Applications

Overview

This page covers what you can do from the application view of Appian Designer.

Applications List

The default view in the Appian Designer is a list of all applications in the environment. From here, you can create or import new applications, modify applications, or drill into a single application to work on the objects associated with it.

Refer to the annotated screenshot above when reading about each of the features listed below:

  1. NEW APPLICATION
  2. IMPORT and EXPORT
  3. SECURITY
  4. DELETE - Deleted applications are removed from the system and cannot be restored. Applications can be deleted in bulk. Deleting an application does not delete any of its objects; they simply lose the association with the deleted application but retain any others they may have.

Application View

You can click on any application to see its contents.

appiandesigner.png

A - Application-Only Content

Within an application, you will only see the objects associated with this application. You also have a monitoring view that only shows processes for process models in this application.

While applications may seem like containers or folders, it's important to understand that the application is more of an association. The application itself contains its meta data about that application, and shows all objects that have been associated with it. Creating an object from within an application will automatically associate it with that application.

B - Search & Filter

For quick object search, designers can click the search icon next to the Navigation Menu in Appian Designer, or use the keyboard shortcut (Ctrl-Space). The quick design object search does work for documents or groups.

For more advanced search, designers should use the Designer Search. Designers can search for objects by name, description, UUID, and ID, as well as search within expressions in those objects.

Filter Application Contents

In addition to searching for objects, designers can also filter objects by their type, last modified date, and/or by the last modified user(s). Both the search and the filters are applied at the same time.

The date filters take the user's time zone into account, so users in different time zones may see different objects when filtering on the same dates.

Some less-common object types are combined into one type filter: Group Types can be found using the Group filter, and Communities and Knowledge Centers can be found using the Folder filter.

Newly created objects are added to the application immediately, but may not immediately be visible if the current filter settings would hide it.

The header bar shows the context of the window and offers more actions and settings.

  • The object name is displayed in the top left.
  • The settings menu shows general properties, actions, and settings for that object or application.
  • The search icon allows you to quickly search for design objects you have access to.
  • The navigation menu shows options to navigate to other user workspaces.
  • The user menu shows options to view your user profile, adjust your settings, and log out.

B. The left pane shows controls and filters that set the context for what appears in the main grid.

C. The main grid shows a list of objects or applications, filtered by the controls in the left nav. The toolbar above the grid has options and controls that apply to the current selection in the grid.

Browsing folders within Appian Designer is similar but has key differences. For more details, go to Folder Hierarchies in Appian Designer.

C - Hierarchical View

Designers can toggle between a flat or hierarchical view of their application objects. By default, the view is flat and displays all objects. Switching to the hierarchical view will display only the top-level objects and hide the rest, so that you can more easily navigate folder hierarchies.

D - Application Settings

These application-level configurations can be accessed from the Settings menu.

Application Properties

The table below describes application properties.

Property Name Description
Name The maximum length of the name is 255 characters. The names of published application are visible to users in Tempo in the Actions tab and from the avatar menu under Settings > News.
Description The maximum length of the description is 2000 characters. Application descriptions are not visible to users in Tempo.
Last Modified Consists of a user name and timestamp that is updated whenever the application is updated. Updating the objects associated with an application does not change this timestamp, though adding or removing objects does.
Published Determines whether the application's feeds and actions are visible in Tempo. A published application's name is visible in Tempo when it has feeds or actions.
Actions A list of process models that this application exposes in Tempo for users to start from the Actions tab.

Application Security

The application-level security can also be configured here.

Application roles and the permissions each one gives to the application object are summarized below.

Actions Administrator Editor Viewer Deny
See application feeds or actions in Tempo Yes Yes Yes No
Export the application Yes Yes Yes No
View and filter missing precedents Yes Yes Yes No
View application properties and contents Yes Yes Yes No
Update filters in missing precedents Yes Yes No No
Update application properties and contents Yes Yes No No
Update application properties and contents via import Yes Yes No No
Import a patch Yes Yes No No
View application security Yes Yes No No
Update application security Yes No No No
Update application security via import Yes No No No
Delete the application Yes No No No

Application Actions

Actions are a configuration on an application that expose process models in end user interfaces. For process models to appear to a user, the application must also be published and that user must have view access to the application.

When choosing a process model to make an action, you can choose any published model in the system. That model is added to your application.

Missing Precedents

A precedent is any object that an object relies on to function properly. For deployment to another environment to be successful, all precedents of application objects must either be exported with the application, or already be present on the target environment.

The missing precedents dialog allows you to scan the application for referenced objects that are used by the application, but not associated with the application. An initial scan is performed when the dialog is first opened. From the list of missing precedents, designers can add objects to the application, and run another scan. The Referenced By column in the grid displays the object or objects that require each of the missing precedents, so that designers can tell why the missing precedent appears on the list.

Missing Precedents

Not all missing precedents need to be added to the application. Objects in related applications are deployed with those applications, and do not need to be added even though they are precedents of objects in this application. To narrow the list to only precedents that need to be added, use the filter options below the grid:

  1. Below the grid, click the link. If none of the missing precedents in the list are in any other application, the link does not appear, because there is nothing to filter by.
  2. A list of applications displays. These are all the applications that one or more of the missing precedents belong to.
  3. Check the box for an application to hide all missing precedents associated with that application.
  4. Click the Save current filter selection link to save the current filters to the application. Any designer viewing the application sees the same filters, and they are exported and imported with the application. Application filters saved here never cause export or import errors.

Missing Precedents Filter

Only save a filter option when the corresponding application will be kept up to date in all environments. For example, any missing precedents from your Common Objects Application should not be added to this application, as the Common Objects Application is intended as a library that other applications can use. Saving that application as a missing precedents filter ensures that you do not accidentally add its objects to your applications.

Selecting all the applications in the list shows only missing precedents that are in no applications. These should always be added to your application, or moved to another application. Setting up these filters correctly allows a designer to confidently add all remaining missing precedents to the application.

Exceptions

The following items are not identified as missing precedents during a scan of your application. Make sure to add these manually.

Security Summary

The security summary is a feature in the Application view shows a single list of all the objects in your application grouped according to their security. It allows you to edit the security of any section of objects in bulk. Objects with the same users and groups at the same permission levels are shown together.

Security Summary Edits

Users

The security summary allows you to review security across all the objects in your application without having to individually view each object. It also allows you to edit the security of sections of objects. Here are a few examples of when you might use it:

  • If you create a prototype application first and then configure security as part of a later iteration, use the security summary to make sure you haven't forgotten any objects and correct any omissions.
  • If you have two process models in your application that are both used by the same set of users, use the security summary to confirm they have the same security configuration.
  • It is a best practice to avoid securing objects to users, but sometimes it is helpful to do so temporarily. The security summary allows you to quickly scan the list of distinct security configurations and make sure these temporarily added users haven't been mistakenly left in place after the need is over.
  • Often, all the expression rules and interfaces in an application should have the same security. The security summary makes it easy to discover unintentionally disparate role maps and correct them.

Grouping

Objects are shown together if all of the following are true:

  • They are directly configured with the same users and groups at the same permission levels.
  • They are inheriting the same users and groups at the same permission levels.
  • Their default access levels are the same.

Permission levels with no configured user or group are ignored, so for example, although only process models have the process initiator and process manager permission levels, if these are empty they can still potentially be shown with other kinds of objects.

Inherited users and groups are considered distinct from directly configured users and groups. This means that if you have twenty expression rules all inheriting their security from a rule folder, the rules will be shown together and the rule folder will be shown separately. This distinction allows you to easily identify the object that is the source of inherited users and groups.

Although the security summary shows disparate design objects together when they have the same users and groups in the same permission levels, remember that these levels can mean different things for different design objects. For example, to run a web API a user must have viewer access or be a member of a group with viewer access, but anyone can evaluate any expression rule if it's invoked by an interface or process model they are using.

Making Changes

If you see something that should be changed while viewing the security summary, you can click the Edit Security button in the top of that section. This opens a dialog with a single editable role map for all the objects in that section. The role map configured here will be applied to all the listed objects, overwriting any existing security settings.

Security Summary Details

When the configured security cannot be applied to all listed objects, any roles that do not apply to all objects will only be saved to applicable objects. In the screenshot below, PR Users will only be added to the role maps of process models in that section of the security summary. If that group previously had Viewer access, the group will now have Initiator access on all process models and no access for all other objects.

Security Summary Edit Warning

For more information, see Securing Applications.

Create or Add Objects

From the application view you can populate your app by adding objects to it.

New

The NEW button allows you to create a new design object of the selected type. Objects created from the context of an application are automatically added to that application.

New objects (including new applications) created in Appian Designer have the following default security:

  • If the creating user is of type System Administrator, then they are not added to the object's role map. Otherwise, they are added to the role map with administrator permissions.
  • If the object type supports security inheritance, then the new object inherits security.

Design objects can be created by users of type System Administrator or users in the Designer role, with the following exceptions:

  • Data stores, groups, and record types can only be created by users of type System Administrator
  • To create process models, users must be of type System Administrator, or be in both the Designer role and the Process Model Creators group.

Add Existing

The ADD EXISTING button allows you to existing objects to this application. Since objects can exist in multiple applications, adding objects this way does not remove them from other applications.

You have three options when adding objects this way:

  1. Application Contents - Allows you to select another application which will add all objects associated with that application to this application.
  2. Folder Contents - Allows you to select a folder which will add all objects within that folder to this application (including objects within sub-folders).
  3. Existing Objects - Allows you to choose which objects to add to this application. You can choose multiple objects of each type. Selecting folders this way does NOT add the contents of the folder, only the folder object itself.

Object Options

Select an object to discover related options and settings.

object options

Add to Patch

This will add the selected object to an application patch. A patch is a collection of application objects, exported and imported from inside the application to modify it directly. Patches are used to enhance existing business solutions without creating new applications, and may include bug fixes, enhancements, or new application objects.

Patch contents persist even when you navigate out of the application or log out.

See Import and Export for more information.

Create Patch

It's best practice to build patches incrementally, so you don't spend additional time finding objects when you do decide to deploy.

  1. Select an object from the Application View.
  2. Click the Add to Patch button.
  3. The Export Patch button appears and displays the current number of objects in your patch.

Remove Objects from Patch

Click on EXPORT PATCH to modify the contents of a patch.

Export Patch

When you are ready to export, click the Export Patch button in the header to review your patch. From here, you can remove objects and rename your patch package. The Clear Patch Contents button allows you to clear the entire patch and start over. You'll also see a checkbox to Keep patch contents after export, which is checked by default. Unchecking it will clear patch contents on export; the objects will remain a part of your application. Export Patch Exporting a patch posts an entry to the News feed just as exporting an application does. Only the author and the entry participants can see the entry.

Import Patch

On your target environment, navigate to the application you are patching and click the Import Patch button. Once you upload the patch, you can click the Inspect button to check for any conflicted objects before you import. When you’re ready to proceed, hit Import. Importing your patch package here adds the objects directly to this application.

Importing a patch using the Import Application option does not throw an error. The objects are added to the system, but are not added to any application. If this is done accidentally, re-import the patch inside the correct application.

Importing an application using the Import Patch option does not throw an error. The application is added to the system as normal, but all of its objects are also added to the application you patched. You can remove them by selecting the objects imported with the patch and using the Remove from App option in the toolbar.

Security

Dependants & Precedants

Remove from App

This removes the relationship between the object and the application which means the object will no longer show up in this application's view. The object is not deleted, and can still be found from the objects view of the system. Objects may belong to multiple applications, or none at all.

Delete

System administrators can delete objects of different types in bulk. When a folder is selected, its contents will also be removed. Basic designer users can only delete data types in bulk. Deleted objects are removed from the system and cannot be restored. Consider checking the dependents of an object before deleting it, to understand which other objects may be using it. Appian does not support the deletion of system objects.

More Actions Menu

The More menu includes additional actions that you'll probably use less often than the other toolbar actions. It is available from the application view, the objects view of Appian Designer, and within any group or folder.

More Actions Menu

The More menu displays actions that are relevant for all objects that are available within the view. Additionally, any actions that aren't available for the selected object are disabled. The table below describes which actions are available for each object:

Design Object Properties Versions New Version Rename Download View Documentation
Connected System No No No No1 No No
Constant No Yes No Yes No No
Data Store No No No No1 No No
Data Type No No No No No No
Decision No Yes No Yes No No
Document Yes Yes Yes No2 Yes No
Document Folder Yes No No No2 Yes No
Expression Rule No Yes No Yes No No
Feed No No No No1 No No
Group Yes No No No2 No No
Group Type Yes No No No2 No No
Integration No Yes No Yes No No
Interface No Yes No Yes No No
Knowledge Center Yes No No No2 Yes No
Process Model No Yes No No1 No Yes
Process Model Folder Yes No No No2 No No
Process Report Yes Yes No No2 Yes No
Rule Folder Yes No No No2 No No
Query Rule No Yes No Yes No No
Record Type No No No No1 No No
Report No No No No1 No No
Site No No No No1 No No
Web API No Yes No No1 No No
  1. Object can be renamed when editing it.  2 3 4 5 6 7 8

  2. Object can be renamed from the Properties dialog.  2 3 4 5 6 7 8

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