Automations on Files.com allow you automate workflows on your Files.com site by automatically taking an Action when a Trigger occurs.
Automations are different from Folder Behaviors (Folder Settings) because Behaviors are associated with a specific folder, while Automations apply across your entire site.
Although Automations may have a Path specified, it can be a global (which includes wildcards), which affects multiple folders. Additionally, paths in Automations can refer to folders which don't yet exist.
Automations are never removed when folders are removed, while Behaviors are removed when the associated folder is removed.
In general, Automations can be created or managed by site Administrators. Folder Administrators (users who have Full Admin permissions on at least one or more folders) can also create or manage automations specific to those folders.
Automations can be triggered in the following ways:
- Interval: Trigger the automation to run at midnight UTC based on the specified interval (Daily, Weekly, At the end of every week, Monthly, etc)
- 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.
There are currently four types of automations:
- Create Folder
- Delete File
- Copy File
- Move File
Creates the folder with named by destinations in the path named by path.
Destination may include formatting parameters to insert the date/time into the destination name.
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.
I could create a Create Folder automation as follows:
- Trigger: daily
- Interval: quarter_end
- Path: /AccountingAndTax/SalesTax/State/*/
- Destinations: %Y/Quarter-ending-%m-%d
Deletes the file with path matching source (wildcards allowed) in the path named by path.
Copies files in the folder named by path to the path specified in destinations.
If the parameter source exists, the automation will only fire on files matching the source (wildcards allowed).
If the parameter limit exists, the automation will only copy the newest limit files.
Moves files in the folder named by path to the path specified in destinations.
If the parameter source exists, the automation will only fire on files matching the source (wildcards allowed).
If the parameter limit exists, the automation will only move the newest limit files.
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.
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.
Do you have an idea for something that would work well as a Files.com Automation? Let us know! We are actively improving the types of automations offered on our platform.
When setting up Destination filenames in Automations, you may include pattern characters that will be substituted with values related to the Automation's run.
This is a reference of the available patterns to use for substitution.
These apply only if the Automation trigger is a File Action, and refer to the filename of the triggering File Action:
- %tp - entire path of triggering File
- %tf - filename of triggering File (without folder name)
- %td - folder name of triggering File (without file name)
If the Automation trigger is an Inbound Webhook, any GET or POST parameters that are sent to that Webhook can be used by name. Parameters are limited to 190 characters in length each and 550 characters in length total.
- %u-[GET or POST Param name] - will be replaced by the value sent in that GET or POST parameter to the Inbound webhook. For example, if the inbound webhook received parameter username, replacement pattern %u-username could be used.
These apply based on the source path of the Automation. Remember that source paths can include wildcard characters, so this is how you would convert those wildcards in the source into something meaningful in the destination.
- %p1 - right-most folder component of matching source path
- %p2 - second right-most folder component of matching source path
- ... etc
These are always available and use the time associated with the run time of the automation. These values are similar to the values used by the strftime function in most standard code libraries.
- %a - abbreviated weekday name (eg Mon)
- %A - full weekday name (eg. Monday)
- %b - abbreviated month name (eg. Jan)
- %B - full month name (eg. January)
- %C - century number (the year divided by 100, range 00 to 99)
- %d - day of the month (01 to 31)
- %e - day of the month (1 to 31)
- %H - hour, using a 24-hour clock (00 to 23)
- %I - hour, using a 12-hour clock (01 to 12)
- %j - day of the year (001 to 366)
- %m - month (01 to 12)
- %M - minute (00 to 59)
- %p - either am or pm according to the given time value
- %r - time in am and pm notation
- %R - time in 24 hour notation
- %S - second (00 to 59)
- %T - current time, equal to %H:%M:%S
- %u - weekday as a number (1 to 7), Monday is represented as 1.
- %U - week number of the current year, starting with the first Sunday as the first day of the first week
- %V - The ISO 8601 week number of the current year (01 to 53), where week 1 is the first week that has at least 4 days in the current year, and with Monday as the first day of the week
- %W - week number of the current year, starting with the first Monday as the first day of the first week
- %w - weekday as a number (0 to 6), Sunday is represented as 0.
- %y - two-digit year without a century (range 00 to 99)
- %Y - four-digit year including the century
- %Z - time zone or name or abbreviation
- %% - a literal % character
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 automation logs by visiting Automations > [automationname] > Run Logs. Click on "Details" to deep dive the logs further.
There are several issues that can cause automations to fail. When these issues occur, you may see effects such as some files successfully being transferred while others fail or some operations may fail completely.
Use a process of elimination to determine the exact cause of the failure. Typical failures can be such as:
- Race conditions: If you have multiple automations that act on the same source files, it's not possible to predict which automation will act first. You should avoid creating multiple automations that use the same sources. As an example, rather than creating one automation which copies files from a folder and a second automation that deletes the files from that folder, make a single automation that moves the files from the folder.
- Throttling: If your automation workflow is configured to exchange files with a remote server based on some triggers, the remote server can have their own limits on incoming or outgoing connection volumes or even bandwidth. Remember, these limits are applied by the external systems and not by the Files.com platform. For example, if you created a workflow to copy files from a Microsoft Azure mounted storage to Files.com on a regular interval and if the amount or size of files to be copied are more than the allowed limit by Azure, a throttling error can be thrown by Azure and it results as a failure in Files.com automation logs. In this case, please check the remote server's throttling or activity or connection limits.
- Folders with large number of files: If your automations workflow is configured on folders with a large number of files, the automation will be at risk of being disabled. Please refer to Folder Limitations for more information.
- Source not found: If your automation workflow is configured to do some action based on a source folder or a file and if that source folder or file is not found, automation will result as failure and logged. In this case, check the Automation workflow and make sure the triggers and actions are configured properly.
- Destination exists: If your automation workflow is configured to move or copy the files and the file or folder already exists on the target when automation runs, automation may fail and logged as failure. This happens typically when multiple workflows are configured to target the same folder paths. In this case, check your folders paths in all automation workflows.
- Using Wildcards: If you are using wildcards in the folder paths, make sure that the matching patterns are properly applied. For example, if you want to copy all files and folders under the folder "Partners/Invoices/" to some remote folder and if the folder path set as "Partners/Invoices/""" in workflow, then the automation will copy any files under sub folders of "Invoices" folder but it wont copy files which are directly under the "Invoices" folder. In this case, check the wildcard patterns and use "" or "**" accordingly.
- Zero byte size files: If your workflow is configured to be triggered based on the file creation and modification and the corresponding file size is zero bytes, automation may fail particularly when you are exchanging files with 3rd party services (example, Azure storage) and error may not be logged in Files.com platform. In this case, check with the remote server's configuration on zero byte size files.
- Timeout errors or Network issues: Automation workflow triggers or actions may fail due to various network related issues. If Files.com platform detects any timeout or network related issues, corresponding information will be logged as failure in the logs. But, if the automation is not running as expected and there are no errors in Files.com logs, it is possible that there might be a network issues connecting to remote servers. This can usually happens when multiple network layers are involved in workflow. In this case, please make sure that the remote server sync or mount connections are active in Files.com. You can check this by visiting Settings > Integrations > Remote Servers.
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