Appian Release Notes

Users

This release brings a host of new components and style options for building amazing interfaces.

New SAIL Component: Web Content (Preview)

Appian is excited to announce our new web content component, which enables you to embed external content into an interface, allowing you to view your content from multiple systems on one screen, without having to leave Appian.

New SAIL Layout Options

Users can expect new and exciting SAIL components that will give you the flexibility to create more beautiful interfaces.

Side-by-Side Layout

Organizing your components just got easier. The Side-by-Side Layout allows you to create more intuitive interfaces by giving you control over how to best arrange components.

Show/Hide Margins Below Buttons

When using buttons in a Side-by-Side Layout, you should hide the margin below buttons to condense space, or show the margin to better distinguish sections—whichever looks better for your interface.

Configure the Column Width

With this option, you can give your information the space it needs by configuring a column width, which is especially handy when displaying multiple columns in your records or reports.

In the below image, you can see the MEDIUM width on the left, and the WIDE option on the right.

Rich Text Styling

Appian now provides more options when it comes to styling rich text.

New Icons and Options

A single icon has the power to symbolize anything from a brand to a status, and in this release, we've added a huge library with hundreds of icons so you can add more interesting visuals to your interfaces.

And what's great about this new set of icons is you can style their color and size. Check out this UX Design Guide topic on the subject.

Accent Styles

You can now apply your system-wide accent color to rich text, letting you extend your branding to more places, so you can leverage a consistent palette.

You can now style rich text links so you can display them with the appropriate style or context for your interface. The default INLINE style adds that underline indicator so users can better recognize inline links.

Keep Your Sort in Export

When you export your record lists to Excel, your export will now reflect the record list's current sort (up to 1000 rows), so you don't need to re-sort in the file before sharing with others.

Users Can Now Crop Their Cover Photos

Users can now preview, zoom, reposition, and crop their profile cover photo to get it just right.

If you haven't already, update your cover picture with any picture to reflect your personality and give your profile more style.

Updated Timezones

Did you know timezones are always changing? Well, they are, and in this release, we've updated our list of available timezones.

We also made improvements that made timezones more accurate. For information about what's different, see Timezone Changes.

New Mobile Awareness Functions

SAIL enables "write once, deploy anywhere" interfaces that are inherently fully functional on mobile devices. However, some users have interfaces whose usage is uniformly distinct when viewed from a mobile device. For these users, we've added two new functions that allow them to tailor their interfaces for use with the Appian for Mobile Devices app:

  1. isNativePhone()

  2. isNativeTablet()

These functions return true when evaluated in an interface in the mobile app on a phone or tablet, respectively.

Designers

We're really excited about the designer features in this release. It may be our usual cocktail of cool new features, design acceleration, and quality of life improvements, but this time we're serving it in a gallon jug!

Quick Search for Design Objects

Sometimes it’s the small and simple features that can dramatically boost your productivity.

CTRL + SPACE to snap open a search box. As you type, a you'll find a rolling list of matching objects.

This search looks through all objects in the system (that you have permission to view), and it's available from everywhere in Appian Designer and the Admin Console.

And if you're averse to keyboard shortcuts, you can access quick search from anywhere with the click of a button.

This feature doesn't yet support searching Group or Document objects, but it was too cool to make anyone wait for it.

Bulk Delete

Another great time saver in this release is the ability to get rid of a large number of objects at the same time. Now, if you're a system administrator, the DELETE button is no longer disabled when you select more than one object. You can even delete objects of different types together.

You can also delete folders, and doing so deletes all objects within that folder.

While we have the two-click confirmation, do keep in mind that with great features comes great responsibility; just like regular delete, bulk-deleting objects is permanent.

New Arrivals in Appian Designer

The Appian Designer environment is hands-down the best one to work in, and in this release, we've not only added some smart improvements, we've migrated a tremendous amount of functionality from /designer—enough to eliminate two entire tabs.

Manage Documents

You now can browse and manage your documents entirely from Appian Designer. We also added the ability to preview images when you check a document's properties.

You can create multiple documents at the same time, and bulk upload document folders and hierarchies from a .ZIP file.

And since you can do all of this from Appian Designer, you can use any supported browser for doing things like downloading documents in batches.

Read all about it here.

Manage Groups & Users

Groups and users can now be fully viewed and managed in Appian Designer. You'll find a new USERS tab next to APPLICATIONS and OBJECTS.

Creating and navigating your group hierarchy in Appian Designer is where this move really shines, with the convenience of navigation, filters, and searching for users by email or full name within a group. You will also enjoy a grid that lets you see descriptions for members, and a new column for membership type.

You can also now add groups and users to a group at the same time.

Process Model Folder Navigation

We now support Process Model folders, meaning all folder types can now be browsed directly in Appian Designer!

The nicest part about this is being able to easily move process models (and being able to move them in bulk).

More Object Actions

We've added a new menu for contextual actions to give you more flexibility and power to take the appropriate actions without having to navigate to specific views.

As you can see in the above screenshot, we also moved Properties and Versions from being conditionally available from some views, to being always available from this menu.

Search Any Design Object by ID

You can already search for objects by their UUIDs, but now you can also search by their local IDs.

Local IDs are what Appian uses to reference an object, which you'll find in places like running processes and record data. Being able to search for these IDs should can help you debug runtime objects faster.

Better Deployments

We've added some new features to make importing and exporting so much easier.

Patches Persist Before and After Export

Small mistakes shouldn't cost us a lot of time. Sometimes accidentally navigating away from an application while building a patch, or discovering that your last patch was missing one important object, could leave you having to select a bunch of objects all over again. With this release, that is no longer the case; by default, Appian will keep your export selection until you choose to clear it.

With this new feature, you can assemble patches over time, instead of having to do it all at once. See here for more information.

Conflict Detection and Optimized Import Now Supported for All Objects

All the goodness you've come to love from optimized import and conflict detection is now available for all remaining objects! With this release, we added support for groups, data types, and group types.

To simplify the investigation of conflicts, we've also added a column to the inspection results for last modified information.

Appian understands that designers want more options to define their related actions. Well now you have the option to create a related action name and description that are independent of the associated process model. They can also be configured as an expression to provide more flexibility for things like multilingual needs.

More Interface Design Tools

We've added two new tools to make building interfaces easier.

Form Factor Preview

First, we've added a new form factor preview that gives you a better idea what your interface is going to look when viewed from mobile devices and tablets.

Since there are so many variables when it comes to how it will appear on different devices, this feature doesn't give you a pixel-perfect preview. That being said, it's still a great time saver when testing your interfaces.

Redo Changes

Second, we know the little things count, so we added Redo to accompany the existing Undo, complete with a keyboard shortcut.

Web APIs

Many of you use Web APIs to create endpoints for other systems to use Appian. With the changes we made, we're confident you'll find even more ways to connect your critical systems with Appian.

Access Appian Documents from Any System

There's no longer any need to write servlet plugins to let external systems fetch documents from Appian. Appian is now able to serve documents through Web APIs.

A Web API template has been added to make accessing documents this easy:

For this, there's now an improved version of the httpResponse() function that adds support for documents.

Expanded Basic Authentication Support for Web APIs

When other systems call Appian Web APIs, they no longer have to provide basic authentication credentials in the initial request. This enables integration with some services, like Twilio, that expect to receive a challenge before sending the credentials.

Process Model Improvements

We've added some usability improvements to process model objects to make navigation easier.

Have you ever been looking at a process instance and discovered a problem with the process model? Go ahead and open it up directly and make your change. Or maybe you're looking at a sub-process and you want to check the parent process to see what's going on there. Yeah, you can do that too.

Better Navigation to Process Models from Actions and Record Types

In the spirit of keeping things quick and easy, now when you configure an action, a process-backed record, or a related action, we provide a link to the selected process model so you can jump straight there.

Impact Analysis for Process Reports

We know how useful it is to trace object relationships by viewing dependents and precedents. Now, you can perform full impact analysis for process reports and any objects they reference.

Search Expressions in Process Reports

In Appian 17.3, we released a powerful ability to search within expressions from Appian Designer. In this release, we've added process reports to the list of supported objects, so now all application design objects can have their expressions searched.

Quick Apps Force Delete

Creating a Quick App has become a popular way to get a head-start on building a full application. However, once you started making changes to it in Appian Designer, you lost the convenience of being able to delete the entire app at once from the Quick Apps Designer. That's no longer the case; if you're a system administrator, you can now delete them.

Quick Apps Now Create Uppercase Table Names in Oracle

For customers using Oracle, now when a Quick App uses an Oracle data source, the automatic table generation will follow Oracle naming conventions to make integrating with your other systems easier.

Administrators

System Administrators will enjoy these great new features.

Allow Encrypted SAML Assertions

The ability to send and receive encrypted SAML assertions is important. Signed, encrypted SAML assertions (up to AES-256 encryption standards) are now supported. See SAML for Single Sign-On for more details.

Manage User Photos from the Admin Console or Users View

User profile photos can now be managed by a system administrator through the Users page of the Admin Console, or the Users view in Appian Designer.

Before, system administrators would have to navigate to the /designer interface in order to find and replace a user's profile image. Now, if you need to change a user's photo, you can easily do so.

Services Page Moved to the Admin Console

The Services page that used to be in the /designer environment has been moved to the Admin Console. If you use this legacy feature you can now manage any exposed process models from its new location.

Appian Cloud

The following section describes changes that affect all Appian Cloud customers.

Support for Inbound HTTPS Over VPN for Appian Cloud

Appian Cloud customers can now request sites to be configured to accept inbound traffic through both an IPsec VPN tunnel as well as the Internet at the same time. For this configuration to be enabled, sites need to be configured to have custom domains.

This new capability is particularly important to customers who want to do secure integrations with systems that initiate an HTTPS connection to an Appian Cloud site such as Blue Prism systems.

Appian Cloud High Availability Support Available in London and Singapore Regions

High availability is now available for Appian Cloud sites hosted in the London and Singapore hosting regions. Customers with sites hosted in these regions who wish to enable this capability should work with their Account Executive.

Support for new EU (Paris) region available in Appian Cloud

Appian Cloud now supports hosting Appian Cloud sites in a new European region, Paris. Customers can use this region to better serve their users in and around France. Customers who need to host new sites in this region or wish to move their existing sites to this region should work with their Account Executive.

New JDBC Driver for MySQL

Version 5.1.44 is the new JDBC driver used in Appian Cloud to connect to MySQL databases.

Please review the following documentation from MySQL to learn more about the changes introduced in newer versions of this JDBC driver:

http://dev.mysql.com/doc/relnotes/connector-j/5.1/en/news-5-1-44.html

We recommend reviewing these documents and update any incompatible query syntax you might be using in your applications. This should be completed before being converted to our latest release to avoid any problems.

Server Administrator

The following new features pertain to system administrators.

Introducing the Data Server

The Data Server is a new component of Appian's service architecture that runs alongside the existing Appian engines and search server to provide next-generation, data-persistence capabilities. For this release, the Data Server will track design objects added to application patches, which allows for patches to be persisted before and after application export.

Because this is an entirely new service, customers should expect to see an increase in memory consumption on the machine hosting the Data Server. Please see the data server page for more information. Also, the Data Server is currently only supported for single-node deployment in this release. See the High Availability and Distributed Installations page for more details.

Over the next several releases, we will continue to add functionality and capability to the Data Server. So continue to watch for updates about exciting new features enabled by this important architectural component.

Resolved Issues

This release resolves the issues listed below. To assist you in your migration planning, issue severity is listed for each item. The values of high, medium, and low are based on the criteria of system availability, system integrity, and confidentiality. Use this information, along with how you use Appian, to evaluate the applicability of this version to your deployment.

  • Security Updates - Low
  • AN-78709 - Medium - Full impact analysis (Dependents and Precedents) will now be available for the User record type and any objects it references.
  • AN-95706 - Low - When a user has insufficient privileges to import a group, import will no longer create the group. Previously, the error would be thrown but the group was created on import.

  • AN-95479 - Low - Login is no longer blocked when one or more Analytics engines are unavailable.
  • AN-75697, AN-53580 - Low - Bulk uploading a zip containing a filename with "£" will now successfully upload and create a document.
  • AN-92133 - Low - Looping functions that return lists of components can now be successfully selected in the Design View of the Interface Designer.
  • AN-95709 - Low - In the Interface, Web API, and Expression Rule Designers, the Save button is no longer disabled when the only changes to the main expression are character casing.
  • AN-96592 - Low - The autocomplete capability in expression editors no longer suggests deprecated functions and components.
  • AN-96701 - Low - When testing a rule input of type Report or Task Report, you can now use a picker to select a report, in addition to defining the input via an expression.
  • AN-95006 - Low - The Design View of the Interface Designer now correctly shows a checked checkbox for parameters that default to true. Previously, the checkbox appeared empty and implied that the value was false.
  • AN-85359 - Low - Duplicate My Private Knowledge Center and My Private Folder objects no longer will be created if you delete the current contents of those objects.
  • AN-98694 - Low - Uploading a new version of a document using a!fileUploadField will now accurately update the size of its parent folder and knowledge center.
  • AN-60423, AN-71119, AN-74564 - Medium - System objects, such as the Default Community or system process reports, can no longer be deleted from Appian Designer.

Deprecations

The features listed below are deprecated and will be removed in a future release of Appian. Do not begin using deprecated features, and transition away from any prior usage of now deprecated features. Where applicable, supported alternatives are described for each deprecation.

Bulk ContentService.createVersion Public Java API

The following createVersion(Content[] contents_, java.lang.Interger unique_) method that creates a new version for an array of content is being phased out and has been deprecated. Instead, iterate the following method com.appiancorp.suiteapi.content.ContentService.createVersion(Content content_, java.lang.Integer unique_) to create versions for multiple content objects.

My Models Process Model Folder

The ability to save process models in the My Models process model folder will be removed in a future Appian release. We recommend that all process models are saved in the process model folders in your applications. Existing My Models folders will remain on your system.

Removals

The following features have been removed from Appian and are no longer available for use. If you are using any of these features, you must move away from their use before updating to this version.

Support for MySQL 5.6.X

MySQL 5.6.x will no longer be supported as an Appian data source or business data source.

Support for MySQL 5.6.X has been deprecated since Appian 16.2.

Removed Tabs & Functionality from /designer

Most of the functionality was moved to Appian Designer, along with some added features and improvements.

Documents Tab

The Documents tab has been removed from the /designer environment. The following list of functionality was not carried over from the old environment:

  • Creating, deactivating, and reactivating Communities.
  • Subscribing/Unsubscribing to Knowledge Centers.
  • Checking documents in and out.
  • Creating document shortcuts or sending links to documents from within Appian.
    • Users will still be able to bookmark documents in their browser.
  • Discussing documents in Discussion Threads.
  • Setting the expiration duration for documents via Knowledge Centers.
  • Knowledge Center document edits, approval, Pending Approvals page, and alerts.
    • This behavior should be implemented now in applications.
  • Starring documents, folders, knowledge centers, and communities.
  • Creating documents, folders, or knowledge centers inside the Default Community hierarchy from Appian Designer.

People Tab

The People tab has been removed from the /designer environment. The following list of functionality was not carried over from the old environment:

  • Advanced user search by certain fields like nickname, supervisor, etc.
  • Create Departments and Teams.
  • Exclusive group membership.
  • Homepages.
  • Tasks view from Groups.
  • Delegated creation for departments.
  • Group and user starring.

Rule Creation Privilege

The ability to specify rule creation privileges to users or groups in the /designer interface has been removed. Administrators should control rule creation by enabling and disabling users as Designers.

Evolved Functions

The following functions or components have newer, improved versions in this release. Existing, old versions of these components in your applications will continue to function normally, but will be renamed on update to indicate that they are older versions. See Function and Component Versions for more information.

HTTP Response

a!httpResponse_17r4()

Create Knowledge Center

a!createKnowledgeCenter_17r4()

Behavior Changes

This release changes the following behavior.

Timezone Changes

With this update, we perfectly matched timezone offsets and daylight savings observance. If you have designed adjustments into your applications to compensate for the previous disparities, those work-arounds may no longer be valid.

Chinese and Arabic Date/Time Format Change

For the Chinese and Arabic locales, the value that is returned when casting a date/time value to a string has been changed.

  • For Chinese, it changed from 2017-12-21 AM12:34 格林尼治标准时间+0500 to 2017/12/21 AM12:34 GMT+05:00
  • For Arabic, it changed from "٢١‏/١٢‏/٢٠١٧ 12٤٠ AM GMT+٠٥:٠٠ to ٢١‏/١٢‏/٢٠١٧ 12:٤٠ AM غرينتش+٠٥:٠٠. If you have modified that text value in any way, it may no longer be valid.

Create Knowledge Center Smart Service

The Create Knowledge Center smart service has been updated and no longer includes the following configurations:

  • Parent Community - Knowledge centers created with this smart service will now always be top-level, this has been true for knowledge center creation in Appian Designer since Appian 7.9
  • Security Level - this field has been removed and a knowledge center's security is managed via normal object security

This only applies to newly added smart services. Existing Create Knowledge Center smart services in your process models will be unchanged (and still have these configurations).

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