OpenFn v2 ⚡ is here! See the future of OpenFn's workflow builder.

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Lightning strikes! OpenFn v2 is released!

Announcing the new and improved version of OpenFn, Lightning! The latest iteration of our globally adopted open-source Workflow Automation platform, packed with powerful new features and improvements.

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Taylor Downs

Founder, CEO


Feb 22, 24

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On behalf of the core team at OpenFn I’m incredibly excited to announce the release of OpenFn v2: Lightning! We’ve been serving the non-profit/government sector since OpenFn v1 went live in 2014, and Lightning, our latest version, is 100% open-source and based on years of feedback from our customers and community.

Lightning brings a totally new visual workflow builder to lower the technical barrier to data integration, a streamlined history management system to ensure you properly handle every business-critical request, a faster workflow engine to reach greater scale, and a host of new security and compliance features redesigned to better fit the needs of the social sector.

Just like before, most customers still use our secure & scalable “software as a service” offering but we’ve also seriously enhanced our open-source “host-it-yourself” pathway. With full control over the solutions you build and where you host them, Lightning opens the door to endless possibilities.

New Features and Improvements

The visual workflow builder

Our new Visual Workflow Builder reduces the technical barrier for data integration, allowing you to easily add and remove Steps from a Workflow, create conditional Paths, and test workflows all in a familiar style.

On top of that, we’ve rethought our code editor and debugging interface giving you more functionality and features, making workflow development and testing a breeze.

Finally, we’re delivering greater transparency to our partners through the new interface. It’s far easier for non-technical users to see exactly which apps are being connected, what data moves across services, and how frequently it happens.

Build workflows visually
Build workflows visually

A more intuitive, powerful history view

We understand how crucial it is to properly handle every business-critical request to execute a workflow (what we call a Work Order), which is why we’ve rebuilt the History management system from the ground up.

With the new History interface, you can quickly see the “status” of all Work Orders, including the ability to drill down into the inputs, outputs, and logs for each step in a run, all within a few clicks. Our approach at OpenFn combines powerful elements of case management with business process management, allowing non-technical admins to ask and answer questions like “Did patient XYZ get successfully enrolled?” and retry key workflows at the click of a button.

We’ve also improved and extended the search and filtering capabilities to ensure you can find what you need, when you need it.

Audit, search, reprocess, and manage workflow runs at scale
Audit, search, reprocess, and manage workflow runs at scale

It’s more scalable and more reliable

As our customers have scaled up their interventions through OpenFn over the years—serving more end beneficiaries—we’ve needed to gracefully handle more requests. In v2, we have decoupled the part of the system that processes workflow requests (these are called the “workers”) and this change brings a host of key benefits:

  • Total throughput (how much work we can do for you) is up per worker—saving you time and money;
  • We can scale the number of workers independent from the rest of the system, ensuring your workflows get done quickly even during spikes in traffic without incurring high costs; and
  • Workflows are processed in more isolated environments—meaning problems with a single run won’t slow down or destabilize the rest of the system.

While this is a fairly technical change, the impact is a more secure, stable, scalable OpenFn and that’s something all of our partners are excited about.

Safer defaults and more choices for security and compliance

Over the years we’ve learnt about the different needs and demands for Government, NGO and non-profit customers that are in need of handling sensitive data.

We have now introduced a host of features to cater for these users, including zero-persistence data handling, custom retention periods for data storage, an audit trail for configuration, and better role-based access control. This empowers administrators to configure OpenFn in a way that is fully compliant with their data security and data residency policies–and ensure that OpenFn is only acting as a “data processor” or “data transfer” service, and not as a data storage service.

How to get started

OpenFn is open-source, but the easiest way to use it is to sign up for a new account on We offer a free tier and paid plans for more scale starting at as low as $50/mo. In Lightning you’re now able to change plans for new features (more users, more workflows, longer runtime, etc.) or simply add additional runs to your current plan. As always, all of our core security features are available even on the free plan.

For our existing customers on v1, we will have full migration support and up to a year without any plan price changes.

Lastly, if you’re doing something particularly sensitive, we’re now able to provide dedicated instances maintained and supported in a huge number locations around the world. Contact to learn more or even to get help deploying and maintaining Lightning on your own servers.

Thank you

Thank you for making Lightning, OpenFn's fully open-source v2, possible!
Thank you for making Lightning, OpenFn's fully open-source v2, possible!

To the whole OpenFn community, from our core contributors, to the folks who advocate for interoperability and digital public goods at the global level, to the public servants, health specialists, case workers, and system admins at over-worked and under-funded NGOs and government ministries all over the world trying to provide better social services to those in need—thank you. Keep the feedback coming and we’ll all keep building for you.

Image of Taylor Downs

Taylor Downs

Taylor Downs is OpenFn's CEO & Founder. He is a Senior Atlantic Fellow for Social & Economic Equity, received the first annual Harvard SECON Social Impact Award and the 2017 Pizzigati Prize for Software Development in the Public Interest, was named to Forbes’ 30 under 30 list and is a 2012 Echoing Green Fellow, a 2014 Rainer Arnhold Fellow, and a 2015 PopTech Fellow. He serves as an advisor to the Technical, Product, and Architecture Committees for the ITU/GIZ/DIAL-lead GovStack initiative, accelerating the digital transformation of government services through the adoption of digital public goods. Before starting OpenFn, he co-founded Vera Solutions and served as CEO for its first 4 years. Before Vera, he lived and worked in a dozen countries across Africa while focusing on curriculum and M&E at a major public-health implementer. He holds an MSc in inequalities and social sciences from the London School of Economics and Political Science with a focus on technology policy and a BA in religious studies with a focus on Tibetan Buddhism from Amherst College.

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