Sequence of custom actions

i have multiple set columns in a custom actions. But it seems that many times there are not performed in a sequence… especially when submitting a form? in a custom action flow, is the 2nd action performed after the first one is completed?

for example.
set column 1: sets current date time stamp of a certain event.
set column 2: takes this date/time stamp and puts it into another template.

but several times i find this date time stamp empty in the setcolumn2

As far as I’m aware, there is no guarantee that actions will be performed in sequence, so you cannot depend on or expect that to happen. (Actually, maybe a better way to put that is there is no guarantee that they will finish in sequence). I’m not aware that it’s ever been explained how a multi-step action should be expected to behave, but my best guess based on experience and observation is that they probably fire in sequence, but all actions are independent of each other. That is, each action triggers regardless of the status of any previous action.

I realise that your example is probably contrived, but if it isn’t - wouldn’t the 2nd set columns be redundant? ie. the template column could just read the value from the column that’s set in the first action.

Here is a visual that might better explain what I mean.

How we might expect it to work:

Action 1 ---------->| Action 2 ---->| Action 3 ------>|

How (I think) it actually works:

Action 1 ---------->|
 Action 2 ---->|
  Action 3 ------>|
1 Like

Thank you Darren as usual for the helpful advise and information.

Maybe I didn’t explain my example clearly. I have a log that tracks every action being done by users (staff members) of a delivery service. Lets say item A that is to be picked up from source the custom action would be:
update item A status to picked.
Update time of pickup and name of user that picked up.
I have a template column thats puts all this information as “User X picked up Item A Time Y”
Then I set a text column ‘LAST ACTION’ to the template column above “User X picked up Item A Time Y”

after that i want to add the last action to the history or log of actions regarding this item. So i have a temp template column that combines last action + old history of actions.

and i my last set column action is to update the text HISTORY COLUMN = the temp column (history + last action)

that way i keep a log of everything happening… but many times this doesn’t update correctly. especially when a form is submitting… it seems that the actions are performed before templates in the editor are updated etc.

I’m guessing that the reason your history column needs to be a (basic) text column is because you need the data in your Google sheet?

If that’s the case, I’m not sure that there is a good answer. In situations like this, I’ll often delegate some of the work to Integromat. That is, trigger a webhook with a payload containing whatever data is required, and then have Integromat do the data munging and update my Google Sheet in the background.

1 Like

I don’t really need the history in the google sheet. but since the items are in a google sheet, I had to add a column for the action history for each item.

if you consider it in strings. I want to create String A. Then Put String A + B in a temp String TEMP. Then put String TEMP back into String B (the history)

all in 1 custom action

yeah, I get it. I don’t think you can depend on that to work all of the time, so what you are seeing is probably expected.

I just created a demo to mimic the scenario you described, and it seems to work okay (even if I click really fast). But I don’t think I’d trust it…

Just to describe what’s going on there:

  • Last Record Time is displaying the value of a user specific column
  • History is a text column, which is basically a list of timestamps for each time the “Add Record” button is tapped
  • Clear History clears the contents of the History column, and the User Specific Column
  • There is a template column that takes the value of the user specific column, and adds that to the History column value.
  • Each time the “Add Record” button is tapped, a custom action does two things:
    – Set Columns on the User Specific column to set it to the current date/time
    – Set Columns on the History column to set it to the value of the template

As I said, it seems to work, but…

2 Likes

Yes its working fine like 99% of the time when the actions are triggered by a button. But for some weird reason, when the actions are triggered by a form successful submission things tend to get weird. I will try to record a video and share.

Is the form adding a new row, or editing an existing row?

If an add row, then my guess would be that because the add row takes longer, subsequent actions are kicking in before it’s finished.

But I’m just guessing, I don’t know any of this for a fact.

1 Like