Exporting and importing flows

You can share event-driven or API flows with other App Connect users who want to configure identical or similar integrations. Flows are shared using App Connect’s export/import functions.

To share a flow, you must first export it from the Dashboard:

  • When you export an event-driven flow, the exported configuration is saved in a YAML file, which other users can then import into the same or a different App Connect on IBM Cloud instance.
  • When you export an API flow, you can choose to export the configuration in one of two ways:
    • As a YAML file that can be imported into the same or a different App Connect on IBM Cloud instance, or into an App Connect Designer instance within a containerized environment such as IBM Cloud Pak for Integration.

      For information about using a YAML file to import an API flow into an App Connect Designer instance in a containerized environment, see Importing an API flow.

    • As a BAR file that can be deployed into an App Connect containerized environment as an integration server. For more information, see Deploying IBM App Connect Designer APIs to integration servers in the App Connect Enterprise documentation.

You can't modify an exported YAML file before you import it. You can modify the flow in the flow or API editor after you've imported it.

For information about exporting and importing YAML files, see:

Exporting a flow

To share a flow or to deploy the flow to a different App Connect instance, you must first export it from the Dashboard. When you export a flow, all its configuration settings, other than your connection details for the integrating apps, are preserved in the exported definition.

To export a flow, complete the following steps:

  1. From the Dashboard in App Connect Designer, locate the event-driven or API flow, open its menu, and then click the Export option. The flow can be in a Stopped or Running state. The following example shows the menu for an event-driven flow.
    Tip: Avoid exporting flows with an Incomplete status or configuration errors that will need to be investigated after an import. Errors that are related to your account credentials for example, do not have an effect on the exported flow.
  2. If you are exporting an API flow, select the type of configuration that you want to export, and then click Export.
    • Design-time flow asset (YAML): Click this option to export the flow as a YAML file that can be subsequently imported into any App Connect Designer instance in a cluster, or into an App Connect on IBM Cloud instance.
    • Runtime flow asset (BAR): Click this option to export the flow as a BAR file that can be subsequently deployed into an App Connect containerized environment as an integration server.

      To export an API flow as a BAR file, the flow must meet a set of export requirements. For information about the considerations for exporting a flow, and the supported and unsupported components for export, see Export guidelines.

  3. If you are prompted, choose to save the file, which is named after your flow by default, flow name.yaml or flow_name.bar; for example, Create an incident.yaml. (For a BAR file, spaces in the flow name are replaced with underscores.) Depending on your browser, the file might also be automatically downloaded to the download location that’s configured for your browser.

Sharing an exported flow

You can make the exported file available to other users in a variety of ways. For example, you can copy the file to a network file system directory or use other methods like email. You can also upload the file to a server with a public HTTP or HTTPS URL.

Restriction: The URL must point to a public network that anyone can freely connect to without login credentials; for example, a public GitHub repository or GitHub Pages site.

If the file is hosted on a public GitHub repository, ensure that you provide the "raw" URL for sharing. To do so, navigate to the .yaml file location; for example:


Then click Raw to obtain the "raw" URL; for example:

Note: If using IBM Cloud Pak for Integration, you can also share your flows by adding them as assets to the Asset Repository, which provides a centralized location for storing, managing, and sharing integration assets across capabilities. For more information, see Creating and reusing assets in the Asset Repository.

Importing a flow

You can import event-driven or API flows from other users, or from another App Connect environment; for example, from a test to a production environment. You import flows using .yaml files that contain an exported flow’s definition.

You can also import flows from the App Connect Templates gallery, which provides a collection of pre-built end-to-end flows of real-world use cases.

For more information about importing flows, see Developing with IBM App Connect Designer / Starting from templates and imports.