Viewing the Flow Start Log

Viewing your Flow Start Log is helpful in understanding your account's activity. You'll see a list of all the flows that have been started, the user who started them, and more. To view the log, first navigate to the 'Flows' tab:

Scroll down and find the 'Flow Start Log' button on the lefthand side:

Here, you'll see the list of flows started:

Here's a breakdown of the first log as seen above:

  1. The name of the flow, the user who started it, and the contacts who were placed in the flow. In the example above, all contacts were started, meaning both contacts who had and had not previously entered the flow and those active in other flows. Be sure to review our start flow sending options article to understand how contacts are started in a flow!
  2. The exact contacts or groups who were started.
  3. The date the flow was started.
  4. How many runs the flow completed. Note that passage through a flow from entrance to exit - and all activity that takes place in between - constitutes a run.

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Using Prometheus Monitoring

Prometheus and Grafana are popular platforms used to build dashboards. The dashboards you can build using them will let you see trends over time, spikes in usage and better understand the activity on your organization.

Prometheus works by fetching the current counts of various attributes on your organization a few times a minute. From that data it builds up a historical database of values it can query against. Grafana is then used to build dashboards using the database Prometheus has built over time.

Note that you will need both a Prometheus server and a Grafana server in order to perform these visualizations. You can either host these services yourself or use one of the hosted services such as Hosted Metrics that do this for you.

In either case you will be configuring the "Scrape Target" in Prometheus for your Organization. To enable your scrape target:

  1. Visit your Organization Home by clicking on your organization name in the upper right corner
  2. Click on the Prometheus link to activate Prometheus monitoring

  3. Then click on the Prometheus line again to get your Prometheus endpoint, username and password. You can then use these to configure a new scrape target on the Prometheus server you are using. 

Remember that Prometheus will need to scrape your endpoint for a period of time to build a history of the records, so it will take some time before you have useful historical metrics for graphing.

Exposed Metrics

Your Prometheus endpoint exposes aggregate counts for use in your dashboards. These include:

  • The total count of incoming and outgoing messages for each of your channels
rapidpro_channel_msg_count{channel_name="BotChannel",channel_uuid="16551115-2483-4c60-98c4-0bb34e7aa218",channel_type="TG",msg_direction="out",msg_type="message",org="Handy"} 993
  • The total count of contacts in each of your groups, plus your system groups. Example record:
rapidpro_group_contact_count{group_name="Active Users",group_uuid="f53056f9-302c-4d76-a1b4-7ed0c6132779",group_type="user",org="Handy"} 23251

You can use the attributes on the metrics to filter by or group by in your Grafana dashboards.

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Free TextIt Hosting for Coronavirus Projects

In response to the global Covid19 outbreak, Nyaruka is offering free TextIt hosting to all initiatives aiming to help during this pandemic. Projects we support have already sent and received millions of messages answering questions posed by the public and we want to do our part in ensuring even more people can be reached in the weeks ahead.

If you are working on a project related to the Covid19 outbreak, you can create an account for free at Once you have built your system please reach out to us and we will add additional credits to your account to guarantee you can scale nationally.

Projects do not need to be health related, we have customers building takeout and delivery systems using TextIt to help avoid physical contact just as we have customers building informational bots to help spread information in communities. Every little bit can and does help!

Our team is ready and eager to help you with any questions you may have.

Please share this with any of your colleagues who might find it useful.

Stay safe, working together we will all get through this.

Fixing Missing Dependencies

In some cases, you might find that a flow depends on something that no longer exists. When this happens, you will see the action title in red (as seen above) to let you know that a flow issue is present. For example, you might be looking at a flow that references a contact field by using an expression like @fields.age. However, at some point you may have deleted the contact field for Age. 

When this happens, your flow will continue to run, however it might lead to unexpected results. In some cases, such as updating a contact field for a missing field, nothing will happen (other than the field will not be set). 

In other cases, it might be more noticeable. Perhaps you created a Send Message action that looked like the following example. In this case, it may cause some confusion as the value for @fields.volunteer_id would be left out.

After creating a node with a messing dependency, you'll see that the node itself turns red. If you click on the node to edit, you'll see a notification that says 'Cannot find a field for @fields.whatever_field_name

You will also see a new red tab appear to the right of the editor called 'Flow Issues'.

Click on the Flow Issues tab to get a full list of all the missing dependencies and click on each to be taken to the exact node in your flow.

Contact Fields are not the only things that can go missing and result in a missing dependency error. You may see this with a Contact Group that has  been deleted, a channel that no longer exists, or a variety of other things your flow may reference.

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Restricting Sending to International Numbers

Your channel's phone number may automatically allow sending messages to international numbers, which could cause carrier or aggregator fees to add up. To avoid international messaging charges, you can choose to restrict sending. 

First, navigate to your account page and scroll down to the phone number you'd like to restrict:

Next, click the 'Edit' button to change the settings:

Uncheck the box allowing sending to international numbers:

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Changing the Order of Featured Fields on the Contacts Page

When viewing your featured fields on the Contacts page, you will see that they are organized left to right starting from earliest creation date. In the example below, the contact field school id was created at an earlier date than  state.

To change how the contact field columns are viewed, first navigate to the Manage Fields page found within the Contacts tab:

Here, click on the 'Featured' folder to the left of the page:

You'll see a list of all featured fields. Hover over a field to click and drag to the position you'd like. 

Navigate back to the Contacts tab to see the contacts fields have rearranged to your specifications: 

Don't see a contact field in the list? First, make sure it's featured

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Using the Context Explorer

The Context Explorer feature found in the simulator within each flow's editor allows you to view and better understand all the variables available in your flow. The explorer gives a detailed breakdown of values and their expressions, which can be copied for use elsewhere.

To use the Context Explorer, first navigate to the flow's editor. In our example, we want to see all the available variables for a flow asking contacts to join a group of their choosing to earn a free coupon:

At the bottom right corner of the editor, we see the Simulator button:

By clicking the 'Run in Simulator' button, we will run a test contact through the flow up to whichever point in our flow we'd like to view. Here, we've run the test contact all the way through to the flow's exit, or end. 

We'll then click on the '@' symbol found at the bottom left of the simulator to view the Context Explorer: 

In our example flow's explorer, we can immediately see the test contact's telephone number, the global API key set in our account, how many inputs were received from the contact, the results of the flow, and the flow's run:

We can expand each value to view even more detailed information like when the contact was created, the language of the contact, their group membership, and more:

We can hover over a value and click the clipboard icon:

This will copy the expression for that value to the clipboard for use elsewhere:

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Sorting Contact Field View

By clicking on the column header of a featured contact field on your Contact page, you can change how the fields are sorted. 

For example, we can change how the fields are viewed to either sort youngest to oldest or vice versa:

This feature is useful in this case to see the breakdown of our contacts' ages to better organize our demographic information. 

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Adding a Topic to Your Facebook Messenger Flow

Facebook has updated their API to require that all messages sent to a contact after 24 hours have an appropriate 'tag', or what we call a 'topic'. 

Message tags allow you to send important and relevant 1:1 updates to contacts outside the standard messaging window of 24 hours after a contact's last message. 

By default your flows will use the NON_PROMOTIONAL_SUBSCRIPTION  tag for your outgoing messages which aren't replies, but support for this tag is being removed in March 2020. 

You can now select the tag to use when sending broadcast messages by clicking on the first message of your flow and navigating to the "Facebook" tab as seen at the top of the message node:

For our example above, we'll choose the 'Event' tag since our message pertains to an update for an upcoming event. This will then mark the message with that tag when it is sent. You only need to do this on the first message in your flow. 

It is important to note that as per Facebook policy, message tags may not be used to send promotional content, including but not limited to deals, offers, coupons, and discounts. Learn more about sending messages with tags as well as details on new and currently supported tags here.

Looking for information on how to create and submit your Messenger bot? See our guide

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Global Variables

Globals are shared values that can be referenced in flows, as well as broadcasts and campaigns, within your account referenced by @globals.value_name. They allow you to create a value once and use it repeatedly without having to reenter the value. Likewise, globals make updating a shared value much easier. Rather than manually changing a value everywhere it's used in your account, simply update the value found in your 'Globals' page. 

Say you have 5 different webhooks in your account that all use the same Airtable API Authorization key. By saving that key as a global variable, you can easily reference the key without having to look it up in your Airtable account every time you create a webhook.

How it works

We've got a flow where we want to retrieve data from a table in our Airtable account multiple times. This means we'll need to use more than one Call Webhook action, and each of those will need to be configured using the API Authorization key from Airtable. To avoid having to look up the key for each configuration, we'll create a global to save time.

Create the global variable

Go to your account page, then scroll down to to the @ globals section.

Here, you'll find your Globals page where you can create and manage your global variables.

To create a new variable, click the 'Create Global' button. Choose a name and enter the value. For our API key example, the value is the same value that we'd enter for the 'Authorization' header in our Call Webhook action in our flow.

Note that by clicking on the 'uses' link next to each global variable on your 'Globals' page, you can see every place your global is used. 

Use the global in a flow

After creating the shared API key global, we can reference it in all of our new Call Webhook actions in our Airtable flow. 

When we create each new Call Webhook node, we don't need to enter the text value of the Authorization header.

We can instead simply reference the value using the global variable we've created using @globals.api_key. Recall that we named the variable API Key when we created the global earlier. 

That's it! For any other webhook where we would also use the same Airtable API Authorization key, we don't need to look it up. We can easily enter the global instead. 

Note that globals can only be edited or updated within your Globals page and not within flows. 

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