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What is flow direction?

Say you build a flow that syncs a Trello board with a Jira project. By default, Unito will create new work items and keep them updated in both tools. That means creating a Trello card will create a new Jira issue, and vice-versa. Both work items will be kept updated, no matter where changes are made. This is a two-way flow.

Now maybe you only want information to travel in one direction, from Trello to Jira. You can customize your flow to make it a one-way flow.

Flow direction is our term for this setting. A two-way flow syncs information back and forth, a one-way flow only syncs it one way. Flow direction is the difference between them.

Changing flow direction for work item creation

Your flows will automatically create a new work item in one tool to match what you've created in the other. By default, this happens both ways. That's why when you get to the flow direction screen, you'll see the double arrow option highlighted.

With this setting, when you create a work item in tool A, Unito creates one in tool B, and vice-versa. To change this, just click on the left- or right-facing arrow. That's all it takes to set up a one-way flow! Now, new work items will only be created in tool B to keep it in sync with tool A. You can switch the direction so new work items are only created in tool A instead.

Changing flow direction for updates

Unito maps most fields by default. Some of them will sync in both directions by default, while others only go one way.

Changing flow direction for a specific field mapping is as simple as doing it on the block level. But at this level, what you're controlling is how changes are synced across tools. So in a two-way mapping, all changes made in one tool will be reflected in the other, and vice-versa. In a one-way mapping, changes will only be synced from one tool to the other, not back. All you've got to do to change this is click on the option that represents the flow direction you need.

Changing flow direction for field mappings doesn't affect work item creation. It only affects the direction in which updates will flow. So you can have a two-way flow, but map attachments to only sync in one direction, for example.

A note on flow direction

With most fields, you can choose between setting up a two-way or one-way mapping. However, some fields can only be synced in one direction, while others are limited to two-way mappings. In some cases, this is due to a technical limitation. In others, this is inherent to the nature of the field.

For example, you might set up a mapping between the Description field in Trello and the Attachments field in Asana. When syncing from Asana to Trello, the attachments will be represented by links in card descriptions in Trello. However, since there's no real benefit in syncing the description back to Asana attachments, you can't use a two-field mapping in this case.

What is a one-way create, two-way update flow?

Because you can change flow direction for both work item creation and updates, you can make what's called a one-way create, two-way update flow. With this flow, Unito will only create work items in one tool, but any changes made to that new work item will be copied to the original tool.

Let's take that Trello-Jira example from before.

In a two-way flow, creating Trello cards will create new Jira issues and vice-versa. Any changes made to the Jira issue will be replicated in Trello, and changes in Trello happen in Jira. With me so far?

Now say you make a one-way create, two-way update flow, with one-way work item creation going from Trello to Jira. If you create a new Trello card, this flow will work pretty closely to a two-way flow. You'll get a new Jira issue, and changes made on either side will be reflected in the other tool.

But when you create a Jira issue, it won't become a Trello card. Any changes made to that Jira issue won't do anything to your Trello board either.

That's the essence of it. With a one-way create, two-way update flow, you can keep the influx of new work items going just one way, while updates can still go back and forth.

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