This article will help you:
- understand what action nodes do - compared to other node types like inputs, results or values
- see which categories and types of action nodes are available
- understand how you can add an action node
What is an action?
Actions are nodes that perform operations not directly visible to the end-user. Actions can calculate values, generate complex text elements or connect to databases. Using actions is similar to programming an application but without writing any code. They allow you to automate processes and connect multiple applications or data sources. You don't need to be a developer to take the full advantage of actions and they are also very useful even in simple use cases.
Compared to other nodes, actions are a building block that is geared towards generating or processing data points. Unlike input nodes that are outward facing, action nodes, like value nodes, are inward-facing, i.e., perform operations that are not immediately visible to the end-user unless they are referenced (document action, calculation result) or send to an email value (send email action). Action nodes are distinct from value nodes in that they ‘do’ something, i.e., initialize or progress a process, whereas value nodes are used to ‘set’ or ‘create’ values for later use.
In the editor, when you select New Action, authors can now use three tabs to browse the action nodes list: Actions, Case databases, and Integrations. This makes it easier for authors to find the right action node, especially when there are many case databases or integrations.
What can I do with actions?
- Perform mathematical operations and calculations like in Microsoft Excel such as calculating fees or currency conversions
- Use date calculations to determine deadlines for processes.
- Create documents based on templates that are filled with content from input or value nodes.
- Use the email action to inform other people within an organization or to build approval processes.
- Read data from service case databases or write newly gathered values into a case database in the same service.
- Connect integrations to different data sources and systems. You can edit data that comes from a database or use existing Microsoft Excel spreadsheets in BRYTER. It is also possible to use external applications like Kira to extract information out of documents and process them in BRYTER.
- Using a combination of integrations, actions and conditional logic, you can build self-service tools which are completely 'contactless' - fully automating a process.
Action node categories
There are three categories and several types of actions, each geared towards generating or processing data.
Learn more about the categories of action nodes:
- Actions - standard actions that are available by default such as sending an email or creating a document
- Case databases - case databases configured in the same Service that can be used to read values out of stored records or add new records by writing values into a case database
- Integrations - default integrations such as the URL Parameter or added configurations to pull or push data into or out of third party tools such as document extraction software or document management systems (and many more)
Action node types
In every category, authors can find a selection of different available types of actions, case databases, or integrations. Find some of the common or default types below:
Set Value - Leads to value nodes for easier access (text block values were historically listed as actions)
Calculate - Perform mathematical operations like in Microsoft Excel
Calculate Dates - Calculate a specific date based on another date and an offset (days or months)
Calculate Days between Dates - Calculate the amount of days between two dates
Create Document - Create a PDF or Microsoft Word document
Send Email - Email any recipient
Empty - Use it as a placeholder to bundle a huge amount of transitions
Search and Replace in Text Value - Use to search and replace content within a text value or text block
Handover - Use it to hand over the progress of the module to another user via an email and link to the module
This section will display all
URL Parameter - Inject values from a URL query parameter for use within the module
How to add action nodes
Actions can be placed between nodes on transitions connecting them or below existing nodes by clicking on the +. There are also cases where a module can be built only using integrations, actions and conditional logic to batch process data from and to databases.