Microsoft Flow – 8 improvements that I would like to see in 2018!

Have you had any time investigating the options in Microsoft Flow yet? For many years I’ve had to every now and then use SharePoint Designer workflows and I’ve disliked most of these workflows. Microsoft Flow is a whole different beast! There are still improvements to be made in Flow however. In this post I’m listing a number of things I would like to see improved in Microsoft Flow.

1.Scroll bars

Currently when your flows are getting larger you might end up with invisible scroll bars at the bottom of the page rather than scroll bars at the bottom of your window. This results in you having to scroll up and down just to move left and right.

2. Dynamic content

Dynamic content is a great way to collect the output from previous actions and use some of this output as data in your next action.

However when multiple actions deliver you Dynamic content using the same name? ( e.g. Title) then once you have used the Dynamic content you cannot see which action you took this data from. This can be a real pain when you use multiple documents in SharePoint within a single flow.

3. Drop-down values

When you configure a drop-down value within an action you will quite often want to use dynamic content or expressions. Within the drop-downs when you configure an action you will find the Enter custom value near the end of the list of known values of the drop-down. It would be better if the enter custom actions appeared above the values.

4.Loading Dynamic content

When the Dynmic content is loaded not all; available dynamic content is presented. Quite often you have to try again and again just to get all the available fields to appear. It looks like Flow is running a lot of code to collect the available dynamic content and sometimes multiple attempts are needed as the load seems to stop as soon as you start to scroll down the dynamic content dialogue

5.Renaming actions

Within Microsoft Flow it is possible to add the same action multiple times and Flow is very helpful in making the names unique. But do you understand what the difference is between Create file  and Create file 2? Well maybe you do today but tomorrow it will be a bit harder and next year you will need to look at the flow. The only way to make the flow document itself is to add a comment. This is good but it would help if you could update the task name.

Yes you can rename the actions that that the number postfix! But every now and then the rename option has been greyed out.

 

It looks like when some output has been used in following actions that it is impossible to rename the action afterwards. Has Microsoft stopped using internal names and displaynames for their actions in Flow?

6. Being able to break flows

Ok, this one might be a bit unexpected, but currently you can’t remove any tasks or triggers in Microsoft flow if a following action depends on it. This can be a real pain.

Earlier this week I created a flow with a trigger When a file is created or modified instead of  When a file is created or modified (properties only) and a when I tried to replace one with another I had to remove all dynamic content throughout my whole Flow. It would have helped if I could just delete the trigger and then fix the issue in my workflow as I can see all the orphaned dynamic content

7. Debugging options

It would help if it was easier to debug the flows. There are some options available, but not all actions/conditions/etc display all the input and output of the elements of my flow. Sending myself an email with values of variables and/or dynamic content is not ideal.

8. Error handling

Things will go wrong sometimes. It would be nice if a connector returns an error that you can handle the specific errors differently. Something like collecting error codes would be helpful. Yes, the Configure run after is nice but just collecting the error codes could be helpful too!

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Pieter Veenstra

Business Applications and Office Apps & Services Microsoft MVP working as a Microsoft Productivity Principal Consultant at HybrIT Services. You can contact me using contact@veenstra.me.uk.

View Comments

  • It's not ideal but you can rename Actions or seriously modify your Flows by exporting them and then editing the JSON. I agree completely with 1-3

    • Hi Jurgen, I had a look into the renaming and it works until you used an action's output in a later action. Doesn't make sense to me that the interface can't just rename things globally in the Flow. Renaming the files in an zip is indeed an option but not very nice.

  • I'd like to add that they should eliminate a lot of the white space in the action boxes to make everything more compact, Many of the boxes are much wider than necessary which requires horizontal scrolling and many screens.

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