Using the right Common Data Service Connector in Flow

2020-04-02

Microsoft Flow opens up new possibilities for low-code development with the Common Data Service. By default, when creating a new Flow, the Common Data Service connector catches the eye immediately.

Default Common Data Service connector Default Common Data Service connector

While tempting, this connector restricts proper application lifecycle management and limits the available triggers and actions within.

Application lifecycle management

If you export a solution from a development environment to a testing (or staging, production) environment, the choice for the correct CDS connector affects how much you need to configure after importing the solution.

Consider the following example Flow created with the Common Data Service connector:

Example flow with the Common Data Sevice connector Example flow with the Common Data Sevice connector

If you import this Flow, you have to edit each and every step within the Flow with the correct connection. As you can imagine, this can get very time consuming for complex Flows.

Example flow with the Common Data Sevice connector after importing in other environment Example flow with the Common Data Sevice connector after importing in other environment

But if you choose the Common Data Service (current) connector, you are greeted with the following dialog when editing the Flow:

Example flow CDS current connection Example flow CDS current connection

You only have to do this once for each Flow, which is a big improvement over editing each step within a Flow.

Available triggers

If you choose the Common Data Service connector, the available triggers are:

Common Data Service triggers Common Data Service triggers

However, if you want to trigger a Flow on a combination of these trigger, you would have to create seperate flows for each trigger. Luckily, if you choose the Common Data Service (current) connector, you gain access to the very useful When a record is created, updated or deleted trigger - which eliminates the need for multiple Flows.

Common Data Service (current) triggers Common Data Service (current) triggers

Within that trigger, you can specify what the trigger condition is.

Trigger condition Trigger condition

More information

These are only some of the differences between the connectors. For more information, consult the Microsoft documentation on the Common Data Service and Common Data Service (current).

Common Data ServiceFlow

Troubleshooting the ribbon - UCI style