How to Use Observers to Monitor Data Flows

The Problem with Error Log Notifications

While there are several actions that can be used in Instalink to directly alert an administrator to an issue with a data flow, such as "Respond with Error", "Send to URL", or "Send Message", there are situations where receiving a direct notification on service errors may not be ideal. For example, imagine a data flow where the administrator receives an email every time a call fails to send to an external API. This may initially seem to be an intuitive way to set up error notifications. However, the problem quickly becomes evident when the external API goes down and returns an error for each request. Indeed, a user may receive thousands of emails during a service outage if a data flow is set up to send an email to an administrator on every occurrence of a logged error.

Sending a notification on the error log should be used only in situations where the error is expected to be encountered infrequently.

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Instalink Release Notes 1.13.0

New Features in 1.13.0 include:

Improved user interface for forms making it obvious whether or not a form submission was successful or not.Error response emails can now be delivered to the subscribers of a topic rather than a single email address.A new process flow action for delivering email and SMS messages to the subscribers of a topic.Items within a queue may be cancelled so that they will not be processed.An option was added to the "FTPS" action to skip validation of the server's SSL certificate.An options was added to "Listen" actions to automatically generate the necessary CORS headers and endpoints for accessing URLs in the browser.

Bug Fixes in 1.13.0 include:

The "prevent duplicates" feature for process queue items has been fixed.A problem where entering certain invalid URL strings into the "Send To URL" and "FTPS" actions could cause a processor to crash has been fixed.

Other changes in 1.13.0 include:

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Custom Script Basics

Instalink offers an extensive library of custom data transformation functions that can be used to change input data from one format to another. There is thorough documentation of these transforms on Be sure to check out the transform documentation if you have any questions about the specifics of the behavior of the transforms.

These transforms can also be used within custom transform scripts to create custom behavior. This post is intended to be a quick overview of how scripts work in Instalink and how to create custom behaviors for your transformations.

It is important to note that the scripting syntax isn't actually a full-fledged programming language. So it's not analogous to ECMA design patterns like javascript or C. It is intended to be more similar to Excel spreadsheet functions. So Instalink scripting follows a similar design pattern to how someone would write transforms on table data in a spreadsheet as that was initially our target audience for this software.

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Progress Tracking and Live Logs

Instalink 1.12.0 includes advanced static logs, progress tracking, and real-time account level monitoring of specific requests and their statuses. Static inbound call logs can still be viewed by going to the logs page. The new real-time logs feature can be accessed in two ways. You may click on the "Real-Time Logs" link from the account menu to view all processes currently running on an account. You may also go to any CRON or LISTEN action and click on "Real-Time Logs" to view live logs only for that specific action.

The following statistics have been added to Static Inbound Logs:

success countinfo counterror countitem countprogress percentagetime elapsed.

Live Logs include the following statistics:

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Instalink Release Notes 1.11.0


New features in Instalink version 1.11.0 include:

Syntax highlighting for "Transform Data" custom scripts.The ARRAY_SUB scripting operation no longer requires an end index.New DECODE_XML scripting operation to parse XML stringsNew ISO_COUNTRY and ISO_SUBDIVISION scripting operations for looking up ISO codes for places.Updated the way in which process queue data values are stored to increase performance. (For now, accounts must individually opt-in to the new process format until the old format is officially deprecated at a later date)Added support for the Secure File Transfer ProtocolAllow GET and HEAD requests to send an HTTP bodyAdded the ability to securely store project-level secrets such as SSH keys

Bug fixes in 1.11.0 include:

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Instalink Tutorial 4: Decision Logic

How to Add Conditionals to Your Data Flow

In the previous tutorial, "How to Process and Transform Data", you learned how to take input information, manipulate it, and store it in your data flow's memory. In this tutorial you'll learn how to tell your process to make data flow decisions based on the information in your process data.

Topics covered:

The CHECK DATA actionConditionsHow to utilize IF / THEN / ELSE data flows

Let's Check our Data

Often your processes will require the ability to perform an action only if certain requirements are met. That is where the "Check Data" action comes in. This action allows the process to perform subsequent actions depending on if the data in the process matches the supplied criteria. The check data will always execute subsequent IF actions when the data matches the criteria. It will always run subsequent ELSE actions when the data does not meet the conditions.

With that quick explanation out of the way, let's add our first Check Data action.

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Brand New Instalink Website

Instalink has a new website! Check it out at

We've simplified the website and made it easier to find information concerning the service and how to sign up for a free trial. We've also added new scripting documentation with better explanations and examples.

We'll be adding more documentation and help articles soon.

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