How to create dynamic objects

Edited

Overview

Dynamic objects allow you to transform text or URLs found in comments or messages into structured Orders, Shipments, Itineraries, Tasks etc. that are easy to access right from a conversation in Front.

Take a Front Academy course here to learn more about using dynamic objects.

Have questions? Ask them in our AMA in Front Community!


How it works

If a customer writes in to your team with a question that references a particular order, shipment, itinerary, task etc. a dynamic object can automatically extract that text or URL and other metadata, and highlight it in your conversation. Dynamic objects can be viewed in the following areas:

Conversation header

Dynamic objects are attached to the header of the conversation for easy access.

When attached to the conversation header, it’s easy to open the object in your external CRM/TMS/management system, or view details directly in Front.

Messages

Dynamic objects will be outlined in gray. Click the dynamic object to view the preview card.

Comments

Dynamic object preview cards will automatically display when referenced in comments.


Part 1: Initial setup

You must be a Front company admin to create dynamic objects.

Step 1

Click the gear icon in the top right of Front and then select the Developers tab from the left sidebar.

Step 2

Once in the Developers page, click the Create app button. You’ll be asked to provide a name for your app and a short description.

Step 3

Once you’ve created your app, click the Features tab and then click See all dynamic object configurations under the “Dynamic object configuration” card. You’ll be navigated to a page that lists all the dynamic objects for this app. Click Configure dynamic object to create a new one.

Step 4

Once in the configuration flow for a dynamic object, choose between matching against text patterns or URL patterns.

Depending on your choice, follow the appropriate instructions below. Note that you can create multiple dynamic objects for a single app.

Option 1: Text pattern

Follow these steps if you selected Transform text into dynamic objects.

Step 1

First, define the format for the text patterns the dynamic object should match against. This should be a combination of static characters and variables without any spaces. e.g. Use Invoice#[Digits] instead of Invoice #[Digits].

To determine the proper format, consider the types of text patterns you expect to see, and which parts of those patterns are static or dynamic (i.e. can change across instances of those patterns).

A few examples:

Example text patterns

Text pattern format

ORD-12, ORD-201, ORD-9023

ORD-[Digits]

#123, #493, #4930

#[Digits]

AB-123, FJ-392, K-594

[Letters]-[Digits]

Make sure your text pattern format is defined as strictly as possible to prevent unwanted matches. Examples:

  • If you know that a portion of your text pattern will always be digits, use the Digits variable instead of the Letters or digits variable.

  • If you know that a portion of your text pattern will always have a defined length (for example, exactly three digits), make sure you define the variable as such. You can click on a variable to set its length.

  • If you only want to extract dynamic objects from comments and not messages, expand the advanced options using the caret at the top right and select "Only identify text pattern in comments."

Step 2

Once you’ve defined your text pattern, you need to define the target URL Front should generate for patterns. The target URL should be generated using at least one of the variables you defined in Step 1. To determine the proper target URL, you should open an example of content you are looking to extract using a dynamic object, and determine how you can generate that URL using the text pattern from Step 1.

For example, let’s imagine you want to extract order IDs that look like “ORD-123”, and they live in your CRM at a URL like this: https://examplecrm.com/orders/ORD-123

In this case, in Step 1 you would have defined a text pattern like this: “ORD-[DIGITS]”. To generate the proper URL, you would use the “DIGITS1” variable generated by Step 1 in Step 2. This will ensure that whatever number is extracted for the particular order found in a message or comment is also used for the URL for that dynamic object.

The Target URL field will be used when a user selects the Open option in the dropdown of a particular dynamic object, or when clicking on a dynamic object preview in a comment.

Now that you’ve configured the text pattern and target URL, continue to Part 2: Configuring dynamic object previews.

Option 2: URL pattern

Follow these steps if you selected Transform URLs into dynamic objects.

Step 1

Find examples of the URL patterns you’d like to extract in comments or messages. These URLs most likely have a format that includes some static portion and a dynamic portion depending on the particular order/shipment/itinerary etc. that is being referenced.

For the purpose of this example, let’s imagine we’re dealing with URLs like https://examplecrm.com/orders/AB-123, where particular orders might have IDs like AB-123, BC-49, or ZA-499.

Step 2

Type the static portion of your URL into the URL pattern field, filling in any dynamic portions with variables using the “+” button. For our example, we would create a URL pattern like this:

The “Letters (Exactly 2)” variable will match “AB”, “BC”, “ZA” etc, and the “Digits” variable will match “123”, “49”, “499” etc. Note that you can click on a variable to set a specific length — in this case we’ve set the letters variable to a length of 2 because we know that our order format always starts with two letters. Always define your URL pattern with as strict rules as possible to prevent unwanted matches.

Once you’ve configured the URL pattern, continue to Part 2: Configuring dynamic object previews.


Part 2: Configuring dynamic object previews

Step 1

Once you’ve defined your pattern and URL, you can choose how generated dynamic objects will be previewed in the inbox view. By default, each preview includes a link, title, and description.

Add a title and description: Any variables you defined when setting up your text pattern or URL pattern will be available to use in the Title and Description fields.

Add custom fields: You can expand the dynamic object preview with important information by defining custom fields.

Additionally, you can populate these fields with third-party data by creating dynamic variables (Scale plan or above). See this article to learn more. If you’d like access, please contact your account manager.

In the example dynamic object below:

  • Title: ORD-12345

  • Description: Details for ORD-12345

  • Custom fields:

    • Customer: Jamie Saturn

    • Company: Acme

    • Priority: High

Step 2

Use the test sandbox to confirm that the preview works as you expect it to. If everything looks good, click Save. The dynamic object will begin to immediately operate on any new comments or messages in your Front instance.

Step 3

If you'd like to set an icon to be used for your dynamic objects, simply add an icon to the app you initially created by going to the Basic information tab of the app.


Part 3: Create dynamic object rule

Once a dynamic object has been created for an application, a rule is required to define when and where this application’s dynamic objects will be generated. A dynamic object can be generated in messages, comments, or both.

Step 1

To create a dynamic object rule, select Create a rule within the dynamic object configurations settings for an application.

Step 2

Select the company or workspace in which to generate your dynamic object. Select Go to rule to navigate to the auto-populated rule template.

This rule will allow you to dynamically configure when and where your dynamic objects will appear.

Step 3

Enter your preferred rule configuration for creating your application’s dynamic objects. Similar to other rules, you can define the triggers (when), conditions (if) and actions (then) of your rule. See this article to learn more.

If you're creating a company rule, dynamic objects will be generated for conversations located in any shared or individual inboxes.

If you're creating a workspace rule, dynamic objects will be generated for conversations located in the selected shared inboxes.

A common configuration is to trigger the rule whenever inbound messages are received or a comment is added to a conversation.

If the conversation is in the inboxes that the dynamic object should apply to, you may specify the creation of one or multiple dynamic objects to apply. Use the dropdown for Create dynamic objects rule action to define this behavior.

Step 4

Click Create rule to complete the rule configuration. A new "Create dynamic objects" rule will populate in the relevant rule list.

A dynamic objects rule can be adjusted or deactivated at any time. However, a rule is required for an application’s dynamic objects to appear in conversations.


Copying and pasting dynamic objects

Many messages will include multiple IDs of interest that you may need to copy and paste one by one. You can easily view and multi-select dynamic objects within a message to copy and paste much more efficiently.

Hover over a dynamic object to quickly copy it, or select multiple dynamic objects using Cmd+click on Mac or Ctrl+click on Windows to copy them.


FAQ

What conversations or comments do dynamic objects apply to?

Dynamic objects automatically operate against all conversations and comments, including in shared and individual inboxes.

Do dynamic objects operate on historical comments or messages?

No, they only operate on new comments or new messages created after the dynamic object is configured.

Can dynamic objects extract content from message subjects as well as message bodies?

Yes. By default, the Identify text pattern in messages and comments option is selected during the setup process. This allows matching text patterns or URL patterns in subjects or bodies of messages to be extracted.

What happens if I delete a dynamic object? Will objects previously created by it also get deleted?

If you delete a dynamic object, any objects created by it in the past will not be automatically deleted, but no new objects will be extracted or previewed.

How many custom fields can I add to a dynamic object?

You can add up to 50 custom fields per dynamic object.


Pricing

Dynamic objects are available on the latest Growth plan or above. See additional details about pricing of certain dynamic object features below:

Feature

Growth plan

Scale plan

Premier plan

Transform text patterns or URL patterns into dynamic objects

Create dynamic objects with third-party data*

*Customers on the Scale plan or above can further enhance their dynamic objects. For example, an order found in a message could be enriched with the status of that order pulled from a CRM or TMS, all without writing any code. See this article to learn more.