Microflows

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1 Introduction

Mendix Studio has a lot of built-in logic that works out of the box (for example, buttons). But if you want to add custom logic, you need to create microflows.

Microflows is a visual way of expressing what traditionally ends up in textual program code. A microflow can perform actions such as creating and changing objects, showing pages, and making choices.

You need to use microflows for the following cases:

  • To change/extend the standard behavior of buttons
  • To add custom logic to your application
  • To integrate with other systems, databases, web services, etc.

Examples of using microflows can be the following:

  • You check the values that a user has entered, and you either show the user an error message or another page
  • You’re creating a to-do list and you want to use custom logic when the status of the item on the list has changed

To view the microflows of your app in Studio, click the Microflows icon in the left menu bar:

Microflow Icon

2 Concepts and Definitions

A microflow is like a flow chart. On a new microflow the start event (a starting point of the microflow represented by a green dot) and the end event (an endpoint of the microflow represented by a red dot) exist by default. They are also connected by a sequence flow (a line with an arrow), where you can add new events and activities. For more information, see section 3 Creating a New Microflow. If Mendix Assist is on, it will be represented with a blue dot in the middle. For more information, see Mendix Assist.

New Microflow

Before you start configuring microflows, familiarize yourself with the concepts and notions that the microflow editor uses:

Concept Description
Activities Blue boxes performing different functions. For example, with the help of an activity you can show users a home page. For more information, see section 5 Toolbox.
Flows Arrows that connect microflow events and activities. For more information, see section 6 Flows.
Events Other things placed in a flow not in a shape of a blue box are events. Decision is an example of the event. For more information, see section 5.1 General.
Variable A variable is a temporary storage for data. Variables are used to store information and refer to it when needed. For this purpose variables should have a unique name.
In a microflow you can add a variable, assign a value to it and then use it in microflow activities. You can then change this value later if necessary. For example, you can create variable $Discount and assign it a value 0.5, and use it to calculate a price for a customer.
You can use the variable only in the microflow where it was created.
Parameter Parameters contain global variables, which means that you can use one and the same parameter in different microflows.

3 Creating a New Microflow

To create a new microflow and to start building a microflow, do the following:

  1. Click the Microflow icon in the left menu bar.
  2. Click New on the Microflows side panel.

    Adding New Microflow

  3. Fill out the name of the microflow in the pop-up dialog and click Create.

    Create New Microflow Dialog

The new microflow is created, you can now start adding logic to it by adding events or activities.

4 Adding New Event or Activity

To add a new activity or event to the microflow, do the following:

  1. Open the microflow you want to add the event or activity to.
  2. Open the Toolbox tab.
  3. Select the event or activity in the General, Object Activities or Client Activities section.
  4. Drag and drop the event or activity in the microflow.

5 Toolbox

In the Toolbox tab, you can see that the microflow contains three sections with different elements and activities:

5.1 General

Microflow General Properties

Elements available in the General section are described in the table below.

Element Description
Annotation An annotation is an element that can be used to put comments in a microflow.
Break Event A break event is used in loops only to stop iterating over a list of objects and continue with the rest of the flow in the microflow. For more information, see Break Event in the Mendix Studio Pro Guide.
Continue Event A continue event is used in loops only to stop the current iteration and start the iteration of the next object. For more information, see Continue Event in the Mendix Studio Pro Guide.
End Event An end event defines the location where the microflow will stop. There can be more than one end event, for example when a Decision is used in the microflow. So, the number of end events depends on the number of possible outcomes of the microflow. For more information, see End Event in the Mendix Studio Pro Guide.
Decision A decision splits the flow of the should be used if you want to add conditions. For example, if you want to show different order forms for the customers with different grades.
This element is based on a condition and will result in several outgoing flows, one for every possible outcome. The microflow checks the condition and follows one the flows.
Loop A loop is used to iterate over a list of objects and perform actions on each item of the list. For example, you can retrieve a list of orders from your database, then loop over this list and mark orders as processed.
Merge A merge can be used to combine flows into one. If previously you split the microflow flow (for example, when adding a decision) and now one and the same action needs to be executed for these separated flows, you can combine the two (or more) paths using a merge. For more information, see Merge in the Mendix Studio Pro Guide.
Parameter A parameter is an input data for the microflow and can be used in any activity in the microflow. For more information, see Parameter in the Mendix Studio Pro Guide.

5.2 Object Activities

Microflow Object Activities

The Object Activities are described in the table below.

Activity Description
Aggregate List Aggregate List can be used to calculate aggregated values such as the maximum, minimum, sum, average, and total amount of objects over a list of data objects. For more information, see Aggregate List in the Mendix Studio Pro Guide.
Change Object Can be used to change an existing data object or properties of this object. For more information, see Change Object in the Mendix Studio Pro Guide.
Commit Commit saves changes you have not saved in the database yet. For more information, see Commit in the Mendix Studio Pro Guide.
Create Object The Create Object action can be used to create a data object. For more information, see Create Object in the Mendix Studio Pro Guide.
Delete Delete Object can be used to delete one data object or a list of objects. For more information, see Delete in the Mendix Studio Pro Guide.
Retrieve Retrieve can be used to get one or more objects, either by directly traversing an association of another object, or by retrieving objects from the database. For more information, see Retrieve in the Mendix Studio Pro Guide.

5.3 Client Activities Section

Microflow Client Activities

The Client Activities are described in the table below.

Activity Description
Close Page This activity closes the currently open page. For more information, see Close Page in the Mendix Studio Pro Guide.
Show Home Page The Show Home Page action navigates to the home page for the current user. It goes to the same page as the user goes to after signing in and respects role-based home pages. For more information, see Show Home Page in the Mendix Studio Pro Guide.
For details on setting the home page, see Navigation Document.
Show Message With the Show Message action you can show a blocking or non-blocking message to the user. (Non-blocking message lets users continue their work in the app with the pop-up open, while the blocking message does not let the user continue work until the pop-up window is closed. ) For more information, see Show Message in the Mendix Studio Pro Guide.
Show Page With this action you can show a page to the end user. For more information, see Show Page in the Mendix Studio Pro Guide.

5.4 Variable Activities

Microflow Variable Activities

The Variable Activities are described in the table below:

Activity Description
Change Variable This activity is used to change the value of an existing variable in the current microflow. For more information, see Change Variable in the Mendix Studio Pro Guide.
Create Variable With this activity you can create a variable and assign a value to it. The variable can be used to store, change, and reuse a value in activities of the microflow. For more information, see Create Variable in the Mendix Studio Pro Guide.

For example, you can first create a variable named Discount to a microflow, and then change the variable Discount depending on the type of the customer’s grade. You can give a discount for customers with Gold and Silver grades.

Example a Microflow

6 Flows

Flows are lines connecting the elements. You can find the description of flows in the table below:

Flow Image Description
Sequence Flow Sequence Flow A sequence flow is an arrow that links events, activities, decisions, and merges with each other. Thus, it defines the order of execution. Flows always flow in one direction where elements are executed one by one. A decision always leads to one direction so that means the microflow cannot follow two flows at the same time.
Annotation Flow Annotation Flow An annotation flow is a connection that can be used to link an annotation to a flow object(s).

7 Activity Icons

When configuring the activities of the microflows you will notice icons above or underneath activities. You can find the description of icons in the table below:

Name Image Example Description
Entity Entity icon Indicates that the data source for the activity is an entity.
Value Value Icon Indicates that the data source for the activity is a simple value, such as decimal, boolean, date and time, etc.
Commit Commit Icon Indicates that the object will be committed. Committing means that the changes will be saved in the database. This can be useful, for example, when you want an object NewCustomer to be saved and updated in the tables that contain information about customers.
Commit without events Commit Without Events Icon Indicates that the object will be committed but without events. This means that the object will be saved in the database, but event handlers will not be triggered. For example, the information about a new customer will be saved, but the tables containing information about new customers will not be updated.
Refresh in Client Refresh in Client Icon Indicates that the result of the activity will be displayed to the end-user.

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