Learn About the New, Built-in, Debug Tool in the Flow Builder!

Learn About the New, Built-in, Debug Tool in the Flow Builder!

Last Updated on February 10, 2022 by Rakesh Gupta

Salesforce Flow allows us to automate business processes by building applications, known as Flows. Using Flows, a user can collect information; or, they can update, edit, or create records in Salesforce. Furthermore, Flows can execute logic, interact with the Salesforce database, call Apex classes, Platform Events, and guide users through various screens to streamline the process of collecting and updating data. Once a Flow is built, an Admin can make the Flow available to the right users or systems. After Salesforce Recent release system administrator can create a Flow that can fire when a record is created or edited. 

Just like most things in life, however, Salesforce Flow is not immune to bugs:(; and, neither is it any easier to debug Salesforce Flow :(. Salesforce, however, does offer a handful of debugging tools – such as, a user can use Fault Email sent by Salesforce (not very helpful in every case); or, use Screen elements (adding a temporary element); or, last but not least, leverage standard Debug Log. Each option, however, has its pros and cons. If one lacks experience on how to read a Debug Log then, using screen elements is quite helpful in debugging a flow. Setting Debug Log is quite easy but understanding/reading each and every line of Debug Log message/outcome is relatively challenging. If you are interested in developing mastery on how to read Debug Logs (Only Flow part) in Salesforce then, please read this article.

You might have created a Flow with multiple Screens, Assignments, or Data elements. After development, the second step is to test the Flow, to make sure that it is working as per the design (obviously based on business requirements). 

Before the Summer’18 release, we were using Screen elements to make sure that Flow is passing correct data to the next element. 

In the above example, I am using the Screen element just to debug/test the Flow to make sure that it is passing correct data – i.e. Lead ID, in my case – to the next element Add to Campaign (Create Records) element. 

After Summer’18 release, however, with just a few clicks, you can now debug your Flow with a built-in debug tool within the Salesforce Flow Designer! No need to add Screen elements to test the outcome. Salesforce Flow Designer now offers a debug option to help you test and troubleshoot your flows. Easily set input variables, quickly restart flows, and view all the gory details of what’s happening in real-time as your flow executes. The new feature includes the following capabilities:

  • Easily specify the values of input variables. After running the flow, you can quickly change those values and rerun the flow.
  • Choose whether sub-flow elements are running the latest version of each referenced flow.
  • View step-by-step details of all operations, actions, and variable assignments as the flow execute them.
  • At any time, even mid-run, quickly restart the flow so that you can try a different branch.

In this article, I am going to show you how one can use the new Flow debugging technique that allows you to debug in Flow Builder. Let us start with a business use case. 

Business Use Case

Marie Gallagher is a System Administrator at GurukulOnCloud (GoC). He received a requirement from upper management to create a Flow that allows reps to create Lead and then associate it with a Campaign. 

The solution for the above business requirement

This article is fully focused on the new debugging technique that allows you to debug the Flow in the Flow Builder. So I am not going to explain the steps to create the Flow for the above business requirement. But, for your reference, however, I have created an unmanaged package that you can install in your Org. For a deeper dive, view the following video and create a sample Flow!

Notice that, in the video, I am not using any screen element after Create Records (creating a lead record) element to verify the lead record ID to make sure that data is being correctly processed by the Flow. Instead, I am going to show you how one can use the newly built-in debug tool:

  1. To start the debug process, click on the Debug button.
  2. It will open another window where you can set the Debug Options and Input Variables. In our case, enter a valid Campaign ID in the CampaignID field, as shown in the following screenshot: 
  3. Once you are done, click on the Run button. 
  4. On the next screen provide the input data –  to the Flow – to create a lead record, as shown in the following screenshot: 
  5. If you look at the preceding screenshot carefully, it has two additional options:
    1. Pause – Pause your test/debug and resume it later. But note that ‘later’ means that it will open a normal Flow run screen, not debug screen with populated data.
    2. Run Again – Restart your test/debug from scratch or run it again with the same inputs that you previously entered.
  6. Once you are done with entering the lead data click on the Next button. It will create a lead and a Lead ID will be generated by the Flow. No need to add an additional Screen element just to verify the outcome.
  7. Well done guys. Now you understand how to debug your Flow! A savvy tester tests a positive as well as a negative scenario; since you are in this coveted club, now, let us test a negative scenario:
  8. Let’s take a negative scenario and see how this built-in debug tool helps when Flow fails at runtime.
  9. Go ahead guys and create a Validation Rule on the Lead object as shown in the following screenshot: 
  10. Re-run the complete debug process once again. To do so follow steps 1-6.
  11. This time Flow will fail to create a record, and you will get the same message on the screen with reason: 
  12. Yes! Wowed by the power of the new Debug tool? Me too! Having gone through the above exercise, now you understand how helpful this Debug tool in the Cloud Flow Designer is! Most of us would agree that it is a better, quicker, and easier way to debug a Flow – rather than setting up standard Debug Log and reading a convoluted mammoth log file.

Whether you are testing a new flow or troubleshooting a flow that failed, the debug option in the Cloud Flow Designer is now your new best friend!

Things to remember

  • Debugging or testing a flow actually runs the flow and performs actual actions – including any DML operations and Apex code execution. Remember, closing or restarting a running flow does not roll back its previously executed actions, callouts, and changes committed to the database.
  • You can not pass values into input variables of type collection and Record Collection variable.
  • Clicking Pause or executing a Wait element closes the flow and ends debugging.

I hope you gained valuable insights from the blog about how to debug a Flow in the Cloud Flow Designer.!! Yes, go ahead! Show off your newly acquired skills to your friends, colleagues, and families!

Please feel free to add constructive comments, insights – and yes, challenges too! – to the blog. Good Luck in your Journey towards becoming a Salesforce Ninja!

Have feedback, suggestions for posts, or need more information about Salesforce online training offered by me? Say hello, and leave a message!

3 thoughts on “Learn About the New, Built-in, Debug Tool in the Flow Builder!

  1. How to debug with list of records?

    I have a list button, where I select certain records, and then send {!Selected} as parameter to the flow.
    Now I want to debug this flow, but the debugger doesn’t allow this as input. It tells me


    What is the best alternative to debug this then?

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