Migrating from SharePoint Designer Workflows to Flow
SharePoint Designer is part of the SharePoint family, and it has been around since 2010. It lets you modify SharePoint sites, workflows, and webpages. Flow is a cloud-based software that lets you automate tasks and workflows across many applications and services.
We’ve already covered the main differences between SharePoint Designer Workflows and Microsoft Flow, and which one you should use for certain cases. But since Microsoft has discontinued SharePoint Designer and fully aims to make Flow its replacement for workflows, you’re bound to migrate them from Designer sooner or later. So today, we’ll take a look at how you can do so!
Most actions will have similar, or the same names in Flow and SharePoint Designer as well. However, you should still be careful! There isn’t a standard approach for migrations or a 1:1 method, a good starting point is to consider your Conditions, Actions, and Loops in SharePoint Designer. These can easily be replaced with Microsoft Flow Equivalents.
SharePoint Designer had its triggers tied to something directly happening to a list item, a document, or a given date. Flow, on the other hand, can also be triggered by other applications—so for instance, when you post a Tweet from your corporate account, Flow can trigger certain actions, such as sharing that Tweet directly to the Company’s Facebook page (and vice-versa).
They’re the foundation of any Flow, and serve as the action that initiates the entire workflow, and like we said above it can be anything from a post, to a certain date, to a certain user. In SharePoint Designer, you’d use the “on created” event. With Flow, all you have to do is Create a new trigger, and select your desired options.
There are downsides to the simplicity of Flow and its triggers—for instance, it’s a pain to change them, since the triggers aren’t explicitly attached to the flow, versus SharePoint Flow, where you could just check and uncheck different startup options.
Conditions, Actions, and Loops
Conditions are simple, and is basically an “If-then” situation. SharePoint Designer has a couple more options than Flow, such as empty, not empty, matches regular expression, and equals (ignoring case). The Empty and Not Empty condition can be bypassed by using the function Null, but if you absolutely need to match regular expression and ignore case during an equals check, there’s no present way to do it with Flow.
Every other condition, however, you can migrate with Add a Condition in Flow. Here’s Microsoft’s page to help you get started!
Now, for Actions. Some are still unavailable (such as Starting a List Workflow), but there are a lot you can already migrate to Flow. Adding comments, time to a date, Calling Http Services, calculations, counting and getting items from the dictionary, sending e-mails… We could keep going, but suffice to say, it’s an extensive list, and Custom Actions are covered as well. As with Triggers and Conditions, all you have to do is Create Action!
Should I begin migrating if Flow doesn’t have all I need?
Yes! Not only is Flow going to eventually replace SharePoint Designer Workflow, it also works flawlessly in conjunction with Office 365 and Azure Services. So, if you haven’t already, start migrating what you can, and leave SharePoint Designer Workflows only for what you absolutely can’t move yet.
And remember—if there’s something you think Flow is missing, you can (and should!) submit your idea to Microsoft. Since Flow is still growing, they’re actively looking for and acting on suggestions