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Naming

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In the previous step, you looked at dynamic data. This is how you reference data from prior steps in a flow and dynamically bind it to the current properties.

In this topic, we are going to discuss naming both your overall flow as well as individual actions.

The name of the flow can be changed at any time. It defaults to a generated name based on the trigger that you have configured on the flow.

Naming Flows

Teams using flows as part of an overall Power platform project should consider naming for both consistency and ease of use of the flows. Instant flows are probably most important to have a good name because they are selected by end-users from a list of flows. Instant flows that trigger on selected records within a model-driven app are shown in a list in the context of that entity name. Including the entity name in the flow name is not as important.

Other types of flows, both scheduled and automated, are not selected by a user. They should be named clearly so an administrator can tell what flow has run or failed. For example, naming something “Expire old records” would not be as clear as “Sales – Weekly expire opportunities”. Quickly from looking at the later, you can tell the flow is part of the Sales app and not the Customer Service app, and it is run weekly and cleans up opportunity records. Having a naming convention that your team uses can be helpful, but these are more suggestions than prescriptive guidance.

Naming Flow Actions

More important than naming the flow, is getting your actions named before they are referenced. Once your action is referenced by another action later in the flow the rename option becomes disabled. Every action will get a default name, for example retrieving a CDS record will get a name of Get Record.

This name is important for two primary reasons. First, it is shown in the list of dynamic values you can pick from. And second, when you build expressions it is used to reference the other actions in the expression. If you leave it defaulted, you end up with Get Record and Get Record 2 which are hard to tell that one was an Account and the other a Contact. Naming them Get Account and Get Contact would have been a better choice. The following shows how you can rename an action.

Screenshot showing how to rename and edit comment

Notice also on the list is Edit Comment. Initially, that says Add Comment. The comment shows right under the name on an action and is a good way to document anything that might not be obvious later when someone who took over the project looks at the flow you built. If you are using Azure Dev Ops or another system for tracking work items, you could always add the work item number, giving a way for someone to follow up and find the requirement you were implementing.

It’s also important to do this on conditions and loops as well. Naming conditions make it easy when you are looking at a flow that ran to tell why the flow took one path vs another. Naming loops are helpful because if it is a long-running loop and you look at the flow, with the default naming all you might see is Do Until, but have no idea what the Do Until is for. For example, you might name it Do Until task completed or timeout. That would be more clear what is happening.

Naming seems like such a minor thing to spend time on, however, a little pre-work by a team can make the names of flows more usable to those that use and manage them. Your productivity will also improve by taking the time to pick good action names as you add the action.

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Dynamics 365: Working with Power Platform Automation

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