Appian Release Notes

Users

Auto-Refreshing Interfaces

Have you ever wanted to create an interface that refreshes automatically without the user interacting with it? In 19.2, you can configure an interface to refresh periodically on a timer so that it automatically shows the latest data to your users. Simply define what data in your interface should be updated and how often using the new a!refreshVariable function.

Filter Records by Date

Life just got easier for everyone who uses records with date or date and time data. The new date range filter allows precise record filtering between two dates or an open-ended range where only a start or end date is provided. Add this filter to any record list with just a few clicks or use the a!recordFilterDateRange function.

Responsive Line Charts

See thousands of data points in a line chart without scrolling! Users can easily find trends in their data or zoom in to a selected area to see additional details. When the chart shows date, or date and time fields, the x-axis labels are formatted to match the end user's time zone, and conveniently resized to avoid clutter.

New Version of Billboard Layout

We've released a new version of the Billboard Layout with a significantly streamlined design experience and more flexibility for the overlay. Use the new "Full" overlay to cover the entire billboard for a consistent look across many billboards or to decrease contrast on a busy background. In addition, you can specify vertical alignment on the full and column overlays to get the look just right.

Self-Service Mobile Branded Builds

You can now create branded versions of Appian mobile apps via the Mobile Branding site on Appian Community. The site offers a self-service, guided workflow for creating a custom version of the Appian mobile app for your organization. It checks the submitted configuration, reduces the time it takes to get a branded build and eliminates the need to manually provide assets to a support engineer. You can also download past custom mobile apps from the site and update your custom mobile app configurations at any time.

More details can be found on the Custom Mobile Applications documentation page.

New Email Styling

Emails now reflect branding configurations. Notification, task assignment, and task escalation emails have a new look and feel that reflects up to two new branding colors and an optional logo.

Custom Accessibility Text

Now there are more ways than ever to design with screen reader users in mind. We've added a new parameter on most visual components, accessibilityText, that allows you to augment the screen reader announcements that are already built into the product. If there is extra context that will help your users understand the application, you can add that information with just a few extra keystrokes.

Clickable Grid Cells on Mobile

Clicking links on Appian for Mobile just got better! With this release, the entire cell on a read-only grid is clickable when the contents contain a single link, making it easier to get the right link the first time.

Improved User Pickers

In 19.2 we improved the search results of the user picker and the user and group picker! We now return additional related results, including users with more than one first or last name, to help you find who you are looking for.

Developers

Monitor Real-Time Record Performance

In Appian 18.4, we gave you the ability to test the performance of your Record Lists and Views while designing them, but have you ever wished you could see the performance of these UIs, as your users are actually interacting with them? Now, Appian is always monitoring your users' experience and capturing the performance data of those record interactions!

The new Record Response Times tab in the Monitoring view will show you what Record UIs are slow and which users have had a poor experience on them. Not only that, you'll be able to see the Performance View for each of these user interactions, so you'll understand exactly why the UI was slow.

To make it even easier to get to the bottom of those hard-to-reproduce performance issues, we've also added the ability to view these metrics across all of your Appian environments. A developer is now only a few clicks away from seeing how their record UIs are performing live in the production environment without ever leaving the environment they work in every day. Troubleshooting performance issues has never been easier!

New Refresh Configurations for Local Variables

Local variables are a huge part of your interface design experience and are often used to drive complex, dynamic logic in your interface. That also means it can be complicated to control when you're updating pieces of data based on the user's interactions. Not anymore! In 19.2, we've provided some new refresh configurations that really simplify your local variable design.

In addition to being able to refresh local variables on an interval, local variables can now be automatically refreshed when variables they depend on change. No more requerying the data from each component the user interacts with; Appian will automatically detect when relevant variables change and update the data automatically. It's that simple!

Only local variables created using a!localVariables will get this behavior automatically. Load() and with() variables will continue to work as they always have, but we've provided guidance for switching existing interfaces over to the new function to take advantage of this behavior.

Create Rich Text Faster

Rich text is crucial for creating a beautiful interface. Whether you're using it for instructional text, highlighting key performance metrics, or just to add some visual flair to your interface, it's become a staple of interface design. Now, rich text is easier than ever to create!

Interfaces now contain a rich text editor for configuring basic styling such as size, color, and even icons. You can use this to quickly sketch out your styles before moving on to configure your dynamic data.

Quickly Clear Patch Contents

After you've successfully deployed a patch, we know you're eager to start working on the next change. Now you can quickly clear your patch from the Application Contents view, without launching the Export Patch dialog! And don't worry if you're moving quickly and hit this new option accidentally–we'll confirm with you before clearing the patch contents.

Compare Application Objects Across Environments

In this release, we are bringing a whole new dimension to your design and deployment life cycle. You can now compare your Appian application across environments!

Using an intuitive wizard, understand how your application is different across environments and prepare validated patches for deployment. Concerned about a conflict or an unapproved change to an object? We've got you covered. The linked object statuses open detailed comparisons for you to troubleshoot bugs or perform comprehensive peer reviews. And that's not all! You can also add objects to your patch, inspect it across environments, resolve any missing precedents, and export a patch you're more confident about deploying.

Download Inspection Results

When you're importing an application or patch, sometimes you want to be able to share the inspection results with another person on your team. Now, you can easily download the new inspect log, which contains any problem or warning details, as well as a list of the objects in your package.

New Color Picker

We've made it easier to find the color you're looking for! All custom color configurations in Appian developer and Administration Console use a consistent color picker regardless of the browser. The picker contains two modes: a swatch color selector and a slider color selector for fine-tuning, plus you can always provide a hex code if you have one.

Compare Versions for Even More Objects

More version comparisons, more visibility! We're continuing to extend the ability to track changes across versions in Appian. You can now view the differences between the latest version and previous versions for two more objects: HTTP connected systems and process reports.

In addition, we've improved process model comparisons. This release introduces a new visual component to process model version comparisons–compare and contrast each version's diagram in order to easily identify workflow modifications and orient yourself. We have also added support for examining changes in a gateway node's Decision tab, so you can easily review changes to pivotal process logic.

Smarter, Better Read-Only Grids

In this release, we have evolved the read-only grid component (a!gridField()) to have significantly enhanced capabilities while also simplifying configuration. The new guided design experience is the fastest and easiest way to build these new and improved grids! With just a few clicks, you can drag the grid from the palette, add data using the query editor, and watch as Appian configures paging, sorting, and automatically generates formatted columns for your data.

How is this all possible? The new and improved read-only grid supports columns with rich text, adjustable widths, and header tooltips, allows developers to query data directly within the grid to populate it, and automatically manages its own paging configurations. We have even made this component smart enough to handle common data cases for you–like setting the grid back to the first page when the user filters it, and preventing errors even when the underlying data changes.

So you can just focus on the fun part: making it look pretty! Simply use the button on the selected column to configure the visualization of that column's data, in the form of images, links, and, yes, even rich text! Work smart, not hard with Appian.

New Reporting-centric Templates

In 18.4, we gave you pattern templates, which are configured, common groupings of components that can be dragged from the palette into your interface. In 19.2, we are adding 3 new patterns that make it even easier and faster to build beautiful, impactful reports. You can find these reporting patterns quickly by searching "report" on the patterns tab of the palette. We've also added a new example template, "Case Dashboard," which showcases the best of Appian reporting to inspire you!

More Options for the Create-From-Data-Type Interface Builder

In 19.1, we gave you the ability to generate new interfaces directly from data types in Appian. Now, you can choose whether your generated interface should always be read-only, always be editable, or be able to switch back and forth as in 19.1.

Drive Mobile Application Use

In earlier releases, when users would click on Appian links on a mobile device, they would be navigated to the browser without being prompted to download or open the mobile application. System administrators can now configure a "Redirect Page" from the Admin Console, designed to inform and encourage users to open links in the native mobile application, or to install it. Once enabled, the redirect page automatically shows up for any link invoked on a mobile device. This feature builds brand recognition, and drives the usage of the mobile application which is designed to give your users a better experience by leveraging device features and hardware like push notifications, camera and tap-to-call.

Appian Mobile now also supports Universal Links on iOS. Any Appian link launched from email or another app on a mobile device will send users directly to the correct page in the mobile application. Links launch faster and more securely. This feature is available for all customers with Appian Cloud deployments that use the Appian for Mobile Devices iOS application from the App Store.

Appian Skill for Blue Prism RPA

Appian RPA with Blue Prism is now better than ever with the introduction of the Appian Skill in the Blue Prism DX marketplace! The Appian Skill makes it easy to access the power of Appian case management from a Blue Prism robotic process to handle critical human-in-the-loop tasks like exception management, reconciliations, or approvals.

Business Object Support added to Blue Prism

We have heard from you that Blue Prism Business Objects are more flexible for session management than Processes and that using them allows for close adherence to Blue Prism's best practices. We enhanced the Blue Prism Connected System to give you even more functionality! Now, you can discover and configure available Business Objects and their data inputs. This allows you to quickly and easily call them from Appian.

Generate Sample Expressions in Integrations

Many connected systems, such as Amazon Machine Learning and Blue Prism, offer an advanced configuration experience with a guided configuration grid. In the past, if developers wanted to use an expression to configure these inputs they would lose the benefit of this guidance. Not anymore! Now, these integrations include a new "Generate Sample Expression" button that generates a sample input that you can use to pass to the target system. This allows the developer to quickly and easily map their existing data to the expected inputs, even when using an expression.

Salesforce Connected System

Quickly and easily integrate with Salesforce. Create, modify, and query Salesforce data using a convenient, guided experience. Two new Salesforce connected systems support both per-user (web server) and service account (username-password) authentication, so regardless of authentication preferences, you are good to go!

Inbound API Key Authentication for Web APIs

For the first time, you can authenticate calls to Appian web APIs using API keys. Unlike passwords, API keys don't expire automatically so you won't need to keep rotating credentials in the systems that call Appian. And since API keys are tied to our new service accounts you don't need to worry about the account being deactivated either! On top of that, using API keys makes web API calls up to 10x faster!

API keys can be passed using basic authentication, as a bearer token, or in a custom HTTP header.

Receive Binary with Integrations and Receive Base64 Inline with JSON

Pulling documents from other systems into Appian has never been easier! Rather than building custom plugins or using the HTTP File Download smart service, developers can now create integrations that automatically convert a binary response body to an Appian document. This provides developers with improved error handling, the ability to initiate downloads from an interface, and more authentication options.

Integrations also support converting base64 values in JSON response bodies to Appian documents.

Configurable Integration Timeouts

Developers now have the ability to impose a timeout on integration calls. This can be used to ensure quick responses for integrations called on user interfaces. It also protects the system as a whole from a slow integration, preventing the app server from becoming slow and unresponsive.

Query Editor Available from an Interface

The query editor can now be launched directly from an interface with all the same functionality as expressions. The same launch points are used as expressions: clicking the toolbar icon, using the keyboard shortcut, or the new Ctrl+Click (Command+Click) on a!queryEntity() enhancement. In addition to those options, creating a read-only grid from design mode will allow direct launching of the query editor to populate your grid with data in just a few easy clicks!

Query Editor: Aggregations & Nested Field Selections

Creating some of the most complex queries has never been easier than with the new query editor enhancements. The query editor now supports aggregation queries and nested CDTs. To facilitate these new enhancements, a new context menu is available on all column headers of the preview grid that allow you to take actions on specific columns. Some of these actions include setting an alias, setting visibility, and removing the column from the query. To start aggregating, just click the group data button within the query editor to start aggregating. When aggregating, the context menus provide even more options such as setting grouping and aggregation functions all from the column header. Nested CDTs will appear in the Fields section of the query editor and the fields of the nested CDT can be selected like any of the parent level fields.

Fewer Syntax Errors While Editing Expressions

Getting a syntax error from about an extra comma in your expression can be frustrating, especially when you just want to quickly comment something out while debugging. Now, an extra comma after the last parameter of a function is simply ignored! You can worry less about getting your syntax perfect and focus on more important things.

Appian AI - Powered by Google

Appian AI is a free and fast way for you to add artificial intelligence capabilities to any application built on the Appian Platform.

Appian AI services include Google Cloud Translate, Google Cloud Vision, and Google Cloud Natural Language. Appian ensures that all project structure, security, and storage needs are in place for each customer, with full tracking and traceability.

Please view Appian AI documentation for more details.

Administrator

Inbound API Key Authentication for Web API

Administrators can now create service accounts to manage external access to web APIs! Service accounts use API keys to authenticate so you don't have to worry about exposing passwords or keeping track of their expiration.

Appian Cloud

New Internal Messaging Service Enables Future Scalability

Appian is always looking for ways to improve our software infrastructure to provide the best possible platform in terms of reliability and scalability. The new Internal Messaging Service extracts some of the software components that were previously embedded in Service Manager, and allows their life cycle and configurations to be independently managed. This makes our platform more flexible, extensible, and scalable in response to system load. But don't worry, nothing has changed about the way you administer or interact with Appian Cloud. We'll take care of running the platform so you can focus on running your business.

Data Server Read Scaling

We continue to build the data server to provide next-generation data persistence capabilities for Appian. Apart from being Highly Available, the data server now runs two real-time stores that service queries. Multiple real-time stores allow the reads to the data server to be processed in parallel. This will enable the queries to be serviced at a higher throughput.

Pre-Release Testing Program

Appian always goes the extra mile to ensure that your cloud site will continue to work as expected with each new release, which is why we are excited to announce a new program that will provide you with an even greater level of assurance. Starting today, your organization can opt-in to our Pre-Release Testing Program, which will grant us permission to run supplemental tests on a secure, inaccessible backup of your existing production instances. These supplemental tests may include low-level functional or performance testing, and will help us to detect any potential problems before your Appian software is upgraded. The best part is that this program is included in Appian's standard maintenance plan, so there’s no additional cost to you.

For more information about the Pre-Release Testing Program, please reach out to support@appian.com.

Certificate-Based Authentication in VPN Tunnels

IPSec VPN connections for Appian Cloud can now also be configured using digital certificates instead of pre-shared keys (PSKs) to authenticate both ends of the connection. This provides customers with additional options to securely integrate their Appian Cloud sites with their systems.

Learn more about Cloud VPN Integration.

Appian Cloud will support connecting customer services from their AWS Virtual Private Clouds (VPCs) to their Appian Cloud site(s) over AWS PrivateLink.

AWS PrivateLink is a purpose-built technology designed for customers to access AWS services in a highly available and scalable manner, while keeping all network traffic within the AWS network. This capability will provide a new integration option, in addition to IPSec VPN connections, for customers who integrate their Appian Cloud sites with resources they host within their own AWS VPC.

For more information and configuration steps, read the full feature description here.

Server Administration

Data Server High Availability

The Data Server is now a highly available component of Appian! This component currently tracks the design objects added to application patches, which allows for patches to be persisted across Application export, site restart, and upgrade. With a highly available data server, patches will now also persist in the event of downtime on one of the Appian servers.

Resolved Issues

This release resolves the issues listed below. To assist you in your upgrade 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-107472 - Medium
    The user picker and user and group picker now returns users with multiple first and/or last names.

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. As always, make sure you are using the right version of the docs for your version of Appian. See Function and Component Versions for more information.

Billboard Layout

a!billboardLayout_19r1()

  • New version allows for full overlay style, and vertical alignment on column and full overlay.

Line Chart

lineChartField_19r1()

  • New version allows developers to use an array of Date or Date and Time fields in the categories fields. Also, it no longer provides scrollbars as it has all data points fit within the chart.

  • In addition, it also allows developers to zoom-in to a particular section of the chart by clicking and dragging inside of the chart. developers can also use the 'Reset Zoom' button to go back to the chart's original state after zooming in.

Read-only Grid

a!gridField_19r1()

  • New version allows developers to query data directly within the grid to populate it, and supports columns with rich text, adjustable widths, and header tooltips.
  • Also automatically manages its own paging configurations, and can handle common data cases.

Deprecations

a!facet and a!facetOptions

The ability to create record user filters using a!facet() and a!facetOption() has been deprecated.

developers should use a!recordFilterList and a!recordFilterListOption instead.

a!gridTextColumn and a!gridImageColumn

The evolved a!gridField() (see above) uses the function a!gridColumn() to define the columns of the grid and supports text, links, images, and rich text. Therefore, a!gridTextColumn() and a!gridImageColumn are no longer required and have been deprecated.

a!gridSelection

The evolved a!gridField() (see above) has distinct parameters for paging and selection. Therefore, a!gridSelection() is no longer required and has been deprecated.

a!dashboardLayout

Dashboard layout is no longer necessary when creating interfaces. Developers can simply wrap their other components in an array, {}.

HTTP File Download Smart Service

The HTTP File Download Smart Service has been deprecated and will be removed in a future release of Appian. Use an Integration object to convert a binary response body to an Appian document. For more information, see Converting a Binary Response Body to an Appian Document.

Salesforce Connector Functions

The ability to connect with Salesforce using the Salesforce connector functions a!sfcDelete(), a!sfcDescribeGlobal(), a!sfcDescribeSObjects(), a!sfcInsert(), a!sfcQuery(), a!sfcSearch(), and a!sfcUpdate() has been deprecated and will be removed in a future release of Appian. Developers should use the Salesforce connected system to integrate with Salesforce instead.

Removals

Legacy Search Scripts

The administrative scripts that allowed on-premise customers to index Appian objects and documents for the legacy global search are now removed from the product. These scripts were previously deprecated in Appian version 16.3. Neither the search capabilities nor the administrative scripts were available to Appian Cloud customers. The following related custom.properties settings and scripts have been removed:

  • server.conf.search.SEARCH_INDEX_DIR=
  • conf.search.lucene.index.path=
  • create-search-index.bat (.sh)
  • update-search-index.bat (.sh)

This removal does not affect any of the current search capabilities in the product. You can continue to use the Appian developer search to find objects within your application or the Objects View search to find objects across all applications.

Behavior Changes

Application Viewers Can Now Export Patches

In addition to application export, developers with viewer permissions to an application can now add objects to a patch and export.

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