Product Update: Conditions for Actions, Activity Time, & More

New features provide more flexibility to fine-tune automation, enhance cross-team visibility, and increase the power of runbooks & actions in Slack

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Jessica Abelson, Director of Product Marketing
Jan 27th, 2022

New features and enhancements give teams more flexibility to fine-tune automated processes, enhance visibility across teams, and enable users to get more power out of runbooks and actions in Slack.

Conditions for actions expand upon the power of automation, enabling teams to take the output data from an action to potentially kick off next or future actions. Activity time gives teams and the entire digital enterprise visibility into the length of any given activity. We’re excited to share these new features and many more.

New features include:

  • Conditions for Actions allow you to create “if this, then that” conditions to kick off further Actions.
  • Activity Time provides a clock at the top of your activity that shows the duration since activity started.
  • Long-Running Actions enable you to schedule actions to run indefinitely, with potentially endless continuations.
  • Attach or Detach Slack Channels to and from activities.
  • New Connectors and Actions for Atlassian, Azure DevOps, Bitbucket, GitHub, Jira, Microsoft Teams, Zendesk, and more.

Conditions for actions#

We’re continually adding more automated scenarios for actions within runbooks by taking output data from an action and enabling automation based on that data. From any action, you can now add “if this, then that” conditions that can kick off other actions.

When you add a new condition in an action chain, you can create rules around different sets of data and then run your actions based on those conditions, forking off to alternative actions based on the resolution of your conditions.

How it works

First click “Add Condition” under the action.

Then set your condition. Choose a name for the condition and the rules. Use the “Data” button to pull data from the previous action to use in the condition.

In the example above, we’re taking data outputted from the previous “Create a Jira Issue” action, the Jira issue key, to make a rule whereby if the issue key equals “WEB” then two other actions will run (notify the web team’s Slack Channel; escalate to web on-call through PagerDuty).

Once set, you will see it in your Runbook. This can be edited, added to, or deleted anytime.

Activity time#

Now you can see how long any given activity has been running with a stopwatch that starts running when the activity is created and stops when you close the activity.

The start and end times can be edited so that you can adjust the times where they don’t accurately reflect the activity’s current state.

Validation is built in so that, for example, the start time can’t be put after the end time. If you have a very long running activity that moves into days, the display adjusts automatically to show days instead of hours, and a browser picker is included to change the day and time.

Attach or detach Slack channels to and from activities#

You can now add actions into a runbook to attach or detach a Slack channel to or from an activity. While teams can still choose to automatically create a new Slack channel based on activity type, now you can attach (or detach) other channels to activities, as well.

For example, you may want to attach your “on-call” channel to an incident activity.

This also allows you to detach an activity from one Slack channel and attach to another. This can be helpful when you have a single on-call channel in Slack and you later want to peel some priority accounts off to their own dedicated channels.

Add these to your runbook by searching for actions “Attach Slack channel” and “Detach Slack channel.”

Long-running actions#

There are many actions that need extra time to run, and today we’ve made that possible with no limits. Typical actions have a runtime of a maximum of 5 minutes, which limits the ability of certain actions to run properly, like restarting a cluster and waiting for healthy return messages.

Today, we’ve added the ability to create long-running actions that can run indefinitely by scheduling potentially endless continuations. This functionality gives you periods of time to work with which you can set and, in that period of time, you can wait indefinitely for a response or start another continuation.

We are building out new, pre-built long-running actions, like “Run Jenkins job.” In the right sidebar, just set the delay between status check and the maximum status checks.

You can also create new long-running actions in the Developer Platform.

New connectors and actions#

We’re continuously creating new pre-built connectors and actions, and we’re excited to introduce an assortment of new options today.

New connectors:

  • Atlassian user provisioning
  • GraphQL
  • Bitbucket
  • Zendesk

New actions:

  • Atlassian: create user, add user to group
  • Azure DevOps: add user to groups, get groups
  • GitHub: edit file
  • Jira: transition issue, add comment, set field
  • Microsoft Teams: message channel
  • Shortcut: create story, set story field
  • Slack: get channel id, usergroup approval, message multiple channels
  • Transposit: filter activities
  • Utilities: convert timestamps, JMESPath extractor, map strings, send email, wait

See all of our available actions.

New Atlassian connector and actions enable user provisioning right from Slack

The new data connector to Atlassian can help you use Slack to support your service desk, enabling users to raise requests for access to Atlassian and approvers to approve — all from Slack. Requests can be raised in Slack, with Transposit creating the related issues in Jira and the approver approving them through Slack. Through runbooks, these actions can then automatically create the user in Atlassian, with an audit trail that provides a complete record of each step in the process.

Other enhancements#

  • Enhanced Validation for Actions, Webhooks, and Authorization: help you to understand errors that may occur while you’re putting actions and webhooks together and authorizing connectors.
  • Bubble Visualizations for Action Fields: action fields in runbooks are now more user-friendly and understandable with new visualizations, including colors, icons, and tooltips.

Want more details? Head to the release notes.