Appian Release Notes

Building and Deploying Applications

Intelligent Process Modeler Recommendations

Appian now provides machine-learning recommendations to help you build your applications faster than ever. In 20.2, the process modeler automatically suggests nodes to add to your process flow. Appian's machine learning model knows how to predict over 50 different smart services based on patterns learned from millions of data points.

You'll find node recommendations in two places:

  1. You can access recommendations based on your recent modeling activity from the top of the process modeler palette. Drag and drop recommended nodes into your process flow just like you would with any other palette selections.

  2. You can also insert nodes directly from a process flow. Right-click on any process flow to see recommendations based on the existing nodes in the flow. Use one of our recommendations or quickly search for another option right from the same menu.

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More Ways to Turn Your Documents into Data

With this release we're adding more to the intelligent document extraction feature introduced in 20.1.

With the new selection tool you can extract text even if it's not in a structured form. Simply highlight the values you want anywhere on the page, then populate the desired field with one click.

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Validating and correcting fields is now a breeze. Clicking on a field automatically scrolls to the corresponding location in the document. Zoom controls make it easier to select data in complex or hard to read documents.

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Application Deployments

We continue to add more options and built-in guidance to our direct deployments. This release introduces plug-in deployments and test coverage reporting. We also continue to enhance the Deployments view and notifications to make them easier to use.

Deploy Plug-ins Across Environments

With 20.2, both on-premise and cloud customers can deploy existing plug-ins from one environment to another. As you prepare a package for a direct deployment, you can now easily understand how plug-ins differ between environments and also view detailed changes by clicking on their status links. Once you're confident about the changes you've reviewed, you can include them in your package and submit a more complete deployment to a target environment.

Review Test Coverage During Deployment

Have you ever forgotten to write test cases for an expression rule before promoting it to a higher environment? Now, you will be alerted when your package is missing test coverage during direct deployments. You'll also be able to manage and run your application's unit tests from inside compare and deploy, regardless of test coverage. That way, you can shorten the feedback cycle and easily validate your changes before deploying.

Enhanced Security Check During Deployment

In addition to being able to manage test coverage in the compare and deploy wizard, we've also enhanced our object security check. Now, you can always review the Security Summary for your packaged objects during deployment, instead of only seeing it when there are warnings.

Easily Refresh Deployment History

We've made several improvements to the Deployments view so that you can audit changes in your environments more easily. In addition to improved styling and filtering, the Incoming and Outgoing history grids now have refresh buttons to ensure that you're viewing the most up-to-date statuses of deployments. And speaking of up-to-date, the detailed views of deployments now auto-refresh periodically.

Since the Deployments view is now the centralized place to see the latest deployment information, we removed the deployment News posts in this release. All of the same information (and more) is quickly and easily available in the deployment details.

Detailed Deployment Notifications

In order to bring you more transparency into the deployment process, we've added more content to the notification emails received during a direct deployment. You'll immediately know the purpose and urgency of incoming deployments, straight from your email.

Better Branding

We've heard your request to improve the ability to match your corporate style guides within Appian. With this release, we're giving you two important ways to match your branding: custom typefaces and rounded buttons.

Use Your Corporate Typeface in Sites

Now you can use custom typefaces in your sites-based applications. Head over to the administration console to provide links to your font files and set the typeface with one click across all of your sites. This feature is perfect if you have a corporate typeface and want your Appian instance to match.

Rounded Buttons in Sites

We've also added the ability to set the shape of your buttons in sites. Choose from squared, semi-rounded, or rounded in the branding section of the site object. Use this to match corporate branding, or to simply get the look you want.

UI Power

Make Charts Pop with New Color Schemes

Any chart in Appian can now display a color scheme without setting colors for each series individually. You can use one of eight predefined color schemes to make sleek and compelling reports, or create your own custom color scheme to match existing branding guidelines.

Add Column Divider Lines for Vertical Separation

We've enhanced Columns Layout to optionally show vertical divider lines between your columns. Column divider lines help create a visual division between content, such as separating the table of contents from the rest of the interface or distinguishing read-only columns as in the interface below. If you want a clean look while still providing vertical separation, column divider lines are a great choice.

Set Spacing Between Columns

We've added the ability to customize the look of your Columns Layout by controlling the spacing between columns. This will help you to get just the appearance you're looking for by adjusting the space between columns. At the same time, we've added "none" as an option in addition to the existing "dense", "standard", and "sparse" options for spacing in Side by Side Layout.

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The tag component now has the ability to take record links. Use these to help users learn more when your tag represents a record instance.

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Display Progress Bars in Read-only Grids

Progress bars can now be used in the read-only grid component. Use this in grid columns to visualize a completion percentage, such as task completion for an onboarding process, for each row in your grid.

More Interface Designer Patterns

We're committed to providing new examples for you to work with every release. Check out the examples and patterns in Interface Designer to get inspiration for your next interface.

New Site Pages Use Wide Width

To ensure your users have the best experience, any newly created pages in the site object will now use the wide page width. Don't worry: there will be no change to your existing sites pages. To support this change, we have also renamed the standard page width to medium.

Easily Create and Test Expression-Backed Records

Setting up an expression-backed record has never been easier. Use the guided configuration wizard to quickly generate or select the integrations and rules you need. This will automatically create your user filters, configure your rule inputs, and jump-start your expression with a template including step-by-step instructions.

Once you've configured your source, use the test interface to verify that the expected data is being returned and properly interacting with search, paging, and filtering. This allows you to configure your list, actions, and views with confidence that your record fields are populated.

Design-time Recommendations for Data Types

To ensure your data types are performant and maintainable, we've added real-time best practice recommendations to custom data types. When a risky design is detected, a lightbulb icon will appear next to the Save Changes button. Click on the icon to see information about how to improve your data type design.

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Better Default Field Names for Data Types

To save you time and make it easier to follow naming best practices, we've updated the default field names when you create a data type from a database table or view. Now any column names that use underscores, periods, or dashes will have field names suggested in camelCase formatting.

Test Case Management

Unit tests are crucial to simplifying the long-term maintenance of an application. To make it easier to evaluate test coverage and run regression tests, developers can now manage all of their application's test cases in one central location. The new Manage Test Cases feature allows developers to bulk test their expression rules. Use the available filters to find rules that are missing test cases, those that have recently been modified, and more.

As tests finish executing, their status is updated to reflect the overall test status for the rule. You can select individual rules to see more detailed test results.

Compare Any Two Object Versions

We've continued to make improvements to object comparisons. In the past, you could compare an older version of an object with the latest version. With this release, we have added support for comparisons between any two versions for objects. You can now review changes to objects more thoroughly and better prepare for deployments.

New Options in Expression Editor Toolbar

Browse Available Domains

In 20.1, we started auto-suggesting domains while working in the expression editor. Now, you can also quickly access available domains from the expression editor toolbar or anywhere in the expression using a new keyboard shortcut for times when you can't remember which domains are available to you.

Browse Functions

Forget the name of a function you want to use in your expression? You can now browse functions by category from the expression editor toolbar or anywhere in the expression using a new keyboard shortcut.

You can now conveniently access the historical performance for an Integration directly from the object. Simply click on the "Performance Trends" option in the Settings menu to view how that Integration has performed in the past. This data can help you understand how your integration is performing under real usage by showing overall trends over time. For more information, see Historical Performance Trends.

Health Check Flexibility

More Control Over Health Check Settings

With this release we've made improvements to Health Check. We've updated the Health Check Viewers group to include a membership rule for system administrators so you can have more granular control over which administrators receive email notifications when a run is complete.

We've also enhanced Health Check so that you can use automatic upload even if an HTTP proxy is configured.

New Function to Retrieve Health Check Details

Additionally, we've added a new function – a!latestHealthCheck() – to help you retrieve the status, zip file, and report of your latest Health Check run directly from your process models or expression rules. Now you can configure a process model to start after scheduled Health Check runs, and based on the results, send users a status update or a task to review the report.

Support for Oracle 19c Database

You can now build Applications with Oracle 19c as the data source. Oracle 19c database is now a supported RDBMS for use with Appian.

Appian RPA

Use Rules, Documents, and More Within Robotic Processes

In 20.2, we're making it easier than ever to use all your application objects from a robotic process through web APIs. We've introduced new methods that make it easy to call a web API to upload or download documents; evaluate decisions, rules, or integrations; and execute smart services. We take care of authentication and URL management automatically. Our new builders make it easy to construct any type of web API request, making it easier than ever to leverage more parts of your Appian application from a robotic process.

Streamlined Robotic Process Deployments

You can now more easily and reliably deploy your robotic processes. No longer will administrators need to worry about using an IDE and having access to source code for deployments. Instead, admins can now handle deployments entirely from the RPA console, with a bundled package that includes all the files needed to execute your bot. With fewer steps and dependencies, deployments are easier and faster than ever.

Operations Management for Business Users

Business operations managers can now access the Appian RPA Console, equipping them with the tools they need to keep your bots running smoothly. This provides the right level of access for certain business users, such as process owners, to perform activities like changing credentials, loading items into queues, starting bots ad-hoc, and more. With this new capability, you can empower your business users to keep your business running smoothly, without the need to involve IT.

Mobile

Broadened Mobile Authentication Support

The Appian for Mobile Devices App has adopted a new industry-standard method for mobile authentication, opening up support for all identity providers (including Kerberos) as well as multiple IdP selection. This also provides an improved login experience that is consistent across all operating systems and devices.

Enforce Authentication Requirements on Shared Devices

A new AppConfig property has been added for you to indicate if an app will be used on shared devices. When enabled, we enforce increased authentication security to ensure sessions cannot be reused amongst users. This is a new configuration you can set within your MDM portal. We recommend enabling this configuration only if devices are shared amongst multiple users. See Appian for Enterprise Mobility Management EMM for more details regarding how to set up AppConfig properties.

Client Certificate Access

With Client Certificate Access, users can import a certificate into the Appian for Mobile Devices app, which can be used to ensure that access to the Appian server on your organization's internal network is restricted to authorized clients. This feature also enables access to certificates derived from user's smart card credentials, as required for Common Access Card (CAC) Authentication. To use this feature, simply enable the client certificate access property in your MDM portal.

Tap to Call

You can now invoke the phone on a mobile device via the Appian for Mobile Devices application by specifying a telephone link within a!safeLink. Simply prepend the "tel:" scheme to any phone number, in any format, and the default phone dialer on a mobile device will open when the linked component is tapped. This behavior is only supported in the Appian for Mobile Devices application. Telephone link behavior varies on web browsers based on Operating System and whether any telephone supported applications or extensions are installed.

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Specify File Upload Methods on Mobile Devices

Developers can now specify upload methods for the File Upload component using the new "Upload Methods" parameter. In the Appian for Mobile Devices Application, users select between upload methods, i.e. Take Photo, Draw Signature, Choose from Library, when using the File Upload component. This new parameter determines which upload methods are displayed to mobile users. If one method is specified in the parameter, the upload button is customized in the Appian for Mobile Devices App and users are taken directly to the capture method.

Using this parameter, you can ensure end users are uploading the way you designed. For example, if a File Upload component is being used to capture signatures, limit the mobile upload method to "Draw Signature" and users will be prompted to draw their signature when tapping on the upload button.

Administration

Track Plug-in Changes across Environments

System administrators can compare plug-ins across environments from the Administration Console. By reviewing a bulk comparison of all plug-in changes across two environments, you can now identify and resolve differences more easily.

Manage Database and Plug-in Changes

The Administration Console now provides more fine-grained control for direct deployments. If you want to directly deploy application objects, but not database scripts or plug-ins, there are new settings that allow you to control what types of changes are allowed for incoming deployments.

Hide Error Message Details from Users

Administrators now have the option to hide technical details from error messages that your users may encounter in order to reduce confusion and prevent exposing any unwanted system or object-specific information to your users. Users will instead be provided with an identifier that application administrators can use to view further details about the error in the Design Error log.

View More Information in the Design Error Log

All expression errors are now logged to the Design Error log. This log also includes new details about the environment in which errors occur, giving you more information to help debug and fix problems faster.

Korean Language Support

Appian now supports Korean as a system language. Administrators have the option of enabling Korean on the Internationalization page of the Administration Console. Once enabled, users can choose Korean as their language in user settings.

Support for Edge Based on Chromium

To keep up with changes in Microsoft Edge, Appian now officially supports the new version of the Edge web browser based on Chromium. Since this version works on the Mac OS as well as Windows, this gives your users another browser option to use with Appian.

Audit Issues with Tasks in the Task Error Log

The new task error log displays common errors with tasks to help with troubleshooting issues for users. The log will return the user, timestamp, and the error encountered.

Server Administration

Automatic Engine Checkpoint File Compression

In order to simplify disk space management, old engine checkpoint (KDB) files are automatically compressed when moved to the services/data/archived/ directory. For typical KDB files, the compression reduces each file to around 10% of its original size on disk.

Appian Cloud

AWS Key Management Service (KMS) Support for Bring Your Own Key (BYOK)

Premier Support customers who wish to make use of the existing Bring Your Own Key (BYOK) feature now have the option to use AWS Key Management Service (KMS) instead of AWS CloudHSM to manage the encryption keys used by the system.

This new functionality is an enhancement on our existing support of BYOK with AWS CloudHSM. Utilizing the KMS version of this feature has the added benefit of configuring BYOK without the need of VPN tunnels, unlike CloudHSM which is only supported over a direct VPN connection.

Appian Cloud now supports access to private REST APIs on Amazon API Gateways using PrivateLink. Using an Amazon API Gateway, you can expose private REST APIs accessible only to the Amazon Virtual Private Cloud hosting your Appian Cloud environment. The traffic to your private API is secured and does not leave the Amazon network, creating isolation from the public internet.

New Appian Cloud Regions

Appian Cloud now supports hosting Appian Cloud sites in new regions: Cape Town and Milan.

Customers can use these new regions to better serve their users and operations globally.

Customers who need to host new sites in these regions or wish to move their existing sites to one of these regions should contact their Appian Account Executive.

This change also benefits customers with sites hosted in other regions. Users located close to the Cape Town or Milan regions will benefit from improved communication speeds when accessing Appian Cloud.

For a full view of all available regions and other information please visit Appian Cloud Availability.

SOC Audit Period Update

Appian has updated our System and Organization Controls (SOC) reports issuance date for our SOC 1, SOC 2, and SOC 3 audit reports. Going forward, our new SOC audit reporting period will cover the 12-month period of October 1 – September 30.

As part of the transition and to ensure there isn't a gap in audit coverage for 2020, Appian will issue SOC reports on two dates. The first set of reports will be issued for June 30, covering the period 2019 July 1 - 2020 June 30. The second set or reports will be issued for September 30, covering the period 2019 July 1 - 2020 September 30.

Resolved Issue

  • AN-153202 - Medium
    Fixed an issue where local variables using refreshInterval in a dialog were not refreshing correctly.

Deprecation

The feature below is 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 the deprecation.

Windows 2008 R2 and Windows 7

Microsoft has ended support for Windows Server 2008 R2 and Windows 7. This will be the final version of Appian which supports these operating systems. Customers who run these versions of Windows should upgrade to a more recent version of Windows.

SharePoint 2013 Web Parts

The ability to use the Appian SharePoint 2013 module to configure web parts to read news, tasks, and actions from an Appian server has been deprecated and will be removed in a future release of Appian. Now, you can use embedded interfaces to embed Appian interfaces in external web pages such as SharePoint 2013.

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