Automations


Automations on Files.com automate workflows on your Files.com site by automatically taking an Action each time a Trigger occurs.

Automations are different from Folder Settings because Folder Settings are associated with a specific folder, while Automations apply to any matching folders across your entire site.

Automations can operate on one or several different folders. An Automation may have a Path specified, which can be a glob (includes wildcards) that affects multiple folders. Paths in Automations can even refer to folders which don't yet exist.

Automations are never removed when folders are removed, unlike Folder Settings, which are removed when the associated folder is removed.

Site administrators can create or manage Automations. Folder Administrators (users who have Admin permissions on at least one folder) can also create or manage automations specific to those folders.

Triggers

There are several types of triggers defined in order to trigger the Automations. For Automations, once you have selected the Automation Type, you will have an option to define what action will trigger the Automation. Here are the specific list of trigger options to choose from and when to use them:

  • Interval: Trigger the automation to run at midnight UTC based on the specified interval (Daily, Weekly, Monthly, Quarterly and Yearly). When end of every week is selected, the automation will repeat every Saturday between midnight UTC and Sunday morning UTC. When end of Month, or Quarterly or Yearly is selected, the automation will repeat at the end of that interval UTC time.
  • Custom Schedule: Trigger the automation to run at a user specified time, any day(s) of the week.
  • File Action: Trigger the automation when a file is created, read, updated, deleted, moved or copied from a selected folder.
  • Inbound Webhook: Trigger the automation will run when a request is received from another app via a webhook.

Future enhancements will allow Automations to be triggered by an incoming email, or by other services.

Please note that Files.com does not poll remote servers used in our Remote Server Mount feature for the purpose of firing Realtime and File Action-based triggers. Please consider our Remote Server Sync capability for realtime interoperability between Automations and Remote Servers.

Automation Types

There are multiple possible actions that Automations can perform, when selecting these options, your Files.com Automation will carry out the specific task. These are, Create Folder, Copy File, Move File, Delete File, and Run Sync. Let's look at each of them in more details below.

Create Folder

Creates the folder with name given by destinations in the path named by path.

The destination may include formatting parameters to insert the date/time into the destination name. You can optionally choose the time zone used for calculating the date/time tokens in destination folder names.

Example Use case: Our business files sales tax for each division in 11 states every quarter. I want to create the folders where those sales tax forms and data will be collected.

For example, you can create a Create Folder automation with these options:

  • Trigger: daily
  • Interval: quarter_end
  • Path: /AccountingAndTax/SalesTax/State/*/
  • Destinations: %Y/Quarter-ending-%m-%d

Copy File

Copies files in the folder named by path to the target path specified in destinations. If the path is on a remote server, then the path does not support wildcards, and attempting to include All subfolders (with the ** pattern) or Top-level subfolders (with the * pattern) will result in an error No folder paths matched.

If the parameter source exists, the automation will only fire on files matching the source. As with the path parameter, the source supports globbing (using wildcards to limit the matching files).

By default, the Copy File automation skips copying files if an identical-sized file already exists in the destination to prevent wasteful data transfer and overages.

If Maximum files to copy is defined to be limit files OR the parameter limit exists, the automation will only copy the newest limit files.

For example, you can create a Copy Files automation with these options:

  • Trigger: 10th of every month
  • Interval: monthly
  • Path: /AccountingAndTax/SalesTax/State/*/
  • Destinations: %Y/Monthly-%m-%d

Move File

Moves files in the folder named by path to the target path specified in destinations. If the path is on a remote server, then the path does not support wildcards, and attempting to include "All subfolders" (with the ** pattern) or "Top-level subfolders" (with the * pattern) will result in an error "No folder paths matched."

If the parameter source exists, the automation will only fire on files matching the source. As with the path parameter, the source supports globbing (using wildcards to limit the matching files).

If Maximum files to move is defined to be limit files OR if the parameter limit exists, the automation will only move the newest limit files.

For example, you can create a Move Files automation with these options:

  • Trigger: 365th day of every year
  • Interval: yearly
  • Path: AccountingAndTax/**
  • Destinations: %Y/Year-ending-Archive/

Delete File

Deletes the file with path matching source (wildcards allowed) in the path named by path. If the path is on a remote server, then the path does not support wildcards, and attempting to include All subfolders (with the ** pattern) or Top-level subfolders (with the * pattern) will result in an error No folder paths matched.

Run Sync

The Run Sync automation type is specifically designed to trigger synchronization with a remote server. This automation requires prior configuration of a Remote Server Sync.

The Run Sync automation provides the flexibility to schedule the Remote Server Syncs at various intervals such as daily, weekly, monthly, or even at a custom schedule, such as every Monday at 5PM. Additionally, it can also be triggered using an incoming webhook, allowing for even more versatility in initiating the synchronization process.

Within a single automation, you have the ability to trigger multiple Remote Server Syncs. This means that you can initiate synchronization with more than one remote server simultaneously, allowing for efficient management of multiple synchronization processes within a single automation workflow. When selecting multiple Remote Server Syncs to trigger in the same automation workflow, it is important to note that the order in which they will run cannot be predicted.

Note that the Automation simply kicks-off (or starts) the sync process, and the automation will complete prior to the sync completing. The status of the sync (as in success or failure) is independent of the automation, which is simply recording the status of starting the sync. If the sync fails, the automation will still show successful.

File Name Pattern Matching

For Copy, Move, and Delete file automations, you can optionally specify a pattern for file names to match using standard text with or without wildcards, or file extension matching (like *.pdf). For example, the pattern matching text *paid* matches any file with a name containing the word 'paid' (case-insensitive). You can also build an expression to match any single character using ?, or match an array of characters using [].

Additionally, you can negate any digits or characters in the file name using ^. For instance, [a-z].*will match all file names that contain only letters, while [^a-z].* means it won't match if the file name contains any characters between 'a' and 'z'.

Flatten Folders

For copy or move file automations, you can specify whether the folder structure at the destination should be flattened or not. When this option is enabled, the source folder structure will be flattened at the destination, and all files from the source folder hierarchy will be copied into the first level of the destination folder.

This is useful when copying or moving a large folder hierarchy to a single destination folder for backup or archival purposes. You can customize destination file names or specify which files can be overwritten in the destination folder for your workflow.

Overwriting existing files

For copy or move file automations, you can specify when files are overwritten if they already exist at the destination.

There are two options to choose from: overwrite files at the destination if their names match but the file sizes are identical (which is selected by default), or choose to overwrite even if both file names and sizes match. The second option is available only for a copy file automation, and we recommend leaving it off to avoid accidentally consuming unnecessary data transfer.

When overwriting a file on the destination path, we start by deleting the existing file and then proceed to copy or move the new file to the destination. This will result in both delete and create actions being logged.

Managing Automations

Automations can be easily managed with the below available options:

Modify: Previously created automation's triggers or actions, folder paths or patterns can be easily edited using 'Modify' option from the Automations home page or from the Automation details page.

Enable or Disable: If you want to pause or unpause any Automation to run in future, you can easily switch the automation states between 'Enabled' and 'Disabled'. This can be achieved by simply using the slider in Status column or from the Automation details page. Please note that, once the automation is disabled, all future runs will be stopped regardless of the triggers or actions. You can always reenable the disabled automations.

Clone: You want to have multiple automations of same type but different source or destination folders or triggers? You can simply create one automation and create clones of that automation and modify the cloned automations easily. You can achieve this by using 'Clone' option from the Automations home page or from the Automation details page.

Run now: Start an automation immediately, such as for testing, or because you don't want to wait for the next scheduled run. 'Run now' option provides flexibility and control, enabling to test and run your automated processes once on-demand to ensure they function correctly. You can use this option for automations that are in the 'Enabled' state and have triggers other than File actions based. After clicking 'Run Now,' the automation will be triggered instantly once, and the logs will be readily available as soon as the execution is completed.

Delete: You can delete the Automations by using 'Delete' option from the Automations home page or from the Automation details page. Please note that, once the automation is marked as deleted, all future runs will be stopped and deleted automations can not be restored.

Logging

The Files.com platform saves detailed logging information for every automation workflow operation. We track the Status, Creation and Completion timestamps, Operation type, Path, Destination and also error details in case of any failure.

You can check the Automations Run Logs by visiting the Run Logs for the automation.

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