The walk-through on this page will help you build your first application for the Appian Application Platform. We will be building a very basic application while learning basic concepts related to application and object security, but we won't be diving into details about designing interfaces, processes, or data. Those topics are covered in detail in other tutorials.
Applications are built using design objects that together form the user interfaces, logic, processes, and data users interact with while doing work in Appian. Every application that you build in Appian should represent a business solution. For example, you would build separate applications for customer relationship management and human resources.
All design objects in Appian are secured separately, including the application object itself. This tutorial walks you through setting up basic security as we go along. As you start to build applications on your own, you should keep in mind that each of the objects that you create won't be available to users unless security is configured correctly. With that said, keep the following things in mind as we work through this tutorial:
We will be creating the Appian Tutorial application for this tutorial. The Appian Tutorial application is the reference application that is used in all of Appian's tutorials. This means that you can reuse this application as you work through the other tutorials.
To create the Appian Tutorial application
Right now the application is empty. Each design object that you create during the course of this tutorial will appear in this list and automatically be associated with the tutorial application.
It is a best practice to add descriptions to all design objects. However, to save a little time, we are skipping describing how to add descriptions during this tutorial.
It is a best practice to create an object from the context of the application that uses it. For example, we will add a process model to this application in a later step. Since we will create it from the application contents view, it is automatically associated with the Appian Tutorial application.
One of the first things that you need to do for each new application is to create at least two groups: one for the users who can initiate the action and one for the application's administrators. Groups are important building blocks of an application because they allow you to organize users and assign permissions to the groups of users as you add objects.
Let's create two groups for this application so that we can add security as we go along:
To create a group
Repeat these steps to create the AT Administrators group. You should now have two group objects in your application contents list.
Notice that we used a prefix, AT, in both of the group names. It is a best practice to use a short, unique prefix to identify your application. Initialisms, such as CRM for a customer relationship application, work well as prefixes. This prefix is then used when naming all objects related to the application.
You may have also noticed that we didn't add any members to the groups. You can read more about managing groups and users on the Group Management page.
Next, we are going to create a basic process model called AT My First Action and save it in a new folder called AT Process Models. This process model won't include any smart services or user input tasks, but we will publish it so that we can add it as an action later in the tutorial.
To create a process model
The process model opens in a new window. If this is your first time using the Process Modeler, you will be given an option to select Process Analyst or Process Designer. We want to select Process Designer so that we can work with the process model. You should see something similar to the process model pictured below after selecting the designer view.
Now let's save and publish the process model. This step is necessary because process models must be published before they can be added as actions.
To publish the process model
It is a good idea to add security to the process model early on so that you can verify the permissions of various users as you test the process itself. We will grant the following permissions.
|AT Action Initiators||Initiator||Members of this group can start the action|
|AT Administrators||Administrator||Members of this group are administrators of the process|
To add security to the process model
We should also address the security of the application before we move on. Just like other design objects, the application object needs to have security configured in order to ensure that the right users have access to it. For now, we will grant the following security permissions.
|AT Action Initiators||Viewer||Members of this group can see the action|
|AT Administrators||Administrator||Members of this group are administrators of the application|
To add security to the application
It is important to note that the security of the application object is unrelated to the security of each of the objects contained within the application. This means that you will need to set security permissions for every object in an application in addition to the application object itself. See Securing Applications information about security permissions for the application object.
Now we are finally ready to add an action to this application. Once the application is published, users who belong to the AT Action Initiators group will be able to see and start this action from a user interface, such as Tempo.
To add the AT My First Action process model as an action
We need to publish the application before we will be able to see the action in Tempo:
Now that we've created the action, let's navigate to the Actions tab in Tempo and check it out:
This action won't actually do anything since we haven't added anything to the process model or created any interfaces. Check out the other tutorials for more information about building functionality into applications.
If you don't see your action, you should check the security settings and verify that the process model and application are both published:
Now that we have verified the action, we have completed the first stage of development on our application. Normally at this stage, a designer would be ready to export the application from a development environment into a staging environment for testing and validation. Let's see how this process works, even though we aren't going to import this tutorial application into another environment.
To export an application