No longer able to drag and drop branch rules in automation?

Derek Owens December 15, 2022

Within the last week, I was able to drag and drop branch rules so that one branch rule is within another (see below).

image (1).png

Now, I can't drag and drop branch rules at all within the same automation. Anyone know if this is a bug or if something with the functionality that changed? Clicking "Add component" where I want the branch rule to appear (beneath the "Create a new Task" action doesn't list branching as an option, but I've been able to get around this in the past by dragging and dropping branch rules.

image (2).png

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Bill Sheboy
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December 15, 2022

Hi @Derek Owens -- Welcome to the Atlassian Community!

I have seen several posts about this behavior before, and I hypothesize it is an accident/defect that it works sometimes.  If nested branches were intended to be supported they would be in the documentation...probably with several articles written describing use cases and limits.  I'd welcome input from the automation dev team if this is intended to work.

And for the rule you have shown, technically the "branch" on most recently created issue gets converted to in-line code.  Branches on more than one issue get run in parallel and asynchronously, and so I would guess performance issues and potential errors could be why this structure may not be supported.

Kind regards,
Bill

Derek Owens December 16, 2022

Thanks for sharing this, @Bill Sheboy. Definitely seems like a bug to me. What do you mean by "the 'branch' on most recently created issue gets converted to in-line code"?

Bill Sheboy
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December 16, 2022

Apologies in advance for the long explanation  :^)

For branches on one-and-only-one issue (e.g. last created, parent epic, current issue) when the rule gets parsed and run, the rule steps runs in the order you see them.  Essentially the code is "in-lined" with the loop "unrolled", in dev-speak.  This has been confirmed by a few Atlassian folks in community posts.

However, when a branch is/could be on more than one issue (e.g. for sub-tasks, JQL, related issues, etc.) each issue/value gets run separately and in parallel for the branch steps.  And there is no guarantee of the processing order or even that the last one will finish until the very end of the rule's other steps.

Here's an example:

  • trigger: manual
  • branch: on parent epic
    • action: do some things A
  • action: do some things B
  • branch: on JQL for multiple issues
    • action: do some things C
  • action: do some things D

The current, actual order of processing will be:

  1. trigger happens
  2. things A inside the branch
  3. things B
  4. unknown from this point forward, as "things D" could happen intermixed with the processing of "things C" for the branch issues

I believe there is a suggestion to add an option to finish such a branch prior to continuing, similar to what is available for the Send web request action.

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Casey Gould May 1, 2023

Trying this last week, I wasn't able to drag and drop the section from the branch head (purple module) but WAS able to drag and drop each module within that branch (yellow conditions and blue actions) to the new location.

So if anyone else is encountering this issue, see if you can drag and drop the components of your branch, even if you can't drag the whole branch.

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Derek Owens December 16, 2022

Update on this in case anyone runs into the same issue. I was able to check tasks before adding a new one by using the Lookup issues action, adding a variable, and then doing a compare on that variable. Picture1.png

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John Funk
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December 15, 2022

Hi @Derek Owens  - Welcome to the Atlassian Community!

It's probably because the new one has an Else-if in it. Those are different because of the structure than regular If conditions or other conditions. 

Derek Owens December 15, 2022

Thanks @John Funk! So you're suggesting that if I had a second If, in place of an Else-if that I'd be able to do this?

I tried doing this with the same result as before and I can't drag and drop the branch rules in the If component above either.

John Funk
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December 15, 2022

Make sure you drop right in the line - it's a little finicky sometimes where it will let you put things. The other option is to add a new Condition and drop that in the right place. 

Derek Owens December 16, 2022

That is a frustrating element of the automation rule builder and the first thing I thought I was doing wrong, but it doesn't seem to be the issue here. Thanks again for taking a stab at this, John!

Like Casey Gould likes this

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