Inside Action Link Templates

In this blog post,  I am going to give an overview of the Action Link Templates and its conceptual knowledge. Action link is a button with some action on a feed element which is having a capability to a redirect Web page, initiate a file download, or invoke an API call to Salesforce or to an external server  like  when you want to post a survey link to Salesforce chatter feed or you wanted to approve or reject travel or expense from the chatter feed are few use cases of action link templates .

Terminology:-  

Action Links: – An action link is a button on a feed element. Clicking an action link can take a user to a  Web page, initiate a file download, or invoke an API call to Salesforce or to an external server. Action links on chatter post can allow you to integrate your chatter feed with Salesforce and third-party services into the feed.

Action Link Templates: –  Action like the template is the place when you can define your server-side execute logic decoratively by using context variables and binding variables. You can use template binding keys in the Action URL, HTTP Request Body, and HTTP headers fields to make an API call. Suppose on click on button user need to send an SMS from the feed, in this case, you can defined the URL to send SMS and body and Header and other authentication parameters in Action link template by using binding variables and context variables.you can specify  binding variables in the template at the time of  instantiate the action link group. You can also specify context variables in the templates like who is executes the action link, Salesforce provides values for these variables, such as who executed the link and in which organization

Action Link Group Template: – To associate an action link with a feed element, you need to create an action link group template which is a collection of Action link templates. With the action link group template, you can able to control the Action links location on chatter feed like primary or overflow.

Types of Action Link: –

With Action link template you can choose the different type of action as describes below .you can specify the action link type in the action-type property when you define an action link.

Api—The action link calls a synchronous API at the action URL.

For example Approve Expenses, Travel request.

ApiAsync—The action link calls an asynchronous API at the action URL.

For example  Upload Files, send SMS etc

Download—The action link downloads a file from the action URL.

For example Download file from Dropbox, Box, etc.

Ui—The action link takes the user to a Web page to the action URL.

For example View Map, open Visual Force Page, Canvas Page, etc.

Action link appearance: – While designing you action link templates you can specify the chatter feed item location by using Category property. it can be one of  Primary or Overflow.

If you specify the Category as Primary then action link will appear on Feed-item Body

If you specify the Category as  Overflow then Feed-item Detail Menu.

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Declarative Binding: –Not always you no need to pass the static data for the action link template while designing .you can identify the key areas where you need to make changes dynamically replace those by using Binding variables or context variables.

Use context variables to pass information about the user who executed the action link and the context in which it was invoked into the HTTP request made by invoking an action link. You can use context variables in the actionUrl, headers, and requestBody properties of the Action Link Definition Input request body or ConnectApi.ActionLinkDefinitionInput object.

Use binding variables in templates and set their values when you instantiate an action link group. Use binding variables to add sensitive information at run time.  You can define binding variables in the Action URL, HTTP Request Body, and HTTP Headers fields of an action link template. After a template is published, you can edit these fields, you can move binding variables between these fields, and you can delete binding variables. However, you can’t add new binding variables. Define a binding variable’s key in the template. When you instantiate the action link group, specify the key and its value.

Action link URL  with Bindings

https://www.example.com/{!Bindings.ApiVersion}/items/{!Bindings.ItemId}

Action Link Header with Bindings

The lifetime of Action links: –  Setting up expiration data on action link template is easy to maintain suppose let’s consider you are posting a survey link to feed that should be available only specific time. these type of requirements you can set with hours until expiration value. The expiration date can be calculated based on a period provided in the template, or the action link group can be set not to expire at all. To set the hours until expiration in a template, enter a value in the Hours until Expiration field of the action link group template. This value is the number of hours from when the action link group is instantiated until it’s removed from associated feed elements and can no longer be executed. The maximum value is 8760, which is 365 days.

Who can Execute and how many times?

Choose a value from the User Visibility drop-down list to determine who can see the action link after it’s associated with a feed element. Among the available options are Only Custom User Can See and Everyone Except Custom User Can See. Choose one of these values to allow only a specific user to see the action link or to prevent a specific user from seeing it. Then enter a value in the Custom User Alias field. This value is a binding variable key. In the code that instantiates the action link group, use the key and specify the value as you would for any binding variable. You can decide how many time each user wanted to execute action link by setting execution allowed with any one of values as unlimited, Once Per User, Once.