How-to guides

How to modify automations already running

Automations can be updated, improved and changed even when they are running if a few rules are followed.

Each automation instance is represented by a model instance of models.AutomationModel. For each task that is executed an instance of models.AutomationTaskModel is created. For each unfinished automation there is at least one unfinished task. If the automations contains Split() nodes there might be more than one unfinished task. Typically these tasks are waiting either for a user interaction, a condition to become true, or until a certain amount of time passes.

This implies that it is always possible to add nodes to the automation. New nodes will be executed as soon as an previous task is finished and the automation pointer moves forward to the new node.

Also, it is possible to change existing nodes. However, this will only affect automation instances that have not yet processed the node. This leaves a record for the automations where the same node name corresponds to a different task and may render evaluation of automation results difficult.


Nodes can only be removed from an automation if no instance is pointing to that node. Since this is difficult to guarantee the following process ensures integrity.

Hence, to remove a node from an automation with existing instances follow this process:

  1. Change the node you want to remove from an automation to flow.Execute() without any modifiers. This is a no-operation.

  2. Run ./ automation_step. This causes all automation instances with an open task at the node you want to delete to process the no-op and move to the next task.

  3. Remove the node. Removing is safe now since an automation instance coming to the node immediately will execute to no-op and move to the next task.