Appian Release Notes

Users

Users will appreciate improvements to interfaces on both desktops or mobile devices.

Modern Mobile Interfaces

Better, faster, and more beautiful, Appian for Mobile Devices just got a major overhaul that reaffirms our commitment to build once, deploy anywhere. Whether you're a mobile-only user, or just need to stay connected on the go, we've overhauled every interface component1 so you can experience the full power and appeal of Appian wherever you are.

More than expanded support for layouts, we've made them work naturally on mobile devices with smarter responsiveness that sensibly handles rearrangement and column stacking.

View Documents Inline

Show the documents your users need to see where they need to see them with the new Document Viewer component. This new component allows you to directly and securely show a wide range of file types using your internet browser's native preview2—file types like PDFs, images (including SVGs and GIFs), and even some text formats like TXT and XML.

If you're ready to take advantage of this new component, you'll want to learn more about Doc Viewer Setup.

Modernized Notifications

Tempo and Site users now have direct control over their notification settings in a way that is modern and straight-forward, so they can focus on what's important to them.

Notification options are now organized into two categories, Email and Mobile notifications, and they've been simplified.3

But, it's not just better control, it's also a better connection; we added mobile push notifications for News events as well so you can stay on top of what's going on.

To learn more about these options and how to configure them, see Notifications.

Even Bigger Site Page Width

Since working with multiple monitors and extra-wide monitors has become the new norm, whatever the case, you can now set Sites pages to take up the full page width. This option is especially handy when viewing Sites with dense UIs so you can view more content at once.

Margin Below

Since we made it this easy to create beautiful, professional interfaces, our designers have raised the bar and want more control over layout arrangement. We've happily provided a new option for all layouts that allows designers to add or remove space below the layout, to help our users achieve that oddly satisfying balance.

Custom Colors for Box Layout

We've seen a lot of creative use of the popular Box Layout, so we added a new option to let designers set a custom color for boxes, for situations where accent color or site branding don't quite apply, like when you need to match the custom styling of the banner on a particular page.

Date Picker Shortcuts

We added two handy shortcuts for the date picker (available from the Date and Date Time components) that let you get things done a little faster.

Key Action
t Set date as today.
Delete (fn + delete) Clear the date value.

To use these shortcuts, select the date picker by clicking on it, or press the down arrow on your keyboard.

Faster Pickers

Picker components have been improved to be more performant.

Designers

The theme for Designers in this release is information and simplicity. We've added tools so Designers can get the information they need to better understand and improve their applications for maximum performance and efficiency. We also added new features related to sending documents and changes to existing features to make them even easier. And, of course, no release is complete without even more quality-of-life improvements and simplifications; we don't just build Appian, we also use Appian, which is why you'll also find changes that target some of the smaller things that make a big difference.

Compare Versions

If you've been watching our product evolve, you'll have noticed a trend in empowering collaboration; one of the best ways to build applications faster and better is to build them together. That's why we're so excited to introduce a new tool designed to help you review and troubleshoot your Interfaces and Expression Rules with greater speed and clarity.

With this release, Designers will be able to see what has been added, deleted, and altered across versions. Learn more about Managing Object Versions.

Enhanced Interface Design

We don't stop at great, which is why we're continuing to enhance drag-and-drop interface design.

Simplified Interface Navigation

You can build an interface of just about any depth or complexity you want, which is why we're making them even easier to understand and navigate with a couple of great improvements.

First, we've reduced what's shown down to the level of only the things you can move around. You'll find this in the interface navigator.

Second, when you hover over an item in the navigator, we highlight that component.

Search Component Palette

With so many options available to designers, we added a convenient search box to the top of the component palette.

Simpler Buttons

We've simplified buttons for you by removing submit buttons from the component palette; there's only one type of button you need to worry about now. In addition to this, we've also added some smart defaults to the button component. When you're dragging over a button into the button parameter of a forms layout, the button will automatically have its submit parameter selected. Buttons dragged anywhere else will have the parameter not selected.

Improved Performance Troubleshooting

When it comes to optimizing performance and stability, it's all about information. Which part is doing what and where? It's an important part of running an enterprise system, and some of the improvements we've made in this area are so valuable we've also made them available in previous versions so no one has to wait until they update to 18.3 to benefit from them. Features made available this way, through hotfixes to 18.2 and/or 18.1, will be marked with this icon (); you can hover over it to see which other versions have it.

Performance View Improvements

We've improved the interface Performance View so that you can better understand the performance for specific interactions within your interface. Now, interface context and latest evaluation metrics are preserved even when you click TEST or navigate to another tab. We also added performance metrics for complex saves.

Easier Expression-Backed Records

Expression-backed records have been growing in popularity, but compared to everything else you do with Appian, they had a steeper learning curve than we were happy with. In this release, we've changed some key aspects of building expression-backed records to make learning them fast, and configuring them easier.

Separate Expressions for List View and Record View

New and experienced designers alike will appreciate that we've provided separate fields for the list view expression and the record view expression. This doesn't just make it easier to understand, this greatly simplifies the expressions needed to define them.

New Variables

We've added three separate Record Source Parameters: rsp!searchText, rsp!pagingInfo, and rsp!filter to make it easier to obtain these values, rather than pulling them from rsp!query.

See Record Type Variables to learn more.

Automatic Filter Cleanup

When we can, we will simplify your filter structures. Like the in operator; if you create a user filter that allows multi-select, and each option is an = comparison, we'll convert it to a single in operator, rather than multiple = filters.

New People Functions

Groups are an integral part of every application; they're used for security, task assignment, and targeting information. In this release, we've added new functionality that will make using groups and group types more powerful.

Get Group by Name

It's become popular to dynamically create groups within a process. You might have a Marketing Collateral application where you want to be able to upload new collateral items, create a group for them, and assign people to it on the fly. For cases like these, we've added a new function that will let you fetch groups by their name alone (a!groupByName), so you can create the group and use its name to immediately retrieve it.

More Support for Group Types

Group types offer a way to categorize and organize your groups within Appian, but with this release we've made it so you can incorporate the group type into your application design. For example, you might have a number of groups related to the Human Resources department, for which all have the same group type association. In 18.3, you can now fetch all groups in that group type with a new function (a!groupByType) that will return a DataSubset of all groups associated with that group type so you can easily work with groups at a categorical level.

You can also directly refer to group types as they're now a viable data type for Constants, Rule Inputs, Process Variables, and Activity Class Parameters.

Automatically Convert Integration Request Body to JSON or XML

Integrations just got a little simpler. Appian values can automatically be converted to JSON or XML in the request body of an Integration. For XML, you can simply put a CDT into the request body, and we'll convert it to XML for you. For JSON, you can use a CDT, dictionary, or list of either. You also have the ability to send documents inline!

Send Documents Using Base64 Inline with JSON & XML

Sending documents from Appian to other systems has never been easier. Integrations can now send Base64-encoded documents inline with a JSON or XML request. Base64-encoded documents go into the Integration's body, which can automatically convert the CDT to JSON or XML.

CDTs Now Support Document Data Type

To support sending Base64 documents, we also extended the capabilities of CDTs. CDTs now support the Document data type. This not only benefits Integrations, but any Appian objects that use documents.

Instead of needing to cast documents to and from integers to store Document IDs in a relational database, now documents just work. When you write them to the database, they will automatically be stored as integers. When you query back for them, they’ll be treated as documents.

Export Process Reports to Excel/CSV Smart Services

Process reports are a great way to pull data from your active processes, tasks assigned to certain users or groups, or from specific process instances. Getting that information outside of Appian has gotten a lot simpler with two new smart services that let you export your process reports to Excel or CSV formats.4

Learn more about about the Export Process Reports: to Excel/to CSV.

These smart services also have accompanying functions to let you launch them directly from an Interface or Web API, without having to create a process model.

Better Record Object UI

In addition to the changes made for expression-backed records, we also improved other aspects of the Record Type Object to make it cleaner and easier to navigate. You'll find collapsible sections, new primary buttons, new messages for empty grids, and we even got rid of some unnecessary tooltips as a matter of housekeeping. We also improved the error messages for record lists so you get more useful debugging information.

Filter Users by User Type

System administrators can now filter users on the Users view in Appian Designer by whether they are a Basic User or System Administrator user type. This makes auditing which users are system administators on your environment much easier.

Quickly View All Tasks Assigned to a User

You can now navigate to the report of a user's current tasks directly from that user's properties dialog.

Remember Search & Filter Criteria When Navigating in Appian Designer

Your filter and search selections will now be remembered as you navigate between the different views in Appian Designer. Your choices are remembered separately across the Application, Objects, Users, and Monitoring views as well as the Objects and Monitoring views when inside an application.

Add Environment Info to Import and Export Logs

Appian will now add the environment information to the top of log files generated inside it, so there's less risk of confusion when sharing log files to get help troubleshooting.

Process Modeler Opens in New Tab

By default, process models will now open in a new browser tab, rather than a new window, when using Chrome or Safari.

New Swiss Franc Function

Like the dollar() or euro() functions, the swissFranc() function formats a number value in the common format for Swiss Francs.

a!swissFranc(number: 1234.45832, showPrefixSymbol:true())


CHF 1'234.46

Administrators

Manage Trusted Certificates

When it comes to allowing Appian to connect to the services your apps need to work with, we've made it so you can upload your trusted certificates directly to the Admin console. Once a certificate has been uploaded, the integrations will just work—Designers won’t need to take any extra steps to get them to use trusted certificates.

For more information about uploading trusted certificates, see Certificates.

Add Data Metrics Log for Groups and Group Types

You'll get more insight into your system usage as we've expanded logging to include group and group type objects, logged in groups.csv.

Search for Users by UUID

You can now search for users by their UUID from the Administration Console.

Server Administrator

We've made some great improvements that will streamline the way you install or upgrade Appian.

App Server Included!

In this release we're excited to announce that Appian no longer uses a separate application server. Appian now includes a pre-configured version of Tomcat, which takes over the responsibilities that were previously handled by JBoss or WebLogic instances.

There are many reasons why we decided to do this. However, the most important reason is because it removes a layer of complexity when installing, upgrading, and maintaining your Appian environment.

No special license or extra steps required; simply download and run the Appian Installer.

For more information. Check out System Requirements, as well as the Installation and Update Guide.

Faster Startup After Update

Updates and hotfixes are faster now because we only update the parts of Appian that have been changed, which reduces the time to update. On average, this speeds up the process by about 10 minutes, but we've seen it save up to 30.

Appian Cloud

The following apply only to Appian Cloud customers.

Bring Your Own Key (BYOK)

Appian Cloud customers can now use their own Data Encryption Key to secure the disk that stores their data.

For more information, please review Bring Your Own Key Setup Process in Appian Cloud.

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.

  • AN-108740 - High
    Fixed an issue that prevented a reassigned task from being available to the assignee pool
  • AN-104637 - Medium
    The data collection for the Expression Rule Test Cases data metrics log is significantly faster.
  • AN-108188 - Medium
    Image captions are now available via keyboard navigation.
  • AN-108910 - Medium
    Fixed an issue that prevented designers from uploading documents when the admin console file extension blocking feature was turned on.

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.

Quick Filters for Process Reports

Quick filters for process reports has been deprecated and will be removed in a future release of Appian.

Use a!queryProcessAnalytics to display your process report data as a grid. Then use the recipe for filtering data in a grid to add dropdown user filters. For more information about Tempo reports, see Tempo Report Design.

Exposed Plugin Packages

We've deprecated plug-in access to all Java packages except for:

  • com.appian.* & com.appiancorp.*
  • com.atlassian.*
  • javax.servlet.*

Instead of relying on Appian to provide non-Appian java packages a plug-in needs, plug-in developers should include all such jars inside their plug-in.

rsp!query

With the introduction of the new record variables, rsp!query is no longer necessary, and will be removed in a future release of Appian. Use one of the new variables for a simpler design experience.

Convert Expression Rules to Interfaces

The ability to convert an expression rule into an interface (via the expression rule dropdown menu) has been deprecated. This feature will be removed in a future release of Appian.

Designers who still need this functionality can easily copy and paste the expression from the expression rule into an interface and recreate the rule inputs.

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.

Behavior Changes

This release changes the following behaviors.

Reduced Test Execution Polling Frequency

The polling time for the test execution service has been increased from 1 sec to 30 sec to minimize load on the database and log file pollution.

Process Model Timezone Now Defaults to Primary Timezone

The process model timezone is defaulted to the primary timezone both when created from the application designer and from the process modeler.

  1. Environment and system restrictions remain, which means the Web Content component and the Doc Viewer component still display as links on mobile devices. 

  2. Different browsers handle filetypes differently, meaning the behavior of this component may vary. 

  3. Frequency for all notifications will be immediate when changed. Other frequency types, like Daily, are no longer available. Existing frequency settings are not changed during update to 18.3. 

  4. These smart services replace the Export Process Report to Excel smart service in the Excel Tools Plugin. 

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