Workflows, Actions and Runs

Ryax is more than just a tool; it is a complete framework to develop, deploy, and maintain backends. To do so, Ryax proposes a paradigm. To fully understand the framework, in this section we will go through the main concepts in Ryax: workflows, triggers, actions and runs.

Workflow overview

The above is a snapshot of a workflow. A workflow is a chain of conputational steps that can serve diverse purposes. Each of the subsequent numbered boxes are called actions. These are the units of computation that take some inputs (or none at all), and can produce outputs. Linking multiple actions together gives us a workflow.

Workflows are:

  • a set of linked actions.

  • without any loops; they are Directed Acyclic Graphs (DAGs).

  • data streams; the outputs of any given action are accessible to every downstream action.

There are 2 types of actions:

  • Triggers are the actions that ingest data from the outside world or are triggered by any internal or external event and will begin the run of a workflow. They are long-running processes responsable for triggering new workflow runs. For example, a trigger can start a new run every day at 6 pm; or every time that an email arrives in a given mailbox.

  • Actions are stateless processes that compute things. They ingest data from upstream through their inputs and produce outputs which are added to the stream and can be used doenstream.

An action computing some data is called a run. In Ryax, a run holds everything related to it: the input data, the output data, the logs, etc.

Creating a Ryax workflow

To create a Ryax workflow, answer these questions:

  1. What triggers the workflow? Many events in the outside world may trigger a Ryax workflow. It can be an email, a new file in a file share, submission of an online form, a new contact in a CRM or some IoT data, for example.

  2. Who needs the results of the workflow? What are the tools they can access? For instance, a salesperson may need this data to be attached to the company profiles in a CRM, or predictive maintenance results may need to be accessed by managers to plan actions and by workers to perform the recommended actions.

  3. What data do you need to be able to run the required computations? Where do you gather it? In what formats do they come?

  4. Are my computations done in several steps? Are there some steps that I can reuse in other workflows? Can I salvage actions from prior workflows?

The first question helps define triggers. The second one is for actions. Finally, 3 and 4 help define re-usable actions.