There are changes happening to the way Trello can be used for automated business processes.
With a Power-Up in Trello, one can add additional features and integrations to 3rd party tools that can turn a Trello board into an application, tailored to individual needs and allowing workflows to happen that save time or add additional control. Butler for Trello was known as the best tool to create automated processes within Trello boards. With Butler’s acquisition by Trello in December 2018, its flagship tool — the Butlerbot — was transformed into a Power-Up, making the feature of creating workflows available to every Trello user. But more importantly, allowing a deeper and more secure integration into Trello.
Butler is easy to use as it uses plain English language to create commands that relieve Trello users of countless manual tasks. But it is much more than that since it has features under its belt that cannot even be executed manually in a Trello board. Being able to concatenate several actions, the most interesting and meaningful workflows could be created. Now, that the ButlerBot is being phased out, its commands have to be transferred over to the Butler Power-Up. This migration that many early adopters of Butler for Trello are facing now is the matter of this article.
The ButlerBot is Past
The support for the ButlerBot is not guaranteed in the future.
However, it has been communicated that it is the clear intention to enable all the same functionality in the Power-Up and to minimize any possible disruptions to users.
If you are a ButlerBot user and cannot find a way to migrate all of your commands just now, you can already begin to migrate those that the Power-Up does have the functionality for. This is because both tools can run on the same board(s).
What’s different in the Butler Power-Up
From a neutral perspective, there are a few things to mention that are different in the Butler Power-Up.
1 The Power-Up integrates better into a Trello board. The ButlerBot was basically an external user added to the board, and the commands executed were executed by this external user. Particularly businesses have seen this critical as it turned out to raise security concerns. But also for Trello itself, this was an issue: because of one user was added to thousands of boards, Trello’s infrastructure got challenged.
2Commands created with the ButlerBot were visible in the board and could potentially be modified or deleted by any board member. It’s not hard to see that this can a sensitive issue for the created workflows, particularly if someone doesn’t know what s/he is doing. The Power-Up is better integrated and not every board member can automatically access the Power-Up’s commands.
3The user interface in which commands can be created in the Power-Up is similar to the command builder that could be used with the ButlerBot.
Having been an avid user of the ButlerBot myself, four out of 5 commands I created in free text. Once you had a feeling for a command’s syntax, this was just quick and handy. The Butler Power-Up doesn’t currently allow any free text command setup, but I have read somewhere that it is worked on to have this possibility added to it.
4There are a variety of actions that can be used for custom fields (Custom Fields Power-Up), that the ButlerBot did not have available. So, if you are using (or intending to use) custom fields extensively, the Butler Power-Up is your tool-to-go.
5The method of linking cards is different. Previously, the default method of linking two (or more) cards in Trello, was in the description section of a card. With the Butler Power-Up, the default way of linking cards is now in the attachments section of a Trello card.
6The problem known as “command chaining” that many newbie users have run into with the ButlerBot. Command chaining refers to the ability of one command triggering the execution of another command. With the ButlerBot this wasn’t possible. There were a number of workarounds, one of them creating real long-tailed command sequences. One side effect was that the command got harder to read and difficult to debug. With the Butler Power-Up, this problem is now obsolete, making the creation of beautiful workflows even easier.
From a more expectation-driven perspective, there are a number of features that we will hopefully see to be added to the Butler Power-Up soon.
One of these features are Dashcards, visual counter cards that can trace a different kind of numbers on a board.
They come in very handy in dashboards, but in general, are an immense little helper for spotting important board developments (like the number of overdue cards on a board, the number of cards in specific lists, etc).
Another, more advanced feature that is not available in the Power-Up, yet, are if/else statements. With if/else statements one can create highly sophisticated workflows with nested conditions.
And of course, to have the free text feature would be absolutely awesome!
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How to migrate your ButlerBot commands to the Butler Power-Up
There is currently no way to automatically transfer the Bot-commands to the Power-Up.
But nevertheless, sooner or later you will have to do this since it has already clearly been communicated that the ButlerBot is being phased out and its support is not guaranteed in the future.
How to move on?
I’d recommend you enable the Butler Power-Up on each board on which you have had the ButlerBot invited into and begin to recreate — one after one — the commands within the Butler Power-Up.
Both tools can run on the same boards. This definitely helps in the migration process.
For those commands that you cannot find an equivalent trigger or action sequence in the Power-Up, you leave them as they are — for the moment.
The Butler Power-Up is in the process of being improved and new features are added over time. In March 2019 I noticed a lot of new actions added, which allowed me to migrate a number of workflows which I had “on hold”.
If you come across a missing action sequence or spot a potential improvement for yourself and others, you can always send off a feature request to let the developers know what it is you need in order to fully switch your commands to the Butler Power-Up.
If you like what you read, please give me clap 👏 or two. Thanks!
Want to learn more? Check out my blog to find more resources for creating workflows with Butler for Trello.