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Last Updated:Oct 30, 2023

This topic describes the basics of Flow Definition Language (FDL) and related examples.


FDL is used to describe and define business logic. When a flow is executed, the Serverless workflow service executes steps in sequence based on the flow definition. In FDL, a flow usually contains several steps. These steps can be simple atomic steps, such as task, succeed, fail, wait, and pass steps, or complex control steps, such as choice, parallel, and foreach steps. These steps can be combined to build complex business logic. For example, a branch of a parallel step may be a series of serial steps. Errors may occur in the execution of steps, but FDL provides the retry and catch capabilities.

Steps in FDL are similar to functions in programming languages, and a combination of steps is similar to function calls. Data is passed between steps through input and output. Local variables are used to store data of steps. If a step contains another step, the outer step is called a parent step, and the included step is called a child step.

When you define a flow, you can perform the following operations:
  • Build the basic structure of the placeholder planning flow with pass steps.
  • Call functions of the Function Compute service with task steps.
  • Suspend the flow for a period of time with wait steps.
  • Define different execution paths with choice steps.
  • Terminate a flow in advance with succeed or fail steps.
  • Execute multiple branches in parallel with parallel steps.
  • Process array data in parallel with foreach steps.

A flow contains the following attributes:

  • version: Required. The flow version. Only v1 is supported.
  • type: Required. The flow type.
  • steps: Required. Multiple serial steps in a flow. When a step is executed successfully, the next step starts. To stop a flow in advance, you can use the end attribute or execute a succeed or fail step.
  • inputMappings: Optional. The input mappings. The $input referenced in the input mappings is the Input parameter in a StartExecution API request.
  • outputMappings: Optional. The output mappings. The $local referenced in the output mappings is a JSON object that records the execution result of each serial step.
    Note If no output mappings are specified, $local is used as the final flow output.
  • timeoutSeconds: Optional. The timeout period of a flow. If the flow execution duration exceeds the specified timeout period, the flow times out.


  • The following sample flow consists of a task step that calls a function of Function Compute:
    version: v1
    type: flow
      - type: task
        name: hello
        resourceArn: acs:fc:{region}:{accountID}:services/fnf_test/functions/hello      
  • The following sample flow consists of two steps (step1 and step4), in which step1 contains two child steps (step2 and step3).
    version: v1
    type: flow
      - type: parallel
        name: step1
          - steps:
            - type: pass
              name: step2
          - steps:
            - type: pass
              name: step3
      - type: pass
        name: step4       


For more information about FDL features, see the following topics: