According to this table the workflow only deals with single if/then statements (scroll down about 1 screen length): https://developer.salesforce.com/trailhead/en/force_com_admin_intermediate/business_process_automation/process_whichtool

Is that table misleading? I know that a workflow can have multiple workflow rules ... each with it's own if/then ... so it can handle complex branching arguments, yes? I have in my notes that Workflow is the better Business Process Automation tool at complex branching arguments, compared to Visual Workflow ... which doesn't seem to be the case based on the table.

Just trying to make sense of the table ... seems misleading.

  • It's a salesforce table, made by salesforce, and part of the training (trailhead) for salesforce users, so it isn't "Opinion-Based". They test you on it and if you don't get it right you don't get certified - so again, not opinion. The question is "Am I right in my interpretation of what that table means". What is it that Salesforce is saying. Not their opinion, but what I have to know to pass the certification and implement business process automation as needed.
    – davea0511
    Jul 20 '16 at 12:51
  • 1
    You have asked partly if the table is misleading, which is 100% opinion based. You have separately asked if a Workflow Rule is better at handling complex logic than a Flow, which the table probably got right, and is also quite broad. Also what do you even mean by a workflow can have multiple workflow rules?
    – Adrian Larson
    Jul 20 '16 at 12:52
  • I know that a workflow can have multiple workflow rules ... each with it's own if/then ... so it can handle complex branching arguments, yes? You then have to create multiple rules for that whereas it could be done in a single flow. If another Admin takes a look at the purpose of the Workflows or at the Flow, it is much easier to determine the purpose of the Flow rather than all of the Workflows that relate together.
    – dphil
    Jul 20 '16 at 13:45
  • My bad. Apparently my definition (I plead the newbie 5th) of "workflow" was wrong. There is apparently no such thing as "a workflow", only workflow rules you could setup using the "workflow" tool. I was using it as if you would create a number of rules to achieve complicated branching that as a whole could be called a "workflow", which it seems nobody would call it that. Newbie rants I'm sure are tedious ... but the naming conventions within the process automation are dumb ... like why does "Flow" only mean Visual Workflow. Anyway ... sorry. Table is right, I'm wrong. Check.
    – davea0511
    Jul 20 '16 at 19:54

The table deals with a "single stance" of the features. And it is somehow advocating for the visual workflow.

The main point is that Workflows are great but for complex structures you'll need a whole bunch of them and might need to use other tools (triggers, for example). And they all happen "at the same time" meaning you need to be really careful with you entry criteria.

Visual workflow might be an overkill for simple stuff, but it allows for far greater control. You can design the application like a fluxogram with a single visual workflow. For complex structures it gives you more options and flexibility. The only downside is that it doesn't start on it's own. You need to call it (via button, process, apex or screen) .

  • Thanks, Yeah, I'm also getting the feeling that maybe within Salesforce company there might be internal code teams vying for relevance. It's like they created competing internal teams to drive innovation, and couldn't bring themselves to do the next painful step: pick a winner and move all features to that. Now any suggestion asking "which is better for this" is not allowed, like my question was because it's a threat to the other solutions. Happens to companies when they get flush with $, like Salesforce is.
    – davea0511
    Jul 20 '16 at 13:05
  • I've also heard the 'it's overkill for simple stuff' regarding Visual Workflow or Process Builder ... but what does that mean? I mean yes, there is more capability there, but using it to do a simple thing isn't costing anything more than using Workflow, right? I'd say having multiple tools to do the same thing is more overkill than one tool that does everything.
    – davea0511
    Jul 20 '16 at 13:16
  • Overkill only happens when you use, not with options. Let's say you have a Ferrari and a Prius at home and you need to go grocery shopping. You use the Prius. Using the Ferrari is overkill. Can you use the Ferrari? Of course. Do you need to? I'd say no. But that's opinion-based. hehehe Jul 20 '16 at 13:18
  • Not opinion-based. EWitehr there's a penalty for using Visual Workflow or there is not. Is there a penalty for using Visual Workflow (there is with using a Ferrari to go shopping - risk of scratch, harder to park than a Prius). If not penalty then it is at a minimum just as correct of a tool to use if it does the same thing with no penalty ... not overkill (which suggests "less good" or not preferred).
    – davea0511
    Jul 20 '16 at 13:35
  • Oh. We have different meanings for overkill. I use it here just as "much more power than what's required" (no connection to downsides) not for "too much trouble for a simple task" Jul 20 '16 at 13:43

Salesforce provides multiple tools to automate your organization’s repetitive business processes: Approvals, Process Builder, Workflow, and Visual Workflow.

Which Automation Tool Do I Use?

You can use the Process Builder to perform more actions than with workflow:

  • Create a record
  • Update any relatedrecord
  • Use a quick action to create a record, update a record, or log a call
  • Launch a flow
  • Send an email
  • Post to Chatter
  • Submit for approval
  • Call apex methods

Workflow does only 4 actions

  • Create Task
  • Update Field
  • Email Alert
  • Outbound Message

You can do everything you can do with workflows using process builder as well, except for sending outbound messages with point&click. With process builder, you can also update all child records starting from the parent record, which is not possible with workflows (only vice versa is possible using cross object field updates).

  • Kind of makes me wonder why they don't add the outbound message capability to Process Builder and deprecate the Workflow (still leave it there for legacy purposes though).
    – davea0511
    Jul 20 '16 at 12:46
  • According to the table both you and I linked to, Process Builder and Workflow handle if/then branching differently. Since Workflow uses multiple workflow-rules per workflow doesn't that difference go away? Again ... it's that darn table ... confuses me.
    – davea0511
    Jul 20 '16 at 12:56

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