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Scheduling Workflows

Sometimes, we need a workflow to run on a regular cadence. For such use cases we can use the Scheduler functionality that is provided by Conductor. Using a crontab expression, we can configure workflows to be triggered at any cadence as required.

We can use the scheduler for use cases such as:

  • Running a workflow in a fixed cadence such as every hour
  • Running the same workflow at different cadences using different fixed inputs
  • Running a workflow at a cadence between a fixed start date and end date
  • Running the workflow once at a future date

Creating a Schedule

Conductor offers a configuration UI to create and manage a schedule. Alternatively we can create one via the API.

UI Schedule Creation

To create a schedule, click Scheduler Definitions in the left navigation. This will display a list of all of our defined schedules. Click the Define Schedule button in the upper right corner. Fill in the form with the following parameters:

  • Schedule Name: A descriptive term for the schedule being created (will appear in the Schedule Definitions list). (No spaces or special characters)
  • Cron Expression: The schedule that the workflow will run on (see Cron Expression below.)
  • Workflow Name: The name of the workflow to be run. The author of the schedule should have execution permission for the workflow
  • Workflow Version: The version of the workflow. If left blank, the latest version will be run.
  • Input Parameters: Any fixed input values for the workflow as a JSON object (optional)
  • Correlation Id:
  • Schedule Start: Time/date that the schedule will start running (optional) (inclusive)
  • Schedule End: Time/date that the schedule will stop running (optional) (inclusive)
  • Task to Domain Mapping: (optional)
  • Schedule Paused: If selected, the schedule will be paused (so it will not run) upon creation

API Schedule Creation

To create a schedule via API, the endpoint is api/scheduler/schedules.

Send a POST with

  • cronExpression
  • name
  • paused (optional)
  • scheduleEndTime (optional)
  • scheduleStartTime (optional)
  • startWorkflowRequest (JSON)
    • name
    • version (optional)
    • input (JSON of workflow input values) (optional)
    • correlationId (optional)
    • taskToDomain (optional)

An example API call (using the Orkes Playground) looks like:

curl -i -X "POST" ""  \
-H 'Content-Type: application/json; charset=utf-8' \
-H 'X-Authorization: <authorization token>' \
-d '{
"name": "api_scheduler_test",
"cronExpression": "0 0 12 6 * ?",
"startWorkflowRequest": {
"name": "<WORKFLOW_NAME>",
"input": {
"digits": 10

Note: If using Orkes Conductor or the Orkes Playground, our API call must be authenticated, and our application must have execute permissions for the workflow in question.

Cron expression

The UI has a Cron Expression Helper to describe the options of the Cron expression. We can also test our expression after entering it - and the UI will calculate the next few times of the schedule.

The CRON expression has 6 terms, and a blank entry is denoted by an asterisk.

* * * * * *

The terms, in order left to right define the timings:

  • Second: Allowed values: 0-59
  • Minute: Allowed values: 0-59
  • Hour: Allowed values: 0-23
  • Day of Month: (1-31)
  • Month: (1-12 or Jan-Dec)
  • Day of Week: (0-7 or MON-SUN) [0 & 7 are Sunday]

There are a number of examples on the definition page we can use as an aid to set the schedule.

Macros are also supported when setting a schedule

@yearly (or @annually)once a year (0 0 0 1 1 *)
@monthlyonce a month (0 0 0 1 * *)
@weeklyonce a week (0 0 0 * * 0)
@daily (or @midnight)once a day (0 0 0 * * *)
@hourlyonce an hour, (0 0 * * * *)

Things to Note

  • The schedules are all based on UTC timezone
  • The scheduler supports up to a second granularity - however this is on a best effort basis. A minimum of a 30 seconds gap is recommended as the cadence for workflow schedules
  • We can have multiple schedules invoking the same workflow
  • Execution history is maintained up to a configured maximum limit (default of 1000 executions per schedule)
  • When running a very large number of schedules, we need to tune the configurations to configure the server
  • When the workflow is invoked, it will have the following field injected as input automatically
"_executedTime": <EPOCH EXECUTED TIME>,
"_startedByScheduler": "<SCHEDULER NAME>",
"_executionId": "<EXECUTION ID>",
"_scheduledTime": <EPOCH SCHEDULED TIME>