Nextcloud Flow makes it easy to automate actions and workflows

Originally published at: https://nextcloud.com/blog/nextcloud-flow-makes-it-easy-to-automate-actions-and-workflows/

We are happy to announce that Nextcloud 18 will introduce Flow. This app will make it easy for users to automate some common tasks through an easy, graphical user interface. Integration with the wide variety of apps in the Nextcloud ecosystem will be an important priority for this project. A first tech preview is available as part of the daily builds of Nextcloud 18.

Here’s all the news from the Nextcloud Conference:

What can Flow do

Nextcloud Flow is designed to help you automate tasks. For example, when a file is added to a specific folder, a shared link to the file could be created and send through Nextcloud Talk into a specified chat room. Or, when a new element (like a file, a chat or a Deck board) is added to a certain project, you get a notification.

Here is a mockup (based on current state) of what NC Flow should look like by release time:

One thing Flow can do is can help the workflow of teams collaborating on documents. Think of the approval and review processes, as in this example:

An partner sends a customer order form by mail to a special inbox. The attachments get uploaded to Nextcloud and, because they end in a special folder, are given a specific tag. This tag results in the file getting added as a task card in a Deck board for Team X to process. The chat from Team X notifies them of the arrival of the new task. A team member reviews the form and when done, moves the card to done which automatically adds a 'reviewed' tag. This tag results a notification for the manager. Once they adds the 'approved' tag, the files are turned into a PDF, then shared via a public link, which in turn is added to a mail that gets send to the partner.

As you see, Flow can go beyond files, tying together the various capabilities of Nextcloud. Through an easy API, Nextcloud applications like Calendar, Mail, Talk and Deck will be able to provide actions and triggers for users to use. This means that more and more apps will be able to offer integration, so users can configure Nextcloud to respond to a wider range of events with an ever growing amount of actions.

Get Flow

Flow will be a part of Nextcloud 18. We have just started working on this release, but Flow has been under development for while already. A first tech preview is available as part of our development version, downloadable as a daily build. Input from users is very welcome, as there is a wide range of capabilities that could be added and the team is looking for use cases to prioritize. App developers can also get started supporting Flow in their apps! Documentation for Flow will soon be available on our Developer site.

At the Nextcloud Conference this weekend, a workshop will demonstrate how developers can add new capabilities from their apps to Flow.

Screenshots of the current state:

Creating a new flow
Creating a new flow
Multiple operations
Multiple operations
Select Triggering Event
Select Triggering Event
Add check to rule
Add check to rule
Define mimetype rule with presets
Define mimetype rule with presets
Additional check and operation options
Additional check and operation options
Overview
Overview
2 Likes

This is awesome. If you could somehow find a way to integrate this functionality into your Outlook Plugin - you could very easily turn this into a Data Loss Prevention (DLP) tool. What do you think?

The workflow app overhaul (happening here on Github) has a lot of potential, especially for helping integrate various Nextcloud apps together. If system wide tagging is implemented, it will be possible to automate all major apps using their tags in conjunction with the Flow app. That would be amazing!

1 Like

This is great!! Thank you! Will there be any kind of integration with service such as IFTTT.com? I’d love for IFTTT actions to be able to talk to my Nextcloud instance.

@richjsouth Just one point coming into my mind. Nextcloud is advertised as save harbor for your private data. How should this align with your request to send data to external sites, like IFTTT.com or Amazon, Google etc.? In this case, I would say that it doesn’t matter if you directly store all your data on servers of Google etc. Am I wrong?

Better integrate with Hugin and Node Red for that purpose.