I would like to say that the Actions/Workflow...

(Yossi Oulu) #1

I would like to say that the Actions/Workflow requires too much work to do simple stuff. There are few limitations that are making it very unfriendly to use: 1. If I need to execute few things I must create this extra Group Action (it should have been in the original Action, no need for an extra step) 2. Some activities are only available in Workflow (e.g. webhook, create PDF, email, notifications). This requires me to create an action that mark some field and then go to workflow and build one that responds to that field… and if you want to do some data modification in that workflow then again you go back to actions… create a group action, and some more actions,… it is a brain damage to navigate back and forth and try to understand which is which and what is the calling order.

  1. There is no view to

“see” this complex trigger-action rules, so it is like navigating in the dark, always seeing just few cm ahead, click after click.

There should be a simple way to just activate what you want in Action. and it should include all you can do in workflow.

If I want to send email, why not have "External: Send Email’ in an Action? or “External: Webhook”… the division between workflow and Action is too complex.

On top of that the Workflow is not triggered when you try to trigger it from an action that was activated by a previous workflow. Even if it is trying to trigger a different workflow. So it all becoming very difficult to use on non trivial cases.

Workflow should be used only when there is a real event to act on.

Sorry for the long feedback. I think that Appsheet is a great product and I already built very useful Apps already, but this part takes too much time for no reason.

Yossi

(Praveen Seshadri (AppSheet)) #2

Hi @Yossi_Oulu, I broadly agree with you on these criticisms. The history is that we built the workflow mechanism first — as a way to just solve for email notification. Then it got slowly generalized, but still only on the “backend”. Then when we introduced Actions as a more general mechanism, the challenge was how to do some of these things on the device (especially offline).

An alignment between Actions and Workflows is very much one of our top design discussions and you should see progress in this direction in early 2019. Thanks for being patient with us.

(Yossi Oulu) #3

@praveen Thank you for the answer. I am.

(Kirk Masden) #4

I agree with @Yossi_Oulu’s comments.

On the other hand, as one who began working with AppSheet before Actions were added, the extent to which they have enriched the platform is really amazing to me.

As @Yossi_Oulu writes, it can be a lot of work to get certain implementations to work but the very fact that, after some trial and error, an non-programmer like me can wind up with an app that works remarkably well is something I really appreciate.

To make the process of building apps easier, I would like to suggest better debugging tools. I’m sure that this is difficult to implement but if the web-based editor could get “smarter” and do a better job of helping you figure out what you are doing wrong, that would be great.

For example, I recently wrote about a problem I had with decimals:

plus.google.com - I’m working with a virtual column whose type is “Number” and have been having…

In an expression I wrote, “1/3” was calculating as “0” and I couldn’t figure out why.

If I could have been prompted somehow with an explanation about how the division of whole numbers works (or, sometimes, doesn’t work) in expressions, that would have saved me a good deal of time.

I think there are many similar examples of situations in which a smarter interface or better debugging tools would help, but I can’t think of any other concrete examples at the moment. I’m working with a virtual column whose type is “Number” and have been having… plus.google.com