Automation UX teething issues

So I’m trying to create my first Bot, and I’m posting this because if I got a bit confused then others will too. I’ve used Appsheet for the last 4 years or so.

I created an Event
I created a Bot that uses that Event
I created a Task to send an email

It fell apart a bit when I created a process. I create the process and click add a step. I’m confused as to why this is called a ‘step’ when the diagram says ‘Tasks’ are inside Processes. Then it gives me 3 suggestions, one of which is the name of one of the 3 tasks already there. But not the task I want. I’m confused why its not showing me all the 3 tasks that exist. I add the task I dont want and that pulls it in fine. I delete it. Then I spend 25mins or so trying to work out why its not listing the rest of the tasks. Eventually I realise it’s only asking for a name so I type a name. I expect to click save, but I only have “Create a custom step”. Why am I creating a step in processes, surely I do that in Tasks? So I press enter and then see I can now choose from all the tasks on the right. Awsome. I go back and check what “Create a custom step” does and realise its just the same as pressing enter.

From this I would like to make 2 suggestions:
1 = In Processes, remove the wording from “Add a step” and leave just the plus. When the options are really run a task, branch, wait or return values; “Add a step” seems a bit confiusing
2 = When I create an step inside a process, it should pop up straight away on the right so I can see that I have the option there to choose a task. Waiting until I enter a name makes no sense

Hope this helps :slight_smile:

4 Likes

Another confusing issue

The image provided shows that tasks are inside a Process and the Process is inside a Bot. I presumed that meant that I would select the Process inside the Bot. Instead I’m somehow selecting the Task inside the Bot. Whats the point of creating a process if thats the case?

3 Likes

And whats the role of the Entity drop down inside a Process. Clearly its a list of tables, so why not just call it table?

Also what does it do exactly? As far as I can tell it just filters the list of Tasks you can choose

2 Likes

Maybe I don’t understand what the benefit of this new style of workflow is. Is it just the ability to make it easier to group workflows and reports together in a specific order?

To me it ‘feels’ like the’ve just rewritten this entire section to replace workflows and reports. With differing wording.
Makes kinda sense.

I do like the bit where it shows the number of other items calling this item.

Also apparantly it gets around the issue at the moment that you can have an action call a workflow. Or a report calling an action. But you can’t have an action call a workflow which then calls an action. But I’ve not proved this to myself yet

1 Like

Thanks for the feedback and please keep them coming!

2 Likes

And a different look. I personally dislike how the right side where the editor preview normally is located is now where you edit things in Bots and Processes but Events and Tasks don’t use this. The right side focus while editing things about the app goes against the whole design of appsheets editor really. Up until this everything is essentially left aligned in the editor and the app preview is on the right. If I’m working on editing my app I’m looking left and if I’m testing something in the app I’m looking right.

It also flows very wrong compared to the rest of the editor where when I click to edit something the thing I click expands and I can change stuff. This applies all over the automation tab, names are now changed differently, you can create events, processes and tasks from within the bot tab, etc. It’s trying to get you to create things in the other tabs and reuse those things that you already created in the other tabs but its also annoying to reuse things.
It really gives the feeling that this whole tab was ported from something else or designed by someone that hasn’t used the editor before. I’m not trying to say it’s inherently bad, it just confuses you if you’re familiar with the editors feel and is different to such a degree that I would argue even not experienced developers will get confused moving between this and the rest of the editor.

1 Like

:100:

1 Like

I’ll argue for the defense here. I think using the right hand side is fine in the context of the Automation section. As its one of the few times your doing stuff that doesn’t change the look of the App. Also I’m using 3 x 22" running at 1920 x 1080 and I’ve already got chrome zoomed to 66% to fit everything on. I think when screen real estate is limited we should fully use all that we have.

Could just collapse the preview and still reclaim the space. There is an absolute ton of white space even if you have lots of branching conditions.

1 Like

Is it just me… Or are other people finding the Automation section creating random events, processes and tasks everywhere? I think its because a bot will let you create an event and a process will let you create a task. Whilst this might end up being convinent, at the minute its a PITA.

2 Likes

No, not just you.

1 Like

@gmoura FYI

1 Like

@1minManager our design goal has been to have app creators do every thing they need to configure the bot from the bot tab (with the exception of tasks as some task configurations require a lot more inputs than the others, we provide links to navigate to the task - we are looking into optimizing that experience as well).

While reusability adds some complexity to the authoring experience, we believe it helps to author once and use multiple times, something which wasn’t possible with workflow rules earlier.

I was wondering if you find yourself to go to the events/process tabs for something specific that you cannot do in the bot tab or are the events/process tabs just a distraction to be there?

Hi @prithpal

No, my logic was just to work in reverse order:
1 = Create a task
2 = Create a process, link this to the task
3 = Create an event
4 = Create a Bot. Link the even and the process to this

I suspose this maybe because this is the way we have to do it when you were working with a workflow or report. Really you had to create the slice and action in advance

2 Likes

This reverse order was exactly what came naturally to me as well.

I would say that it just was not clear how, or even if it was possible, to create the events/process/tasks from within the bots/processes.

I’d also say that the UI for selecting between an auto-suggestion, an existing item, or creating a new “custom” item, could use a lot of work to make it easier/more obvious.

2 Likes

Ah, makes sense in why you approached it this way. In-line editing is one of the core UI principles we are pushing for in the Automation capabilities as we feel it provides for a more better/contextual authoring experience. We are constantly working to have everything be done from the bot interface. Please continue to provide additional feedback.

2 Likes

We are somewhat there, but I am sure we will continue to get better. Feedback regarding the UI selection noted - we are exploring options on how to resolve it. @gmoura FYI

1 Like


I have created my first and only 3 bots so far. My one word description of the process is “Tedious”. The reusability of each item in automations means -2 for a single purpose simple app or even one that is complex but linear in functionality. Creating these 3 bots easily took 2-3x longer than making equivalent workflows and you can see that I didn’t bother to name the processes cause the ability to name them doesn’t come about in the standard ordering.

Might just be personal bias but I really dislike having to make a task of an action. The change data task type doesn’t give you any extra functionality except you get to type the name of your action in again. If you could export the audit logs then it would make some sense to give a distinct name for analysis but that doesn’t exist so I see not one reason to name the task anything other than the name of the action it is taking.

When you go into the Automation tab it will automatically switch to the preview to the settings tab but when I go back to the UX or data tab it does not re-open the preview. Just a personal bother whenever I am going back to editing the UX. Plus it has to sync the app again so I can only imagine those with long sync times.


When you first create a custom step, it does not automatically select that step to be edited.

image
Would be great if I could start typing to search through my tasks for when I have 20 of them. Or at the least if they were sorted alphabetically instead of whatever sorting method this is. Also don’t know why there are doubles of my workflow tasks with one : and one _

4 Likes

:heavy_plus_sign: :one:

4 Likes