Bulk Task Smasher: Best practices for use

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When using Bulk Task Smasher, follow these best practices to help mitigate the risk of accidentally making unwanted changes to your Uberflip account.


 

Best practice 1: Set up permissions

Bulk Task Smasher comes with a permissions system that you can use to control who can access the app, and even which functionality within the app they have access to. We recommend setting up your permissions so that:

  • Access to the app is restricted to only trusted users
  • Users who have access to the app can only use the capabilities they need and have been trained on

For more details about setting up Bulk Task Smasher's permissions, see Bulk Task Smasher: Configure permissions to control access to app features.

 

Best practice 2: Always do a test run first

Before running any size of job in Bulk Task Smasher, always do a test run involving just a few instances of the target resource first.

For example, say you want to update five hundred Items. First, run the exact same job on just five of the Items, then check that those five test Items were updated as expected before proceeding. This gives you the opportunity to find and fix any issues with your job template before they can impact hundreds of Items.

 

Best practice 3: Double-check your job templates

After building your job template, always run through it to again to check for problems before you upload it to Bulk Task Smasher (ideally, have a second person review the job template to catch anything you might have missed).

Likewise, double-check the file name when selecting the job template file you're uploading to Bulk Task Smasher: since the file names of different job template files can be very similar, it's easy to pick the wrong one by mistake.

As a final check, use the preview that appears in Bulk Task Smasher after uploading a file to verify that you have the correct file, and that the data it contains is correct.

 

Best practice 4: Run an Export action before running any Update action

Mistakes made with the Update bulk actions in Bulk Task Smasher can be the most devastating: these actions affect the existing resources in your Uberflip account, and there is no "undo" button to reverse them.

However, you can (and should) set yourself up with a backup plan for Update actions by always running a corresponding Export action first. For example, if you want to update a number of Streams with the Update Streams action, you should first run the Export Streams action. The export file will contain a record of the state of your account before you ran the Update action, which gives you a way to recover to that state in case there is a problem with the outcome of the Update action.

Make sure to keep the "backup" export file in a safe place, and don't delete it until you're sure that the Update action had the desired results!

 

Best practice 5: Only include essential headers and remove all unchanged data when using Populated Templates

When you run an Update bulk action in Bulk Task Smasher, you have the option of downloading a Populated Template, which is pre-populated with relevant data from your Uberflip account. This makes it easy to make changes, since you can just edit the existing data, rather than having to re-enter it.

Whenever you use a Populated Template as the basis for your job template, you should always:

  • Select only headers for data you want to update when configuring the Populated Template download. For example, if you want to run an Update Items action to update various Item descriptions, select the header for description when configuring the job template download, but do not select headers for data you don't want to update, such as title, author_id, canonical_url, etc.
  • Remove any pre-populated data from the job template that you did not change before you upload the file to Bulk Task Smasher. Make sure to remove any data that was pre-populated in the job template if you did not make any changes to that data. In the previous example, if you edited the descriptions for Item 1, Item 2, and Item 3, but not for Item 5 and Item 6, remove the lines representing Item 5 and Item 6 from the job template.

The reason for these practices is that Bulk Task Smasher will process everything that's included in a job template — even if there is no difference from what already exists in the account

Since Populated Templates will include pre-populated data for all the headers you select for every instance of the respective resource (e.g. for every Stream, every Item, etc.), all of this data will be used to update the corresponding fields, settings, etc. in Uberflip, even if there is no "real" change to be made.

For most types of resources, the primary negative effect of this is that it slows down the processing of your bulk action (as Bulk Task Smasher still has to process all of the unnecessary updates). For Items specifically, there is an additional, potentially unwanted side effect: "updates" where no actual change is made will still change the published date of the Item. As a result, it's always best to exclude/remove any unchanged data when using a Populated Template.

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