actions.

So while Salesforce has yet to provide a declarative means to make Web API callouts without code. A developer needs to provide a bit of Apex code to make the above work. Salesforce have made it insanely easy to expose code to tools like Process Builder and also Visual Flow. Such tools dynamically inspects Apex code in the org (including that from AppExchange packages) and renders a user interface for the Process Builder user to provide the necessary inputs (and map outputs if defined). All the developer has to do is use some Apex annotations.

global with sharing class LittleBitsActionSendToDevice {

	global class SendParameters {
		@InvocableVariable
		global String AccessToken;
		@InvocableVariable
        global String DeviceId;
		@InvocableVariable
        global Decimal Percent;
		@InvocableVariable
        global Integer DurationMs;
	}
	
    /**
     * Send percentages and durations to LittleBits cloud enabled devices
     **/
    @InvocableMethod(
    	Label='Send to LittleBits Device' 
    	Description='Sends the given percentage for the given duration to a LittleBits Cloud Device.')
    global static void send(List<SendParameters> sendParameters) {
        System.enqueueJob(new SendAsync(sendParameters));
    }	
}

I learn’t quite a lot about writing Invocable Actions today and will be following up with some guidelines and thoughts on how i have integrated them with Apex Enterprise Patterns Service Layer.


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Calling Flow from Apex

Since Summer’14 it has been possible to invoke a Flow from Apex, through the oddly named Interview system class method start. This blog talks about using this as a means to provide an extensibility mechanism, as an alternative option to asking an Apex developer to implement an Apex interface you’ve exposed. Clicks not code plugins!

Prior to Summer’14 it was only possible to embed a Flow in a Visualforce page, using the the flow:interview component, as described here. But this of course required a UI and hence user interaction to drive it. What if you wanted to allow admins to extend or customise the flow of some Apex logic using Flow from a none UI context?

Enter trigger ready-flows, first introduced as part of the Summer’14 pilot for running Flow from Workflow, which itself is still in Pilot, thought the ability to create trigger ready-flows is now generally available, yipee! Here’s what the docs have to say about them…

You can also build trigger-ready flows. A trigger-ready flow is a flow that can be launched without user interaction, such as from a flow trigger workflow action or the Apex interview.start method. Because trigger-ready flows must be able to run in bulk and without user interaction, they can’t contain steps, screens, choices, or dynamic choices in the active flow version—or the latest flow version, if there’s no active version.

This blog will present the following three examples of calling trigger-ready flows from Apex.

  • Hello World, returning a text value set in a Flow
  • Calc, shows passing in values to a Flow and returning the result of some processing.
  • Record Updater, shows passing in some SObject records to the Flow for processing and returning them.

Hello World Example

Here is a simple example that invokes a Flow that just returns a string value defined within the Flow.

ReturnHelloWorldFlow

ReturnHelloWorldAssignment

The following Apex code calls the above Flow and outputs to the Debug log.

// Call the Flow
Map<String, Object> params = new Map<String, Object>();
Flow.Interview.ReturnHelloWorld helloWorldFlow = new Flow.Interview.ReturnHelloWorld(params);
helloWorldFlow.start();

// Obtain the results
String returnValue = (String) helloWorldFlow.getVariableValue('ReturnValue');
System.debug('Flow returned ' + returnValue);

This outputs the following to the Debug log…

11:18:02.684 (684085568)|USER_DEBUG|[13]|DEBUG|Flow returned Hello from the Flow World!

Calc Example

This example passes in a value, which is manipulated by the Flow and returned.

CalcFlow CalcFlowAssignment

The following code invokes this Flow, by passing the X and Y values in through the Map.

// Call the Flow
Map<String, Object> params = new Map<String, Object>();
params.put('X', 10);
params.put('Y', 5);
Flow.Interview.Calc calcFlow = new Flow.Interview.Calc(params);
calcFlow.start();

// Obtain the results
Double returnValue = (Double) calcFlow.getVariableValue('ReturnValue');
System.debug('Flow returned ' + returnValue);

This outputs the following to the Debug log…

12:09:55.190 (190275787)|USER_DEBUG|[24]|DEBUG|Flow returned 15.0

Record Updater Example

With the new SObject and SObject Collection types in Summer’14 we can also pass in SObject’s. For example to apply some custom defaulting logic before the records are processed and inserted by the Apex logic. The following simple Flow loops over the records passed in and sets the Description field.

RecordUpdaterFlowRecordUpdaterAssignment

This code constructs a list of Accounts, passes them to the Flow and retrieves the updated list after.

// List of records
List<Account> accounts = new List<Account>{
	new Account(Name = 'Account A'),
	new Account(Name = 'Account B') };

// Call the Flow
Map<String, Object> params = new Map<String, Object>();
params.put('Accounts', accounts);
Flow.Interview.RecordUpdater recordUpdaterFlow = new Flow.Interview.RecordUpdater(params);
recordUpdaterFlow.start();

// Obtain results
List<Account> updatedAccounts =
	(List<Account>) recordUpdaterFlow.getVariableValue('Accounts');
for(Account account : updatedAccounts)
	System.debug(account.Name + ' ' + account.Description);

The follow debug update shows the field values set by the Apex code and those by the Flow…

13:10:31.060 (60546122)|USER_DEBUG|[39]|DEBUG|Account A Description set by Flow
13:10:31.060 (60588163)|USER_DEBUG|[39]|DEBUG|Account B Description set by Flow

Summary

Calling Flows from Apex is quite powerful to provide more complex extensibility back into the hands of admins vs developers. Though depending on your type of solution is somewhat hampered by the lack of the ability to dynamically create a subscriber configured Flow. As such for now is really only useful for none packaged Apex code deployments in production environment, where the referenced Flow’s can be edited (managed packaged Flows cannot be edited).

Despite this, for custom Apex code deployments to production it is quite powerful as it allows tweaks to the behaviour of solutions to be made without needing a developer to go through Sandbox and redeployment etc. Of course your also putting a lot of confidence in the person defining the Flows as well, so use this combo wisely with your customers!

Upvote: I’ve raised an Idea here to allow Apex to Dynamically create Flow Interview instances, with this in place ISV and packaged applications can make more use of this facility to provide clicks not code extensibility to their packaged application logic.

Update: Blog post Flow Factory presents a workaround to the dynamic calling problem.


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More power to your Flows in Summer’14

Since an earlier blog post describing how to hookup a Flow to a Custom Button, I have been promoting this #clicksnotcode platform feature further at my local DUG and recently the Salesforce1 World Tour London and internally within FinancialForce, the response has been great.

I have also been working on some new use cases showing the use of Flow from Workflow which is capability in pilot for Spring’14. Then before i knew it I had i had found even more new Flow features in my hands delivered via the upcoming Summer’14 release! You can read all about these features in the excellent Visual Workflow Implementation Guide. This blog provides step by step guide as to how I’ve explored these new features and a summary of their current and general availability. Note: The Flow Trigger functionality looks to remain in Pilot beyond Summer’14.

Flow SObject Collections Summer’14 (GA)

NewElements

Lets take a look at two new Resource types in Flow and how they work in conjunction with four new Data elements, known as Fast Create, Fast Read, Fast Update and Fast Delete. With these new elements you can drag them onto the Flow canvas as with the previous ones. The difference is these allow you to basically manage multiple records at once, or in bulk to use Apex term.

NewVariables

The Fast prefix comes from a reflection on what you would have to have done in the past to manipulate several records of the same object. The previous alternative was to create your own loop around the existing Create element creating a single record at time. Which in general is much slower and gives greater rise to hitting platform governors around the number of database operations that can be performed in a single Flow execution. Flow is grow up for greater volumes!

EnterAmountTo illustrate these new features i decide to implement in Flow something i have previously written using Apex code. The following use case is to Apply a user entered discount to selected Quote Line Items from the Related list. The flow will prompt the user for the Discount amount and they apply it, before returning the user back to the Quote detail page.

ApplyDiscount

Here is the high level steps i took to achieve this.

  1. Created a Flow that exposes an Input only variable of type SObject Collection and used by the new  Loop and Fast Update elements to perform the calculations and update the rows passed in.
  2. Created a Visualforce page (no Apex required) that uses the standard platform Selected field to pass in the users selected records (from a List View or Related List). This was a little more Visualforce than i wanted personally, but is still a pretty good template for other use cases with minimal changes required.
  3. Created a List View Custom Button and associated it with the above Visualforce page.
  4. Edited the Quote layout to add the above button the Quote Line Items related list

 

Lets take a look at the Flow I created and then I’ll go into some more detail on the Visualforce page needed to call it. First things first is to create an SObject Collection variable of the appropriate object type, in this case QuoteLineItem.

SObjectCollection

Keep a note of the Unique Name used, it will be important when we create the Visualforce page to call this flow. The next step is to loop over the SObject (or QuoteLineItem) records and apply the discount. The new Loop element is super easy to use, it has two arrows, one for each iteration and another arrow to point to the next step once all records in the collection have been processed.

ApplyDiscountFlow

The following screenshots show the elements in more detail. The Loop element uses new SObject Variable QuoteLineItem, for each record, which allows you to operate at the field level using the existing Assignment element. I also used the existing Formula functionality in Flow to perform the discount calculation. After this i added the record to a another SObject Collection variable that i would later pass to the Fast Update method.

The Visualforce page that runs the Flow looks similar to the one i used in the previous blog to invoke a Flow from the Detail Page Custom Button. The difference is passes in multiple record from those selected by the user via the Selected binding. There is some magic above the flow:interview element that ensures the fields used by the Flow are queried by the platform, otherwise an error occurs when the Assignment steps are executed stating the UnitPrice field has not been queried (I’m open to better ways of resolving this!).

<apex:page standardController="QuoteLineItem" recordSetVar="Quotes">
    <apex:repeat value="{!Selected}" var="SelectedRow" rendered="false">
        {!SelectedRow.QuoteId}{!SelectedRow.UnitPrice}
    </apex:repeat>
    <apex:variable var="QuoteId" value="{!Selected[0].QuoteId}"/>
    <flow:interview name="ApplyDiscount" finishLocation="/{!QuoteId}">
        <apex:param name="SelectedQuoteLines" value="{!Selected}"/>
    </flow:interview>
</apex:page>

Flow Triggers via Spring’14 (Pilot)

CreateElementThe use case I chose here was one i found on IdeasExchange, it related to someone who wanted to use Workflow to create a new child record when a parent record was inserted. In this demo i create a new Task child record whenever an Account is created, this could be for example, to ensure a follow up is made on the Account. The Flow i created was insanely simple, just one Flow variable (set to Input Only) and a Create element!

RecordCreate

Once this is created in my pilot org i found a new Workflow Action, called Flow Trigger. This Workflow action allowed me to pick the Flow and define any parameters i wanted to pass in. In this case the WhatId parameter which would later be used by the Flow when populating the Task fields to associate the task with the Account being created. Finally (not shown) i linked this new Workflow Action with a Workflow Rule to try it out.

FlowTriggers
FlowTriggerEdit

Any that was it! I created a new Account and sure enough my new Task appeared, no Apex code in sight!

TaskChild

Some thoughts and observations…

  • No UI Flows. Flow’s used in this context cannot use any Screen elements, and are thus known sometimes as “Headless” flows. The platform will automatically validate for this and prevent you assigning a UI Flow to a Flow Trigger.
  • Bulkification of Flow Triggers or not? Normally when doing things at a record level Apex developers have it drummed into them to think about bulk or multiple record situations (for example Data Loader use cases) not just a single record at a time. However you will notice this was not the case above? I did expect the new SObject Collection to take a role here but not so. What Salesforce attempts to do is internally bulk insert Tasks for you by running your Flow in parallel and synchronising the executions at the time they all need to insert a record to ensure it’s done optimally. This is cleverly transparent from the Flow designer and i think intentionally so, as it is quite an advanced topic for the target user of Flow. However i do wonder how well this will stand up to more complex Flow’s. No doubt why Salesforce is being so careful over how long this remains in Pilot.

When are these features available (Safe Harbour)?

FlowRoadmap


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Clicks not Code with Visual Flow Custom Buttons

officehoursI attended an MVP Office Hours event last Friday which has lead to this blog. If your not aware this a weekly event run by fellow MVP’s Jarrod Kingston and Joshua Hoskins, which is a kind of open hour for anybody to pose admin or developer related questions to the MVP community. Last weeks was a great learning event for all involved, i would recommend dropping by, even if its just to ease drop, though there is no reason to be shy!

One question that was raised, was as if a Workflow Rule defined on an Opportunity Product Line could be started via a Custom Button at the Opportunity level. When clicked would effectively update the lines to run the Workflow Rule, in this case an Email Workflow. Ideally without JavaScript or having to resort to Apex. So can record, create, read, update and delete be done in a code free way? Read on...

FlowUpdateBeing very excited about the possibility of invoking the hugely under stated Visual Flow rules from a Workflow Rule in Spring’14 (Pilot only). I pretty much have Flow on my mind at the moment! So started pondering if any of the Flow “elements” that are capable of reading and writing to custom object records would do the trick? Since i knew we already run a Flow from a Custom Button. I continued to ponder after the call and today managed to confirm that it is indeed possible accomplish the requirement with a astonishingly simple Flow, in fact so simple its one element!

The Record Update flow element allows you to query a Standard or Custom object with some criteria and then update the results rows based on fixed or variable values you define (again via the point and click Flow Designer). My test was simple, could i set the Quantity to 1 for all the lines, though much more complex filtering and updates are possible. The configuration of the Update Lines element looks like this.

recordupdate

The {!OpportunityId} expression refers to a Flow variable, which i would later populate from my Custom Button. As you can see both the Filters and Assignments support addition rows, so this example is really a very basic one. Note that it has none of the Screen or Choice elements Flow supports, its just performing an update action, that’s all. Making sure i set it as the Start element by hovering over it and click the green icon. I then saved and started to figure out the best way to go about running it from a Custom Button.

The first option i looked at was the URL option, via a URL Custom Button, this was easy enough and i could pass the OpportunityId parameter via a a URL parameter. The issue with this, is when the Flow completes returning the user to the Opportunity page. The solution eventually was to wrap the Flow in a small Visualforce page (so ok i tiny bit of code i confess, but you really don’t have to touch this at all after you create it) then point the Custom Button to that instead.

<apex:page standardController="Opportunity">
    <flow:interview name="UpdateLines" finishLocation="/{!Opportunity.Id}">
        <apex:param name="OpportunityId" value="{!Opportunity.Id}"/>
    </flow:interview>
</apex:page>

updateflowcustomb

This allowed me to use the finishLocation attribute to define a URL that the Flow would navigate to after it completed. Since I have no “visual” aspects to my Flow, it simply executed the Update Records element and performed the redirect back to Opportunity detail page immediately. So once i defined my button and put it on the layout, i was ready to give it a go! 

It works great, really well in fact!

flowbutton

opplines

NOTE: If your concerned about security regarding CSRF, technically the recommendation above would be to present the user with a Flow Screen element asking them to confirm before proceeding. I’ve left this out here as i know its not always everyones preference visually to have what might be viewed as a annoying confirmation prompt following the button press.

Flow supports other data manipulation elements (in addition to many UI elements), such as Lookup, Create and Delete you can configure using its drag and drop editor. So if you fancy an alternative to hacking around with JavaScript Custom Buttons or want to avoid needing developers to write you Apex code for simple updates, i recommend you try this out (there is a great two part blog here and here and also workbook).

Certainly once Salesforce unleash (the both exciting and slightly scary) power of using these from Workflow Rules, you’ll be missing out on a significant new “Clicks Not Code” trick if you don’t! 

Detailed Steps to Recreate above Demo

  1. Under Setup menu, under Workflow and Approvals, click Flows.
  2. Create a new Flow and drag the Update Records element from the palette and give it a name (anything will do) and description.
  3. Complete the Update Record element configuration as shown above, when prompted for the Value to select by the OpportunityId, click the drop down menu and select CREATE NEW Variable.
    createvar
  4. Complete the Variable element configuration as shown below, take note to enter the variable name correctly, this will be referenced on the Visualforce page used to run the flow.
    varconfig
  5. Click to highlight the Update Records element on the Flow design canvas, then click the green icon in its top right corner to make this element the Start element.
    startelm
  6. Save the Flow and make it Active (clicking the Activate link next to it on the Flow detail page), take note of the Flow name used (defaults to the description with underscores for spaces).
  7. Create a Visualforce page via Setup, then Develop, then Pages, paste in the sample Visualforce page shown above, taking note to use correct Flow name and Flow parameter names.
  8. Create a Custom Button as shown in the screenshot above and add it to the Layout
  9. Press the button and enjoy your code free creation!