Microsoft Fabric Updates Blog

Set Activity State to “Comment Out” Part of Pipeline

The Microsoft Data Factory team is always looking for ways to improve our experience based on your feedback. A common request for Data Factory pipelines has been adding the ability to mark a pipeline activity as inactive.

We’re excited to announce that Activity State is now available in Fabric Data Factory data pipelines, giving you the ability to comment out part of your pipeline without deleting the definition.

With the introduction of Deactivating and Reactivating Activities, you can now deactivate one or more activities from a pipeline, allowing you to skip them during validation and during the pipeline run. You may choose to reactivate these activities at a later time.

You can also use this feature as a way to save incomplete pipelines by “commenting out” (setting activity state to Deactivated) activities that are not yet valid or incomplete.

Deactivate an activity to Comment Out an activity in Data Factory. The activity will be grayed out.

Use Cases

Changing the activity state is a powerful tool for pipeline developers. It allows developers to “comment out” part of the code, without permanently deleting the activities. It shines in following scenarios:

  • When developing a pipeline, a pipeline developer can add place holder inactive activities before filling all the required fields. For instance, I need a Copy activity to copy data from SQL Server to Data warehouse, but I haven’t set up all the connections yet. I can use an inactive copy activity as a place holder for an iterative development process.
  • After deployment, developer can comment out certain activities that are constantly causing troubles to avoid costly retries. For instance, my on-premises SQL server is having network connection issues, and I know my Copy activity will fail. I may want to deactivate the Copy activity to avoid retry requests from flooding the brittle system.

Behaviors  

An inactive activity behaves differently in a pipeline:

  1. On the canvas, the inactive activity is grayed out, with an Inactive sign placed next to the activity type.
  2. On the canvas, a status sign (Succeeded, Failed or Skipped) is placed on the box, to visualize the Mark activity as setting.
  3. The activity is excluded from pipeline validation. Hence, you don’t need to provide all required fields for an inactive activity.
  4. During a pipeline run, the activity won’t actually execute. Instead, it runs a place holder line item, with the reserved status Inactive.
  5. The branching option is controlled by the Mark activity as option. In other words:
    • if you mark the activity as Succeeded, the UponSuccess or UponCompletion branch runs.
    • if you mark the activity as Failed, the UponFailure or UponCompletion branch runs.
    • if you mark the activity as Skipped, the UponSkip branch runs.

Note: An inactive activity never actually runs. This means the activity won’t have an error field, or its typical output fields. Any references to missing fields will throw errors downstream.

An inactive activity never actually runs. It has the reserved status of “Inactive”.

How to Deactivate an activity

You may deactivate a single activity from its General tab:

  • Select the activity you want to deactivate.
  • Under General tab, select Inactive for Activity state.
  • Pick a state for Mark activity as from the drop down list. Choose from SucceededFailed or Skipped.
Deactivate a single activity under General tab.

Alternatively, you can deactivate multiple activities with a right click:

  • Press down Ctrl key to multi-select. Using your mouse, left click on all activities you want to deactivate.
  • Right click to bring up the drop down menu.
  • Select Deactivate to deactivate them all.
  • To fine tune the settings for Mark activity as, go to General tab of the activity, and make appropriate changes.
Deactivate multiple activities at the same time with right click settings.

In both cases, you do need to deploy the changes to deactivate the parts during pipeline run.

We love hearing from you! Please continue to provide your feedback to Fabric Ideas and the Data Factory Forum.

Have any other questions or feedback? Leave a comment below!

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