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Salesforce Winter 21 Release – New Lightning Flow features

This posts summarizes most Winter 21 new features related to Lightning Flow. To test these new features now, you can sign up for a pre-release org here.

1- Trigger a Flow to Run Before a Record is Deleted

In Flow Builder, you can now configure a new record–triggered flow to run before a record is deleted. You no longer need to write Apex code to set this up. This autolaunched flow runs in the background and updates related records when a record is deleted.

2- Debug Autolaunched Flows Directly on the Canvas (Beta)

Now you can debug an autolaunched flow without opening a new browser tab. Just click Debug on Canvas (Beta) in Flow Builder and view the path the flow took during the debug run.

3- Build Multi-Column Screens in Flow Builder (Pilot)

Multi-column layouts have hit Flow Builder! You can use the new Section component to arrange your flow screen components into multiple columns without touching a single line of code. Divide each flow screen into multiple sections, and easily modify the number of columns in each section to create effective, visually appealing layouts. Contact your Account Executive if you’re interested in participating in the pilot.

4- Debug Flow Errors in Sandbox Org as Another User:

Debugging a flow in a sandbox org is now easier than ever with the ability to debug a flow as another user. When you debug a flow as another user, you can catch flow exceptions such as unexpected permission, sharing, and profile configurations before they occur in production orgs.

Note: to enable this feature, go to Setup – Process Automation Settings, otherwise you will receive the below. 

5- Improve the Performance and Precision of Record-Triggered Flows with Entry Criteria

Salesforce added entry criteria to record-triggered flows, giving you more control over your automation. Instead of configuring the flow to run every time a record is created or edited, you can now configure it to run only when condition requirements are met. This optimization can also significantly reduce your record-triggered flows’ impact on your org’s performance, depending on the flow.

6- Create Decision Outcomes that Only Execute When Certain Changes are Made

Now a flow triggered by a record update can take different paths if the record that triggered the flow was edited to meet certain criteria. When you configure a Decision outcome, you can now set that outcome to execute only when the triggering record is updated to meet the condition requirements. This feature allows you to filter out record updates that are unrelated to your flow’s use case, and to avoid reprocessing records that previously triggered the flow.

7- Use Auto-Layout to automatically place and connect elements in flow

The new auto-layout feature makes building flows and aligning elements easier. When auto-layout is enabled on a flow, elements in the canvas are spaced and connected automatically. No more elements positioned slightly out of alignment!

8- Access Related Record Data In Autolaunched Flows With Triggers Using $Record.

We do not need to have a Get Records flow element to retrieve associated record information. You can access the related data via the $Record element.

9- Quickly See the Triggers of Your Flows on the Flows Page in Setup

Now see which trigger your autolaunched flow has with just a glance at the Flows list view in Setup. In the new Trigger column, see if a flow’s trigger is a record, a schedule, or a platform event. For a record-triggered flow, see if it makes before- or after-save updates. You can also discover which trigger an autolaunched flow has by viewing the flow’s detail page.

10- Lightning Flow Run-Time Improvements in API Version 50.0

ISBLANK function returns true for empty string or null values

In flow and process formulas, the ISBLANK function returns true for empty string or null values. In flows and processes that run in API versions earlier than 50.0, the ISBLANK function returns true only when the value is null.

Enforce each flow screen’s Next or Finish control navigation setting

When Next or Finish is deselected in a flow screen’s control navigation settings, the screen no longer displays the Next navigation option to users. For flows that run in API versions earlier than 50.0, the Next or Finish setting isn’t always enforced. Specifically, screens always display the Next option when an element is in the flow after the screen.

Let merge fields support null record variables

Merge fields that reference record variables no longer cause errors when the record variables are null at run time. For flows that run in API versions earlier than 50.0, a merge field such as {!Account.Name} causes an error when the account record variable is null at run time.

Enforce the running user’s data access when a flow uses a merge field

This versioned update enables the Enforce Data Access in Flow Merge Fields release update for flows that run in API version 50.0. After the release update’s auto-activation, the update will be enforced for all flows regardless of their run-time API version. 

Treat invalid references to global variables as errors instead of string values

At run time, an invalid reference to a global variable now results in an error. In flows that run in API versions earlier than 50.0, invalid references to global variables are treated as string values. For example, suppose that a flow screen contains a Display Text component with this typo: Hello {!$User.FirstNaame}! If the flow runs in API version 50.0 or later, an error occurs when the Screen element is executed. If the flow runs in an API version earlier than 50.0, your users see “Hello {!$User.FirstNaame}!” on the screen.


To get the full Winter 21 release notes for Lightning Flow, please visit this link