What's New with Content

Below you'll find a list of updates to our documentation and to our free, online training resources available at Academy Online.

As we continue to release more Appian pre-built solutions, as well as the Intelligent Document Processing (IDP) application, we have made an important update to our documentation that takes into account a unique feature of solutions and IDP. Mainly, that they release new versions at different times from the product.

In order for us to show you the most accurate content, all solutions that have multiple versions now include a solution version dropdown menu that is separate from the product version selection.

You can check out this new feature in our IDP documentation. Use the version dropdown menus to change the product version and IDP version.

new version selection

Allison Gisinger, Information Developer II

Interested in becoming an Appian Developer? We recommend signing up for one of our instructor-led courses. You can go to community.appian.com for more information and course schedules.

However, if you prefer a self-paced, online format, you should enroll in the Appian Developer learning path at Academy Online. To help get you started, we’ve recently added a new online “Welcome” course that provides learners with a variety of helpful resources and tools, including a short overview of the learning path with recommended “steps for success.”

A critical aspect of learning Appian is practice building an application, so we’ve also included a new Developer’s Skills Practice guide that provides a series of exercises you can follow along with to build an application. After each course in the path, you should complete associated course exercises.

If you’re an online learner, be sure to take advantage of these great, new resources!

Jim Beckley, Instructional Systems Designer Engineering

Over the last few quarters, Appian has introduced a number of product improvements that make managing deployments a lot easier. Now, you can connect your development, test, and production environments and use the Compare and Deploy feature to easily create application deployment packages for new applications or updates to existing applications (a.k.a patches).

To support these product imporovements and your knowledge and skills development, we recently released a new course that teaches you how to configure your connected environments and leverage the Compare and Deploy feature to create, deploy, and manage application deployment packages across environments. You’ll learn how Appian automatically checks for missing objects in your deployment package. You’ll also learn how to interpret and proceed with different statuses for objects that have been previously deployed to your target environment. Lastly, you’ll see how to deploy both database scripts and import customization files alongside your application deployment package.

You can complete this course as part of our Appian Developer learning path or enroll in the course directly.

Kara Peeler, Manager, Training Development

As we all know, data is a huge part of every application. Knowing how to work with relational databases is essential to learning how to use the Appian platform to create scalable, enterprise-worthy applications. We want to help kickstart your knowledge by introducing you to key database terms and concepts that will help you build powerful applications.

Let's hone your database knowledge and skills with Appian's new Database Design Basics course. This course teaches you what a database is and how to use it. You learn about database schema design, relationship types, and how to differentiate between a primary key and a foreign key. You'll also learn how to create entity relationship diagrams (ERDs).

If you’re unfamiliar with database concepts, we recommend taking the Database Design Basics course prior to going through the Appian Developer learning path.

Katie Ward, Instructional Systems Designer

With the release of Appian RPA, we've created a new learning path specifically for developing robotic processes (bots). The knowledge you gain from this learning path, combined with your Java skills, will enable you to build bots to automate your business processes.

In addition to the new Appian RPA content, we are also debuting a new learning medium: .pdf guides. These guides combine text instructions, screen captures, and code snippets to create an useful and comprehensive learning experience. I hope this approach helps you learn how to develop bots efficiently and effectively.

Check out the robotic process automation learning path at academy.appian.com, and please answer the survey at the end. We love your feedback!

Katie Ward, Instructional Systems Designer

Great business applications should be more than just functional! That's the topic of our newest online training course: UX Design and Appian. In this course, you'll learn why UX design is so valuable to your application, how to plan and get feedback on your interface designs, and learn best practices for working with interface layouts and components.

Throughout this course, we'll showcase different designs and interface patterns to expand your knowledge of what's possible in Appian. Click here to get started!

Kara Peeler, Manager, Training Development

Come visit us on Academy Online to engage in your new learning experience. While you're there, check out our welcome video for information about new features, start learning with one of the learning paths, or enroll in the new UX design course.

The new learning system is a fresh, modern portal to everything you need to learn Appian. The new navigation, search, and filtering capabilities make it easier than ever to locate the content you want – when you want it. We also have more quizzes and revamped skills practices to help you gauge your learning and practice your newly acquired skills.

We're excited to roll out this new experience! Email us with any comments or questions: academyonline@appian.com.

Kara Peeler, Manager, Training Development

Have you ever wondered what it takes to improve your application development life cycle? DevOps is the answer! Appian provides a complete DevOps journey that will help you streamline processes, facilitate more efficient best practices, and much more. DevOps with Appian is a new set of documentation that will explain what DevOps is and what benefits you gain from it. Start learning about DevOps today and see for yourself the dramatic improvements in your development life cycle.

Debby Chang, Information Developer II

The new Grid Tutorial walks you through building a grid. Even though this tutorial teaches you all the major elements of the new grid, it still only takes about 15 minutes to complete because of how easy the new grid is.

We also have a new page that explains everything you need to know about Configuring the Read-Only Grid.

Mischa DeNola, Manager, Information Development

From any interface component page, you can find a new section, Related Patterns. Rather than just a handful of links to select patterns, this section displays all relevant patterns that use the component, letting you quickly find the right example to get you going. Check it out on the new Read-Only Grid Component page.

Mischa DeNola, Manager, Information Development

Excited about the new local variable and refresh variable functions? We've got you covered with a lot of new content, and updated examples, so you can start using them right away.

There are two new reference pages for each function that cover the details.

To take advantage of these new functions, learn how to quickly adapt your existing usage from Updating Expressions to Use Local Variables to learn how you can quickly adapt.

New examples for refreshing variables:

Alison Cowley, Senior Product Manager II

Working with data in Appian often starts with creating Custom Data Types (CDTs). This new page will help you understand how CDT relationships work and what factors to consider when designing your CDTs for your Appian application.

Debby Chang, Information Developer II

Many of you have come to rely on the UX Design Guide for best practice suggestions when using specific interface components and layouts. While knowing the rules for choosing button styles or label positions is helpful, the greatest opportunities for improving usability come from looking at the flow of your entire app. How will users complete their tasks from beginning to end? When someone first lands on a given page, how will they make sense of how content is organized? Making visually-appealing UIs is an understandable goal, but the best way to take full advantage of the value Appian provides is ensuring the users of your apps can easily and efficiently do their work.

To help you think about ways to make your users more effective, we've published a new Design Guide topic: Presenting Information Clearly. This page covers the basics of information architecture while showing examples of common do's and don'ts.

Charles Tsui, Director, User Experience

New this month is a tutorial on building a record! Watch the videos, follow along with the written instructions, or do both as you build a record. At the end of the tutorial, you’ll have a fully configured List View and Summary View.

Follow the directions in the tutorial to download the Getting Started application and sample data, or request a free trial site, which comes pre-loaded with the Getting Started app and sample data. Try it out!

Katie Ward, Instructional Systems Designer

To coincide with the new year, we’re introducing a new course on Academy Online: Appian Essentials! In this course, you’ll get an introduction to Appian and see how companies are using Appian to revolutionize their business practices. You’ll answer common questions such as How does Appian display data? and How is work completed in Appian? as well as participate in fun activities designed to enhance your learning!

Katie Ward, Instructional Systems Designer

Great examples lead to great applications, which is why we provide example design patterns for your interfaces. The UX design guide has several that represent the best user and designer experience, and we have a whole slew of interface recipes that provide other patterns and functionality.

In 18.4, Appian introduced design patterns you could drag directly from the component palette into your interface. To accompany them, we wrote a new kind of doc that goes beyond simply providing the pattern, and includes a breakdown of the pattern expression so you can quickly learn how best to change it to suit your interface, and newer users can learn the what and why of the design.

While we were excited about this new kind of doc, we recognized that we now had three different types of docs around interface design patterns. So, to make things simpler and smarter, we've consolidated our messaging and centralized the location for pattern docs. Now, whether you create a pattern by dragging it from the palette, learn about it from the UX design guide, or build one from a recipe, they are all interface patterns, and all of them can now be found from the Interface Patterns page.

We hope you find these new pages helpful. Remember to click FEEDBACK from the left-side of any page to let us know what you think!

Mischa DeNola, Manager, Information Development

We added a new page all about backward compatibility with Appian so you can learn what it is, why we did it, and how you can take advantage of it.


Upgrading to a newer version of a platform that isn’t backward compatible can be time-consuming, expensive, and risky. We didn’t want that to be the case with Appian, so we committed to providing backward compatibility very early on, and made that a foundational principle for our platform’s design and development.

This means if you want to update to the latest version of Appian, our goal is to make your existing applications work without further effort on your part.

Read more…

Mischa DeNola, Manager, Information Development

Lately we’ve been working hard to increase interactivity in our courses. Interactivity helps learners in several great ways:

  • increasing engagement, which increases motivation and fun
  • increasing self-efficacy -helping you to know you know the new information
  • practice, practice, practice

We’ll be rolling out different types of exercises, from quizzes to software simulations to drag and drop games, for all our new courses. Expressions: Transform Your Data is the first one. Check it out!

See you next post!

Katie Ward, Instructional Systems Designer

Our newest course is on expression building with a focus on functions. Appian ships with a bunch of pre-built functions that allow you to transform data however you need to, often for display in forms, records, and reports.

We offered content on expression building before, but we felt like we could do better. The result is a more comprehensive course that we hope will prepare everyone - regardless of their background - with a strong foundation for working with your data in Appian.

We’d love your feedback! Remember to respond to the course survey or email us at academyonline@appian.com with your thoughts.

Kara Peeler, Manager, Training Development

With all the changes to user interfaces, we've updated and added a ton of new content to the ever-popular UX Style Guide, and reorganized the content to make it even easier to find what you're looking for. Check out some of the new, popular design patterns like a Wizard with Side Navigation Bar.

You can read the full list of changes here

Debby Chang, Information Developer II

In 18.3, Appian’s application server became part of Appian’s out-of-the-box offering, meaning that anyone who uses or manages an on-premise or local installation of Appian no longer has to install a separate application server. This simplifies installation and updates. One tidy bow!

Accordingly, we've made updates to our online training material each release. In 18.3, many of the updates we made were in the Administrator learning track. These changes were made primarily for customers with self-managed installations.

Kara Peeler, Manager, Training Development

Academy Online is your self-paced, learn-anywhere training – packed with a ton of great videos, exercises, and activities – all of which create a diverse and engaging learning experience with the goal of getting you working in Appian as quickly as possible.

To get started learning: go to academy.appian.com and log-in or click "Register Now" to create an account. Check out the first in a series Academy Online Promo video below:

Kara Peeler, Manager, Training Development

Record Design Course

Records are a crucial part of most any application, so introducing a new course that explains them and how to build them was a priority. We also received a lot of great feedback that our Designers wanted some more in-depth info on this topic.

Records allow you to create a business view of data and then configure processes around that data so you can take action on it. There are some important aspects of effective record design that we want everyone to know. These include good design patterns and even a couple things to stay away from!

Have you ever asked yourself:

  • What is a Record?
  • Why are Records important in Appian?
  • How do I build one?
  • How do I configure a related action?
  • How do I make eye-catching and informative summary views?

Learn the answers to these questions and a lot more in our brand new course: Records - Design and Build a View into Your Data

It’s important that all of you Designers out there check out this course! We think even veteran designers are going to take away some good recommendations and reminders.

Kara Peeler, Manager, Training Development

Of course we want our user Community to stay up-to-date on the newest features Appian has to offer, so we’re trying to make it easy for you to stay current. From now on, if you missed Appian’s quarterly release webinar, you can always catch it on Academy Online from our “New and Noteworthy” page. If you want to learn more about a feature in the webinar, be sure to look out for our online course content updates or check out the docs to learn more.

Kara Peeler, Manager, Training Development

Meet our team! Academy Online content developers and media production team sit down for an interview with our Appian Live broadcasters. Take a look and find out what we're working on!

Kara Peeler, Manager, Training Development

We wanted our process model content to reflect the new and improved process models, so we decided to reorganize all 118 pages into something better. Our process model documentation is now a lean set of 18 pages that tell you exactly how to use process models and make them work with your application.

We didn't just compact a lot of existing content into 18 pages. We also cleaned it up and added some new helpful content, like Common Process Model Workflows and Recipes. Why reinvent the wheel when great design patterns for process models have already been created for you?

With Process Model recipes, learn how to:

  • Assign a task to every member in a group
  • Escalate a task
  • Use multiple node instances in your process flows
  • Repeat the same task using a looping flow
  • Run the same task repeatedly on a schedule
  • Update an array
  • Use activity-chaining to display multiple forms in succession
  • Chain tasks with multiple node instances enabled
  • Create a quick task
  • Configure multiple outgoing flows
  • Use process variables in parallel flows
Mischa DeNola, Manager, Information Development

The Appian Intelligent Contact Center (ICC) transforms your contact center with an innovative platflorm that allows you to quickly deliver an integrated customer experience acorss multiple channels. We've added an entire set of topics to guide you through set up and how to use the objects, functions, and components specific to ICC.

Debby, Information Development

If you've stayed away from expression-backed records before (previously called "Service-Backed Records"), now is the time to revisit them. We rewrote the tutorial from scratch so that it's easier for you follow along and efficiently build an expression-backed record with an integration. If you like movies, you'll have some fun as you learn to easily integrate with the Internet Movie Data Base IMDB.com to see movies, ratings, and more in your expression-backed record.

books r cool

Get a hands on experience here: Expression-Backed Record Tutorial

Jonathan Katora, Senior Manager, Technical Marketing

Keeping track of the various domain prefixes in Appian can be tedious. That's why we've provided a new reference page that allows you to easily look up prefixes whenever you need to. Check out this page to learn more about the prefixes that appear in your expressions and when to use them.

Jonathan Katora, Senior Manager, Technical Marketing

Practice makes perfect, or so the saying goes. We think practice makes confident and competent Appian users. That’s why we’re releasing new video tutorials! Watch our training experts build an interface as you follow along in your own environment. Pause the video when you need to, and pick it back up again when you’re free.

Katie Ward, Instructional Systems Designer

There’s change in the air! With the kick off of summer, we’re releasing a new layout for Academy Online. This layout gives you more options for exploring the content. The role-based tracks are still there, but now you can see popular questions we hear and follow the pre-built learning plans that will answer them for you. Here’s a more comprehensive list of some of our changes:

  • All new learning tracks, designed in a Q&A format to meet your learning objectives
  • Quick-enrollment for Analyst, Designer, Developer, and Administrator learning tracks
  • Revamped Analyst and Designer courses
  • Modernized, intuitive navigation for easier course searching
  • Star-rating system
Katie Ward, Instructional Systems Designer

The Appian documentation team is excited to announce a new feature on the docs site that will provide the best of both worlds - Academy Online and Docs. Follow along with tutorials and other reference content while watching the academy online course on the same page. Try out this new way of absorbing information with the Interface Design Mode page.

Debby, Information Development

With drag-and-drop making interface design so much easier, we thought it was about time to clean up our interfaces documentation.

All the content related to Appian interfaces is now connected with a navigation panel, so no matter where you land within the topic of interfaces, finding the content you need is easier than ever.

Head over to the new and improved Interfaces Documentation to see it for yourself.

Debby Chang, Information Developer II

High availability ("HA") for Appian has become so popular that we were starting to feel the pressure to improve the documentation around it to make it available to a wider audience. We revised our approach to the content to create a greater division between the concepts and the actual setup of an HA system.

While it's important to understand the concepts before getting started, once you're ready, you'll have no trouble following these clear and straight-forward instructions, complete with an achitectural diagram and explicit steps: How to Set Up High-Availability.

Mischa DeNola, Manager, Information Development

SAIL is the patented framework that powers your advanced Appian interfaces. In the past we have used the term SAIL as a way to distinguish SAIL-powered interfaces and functionality from interfaces created with the legacy Forms Designer. Over time, the term has become synonymous with any usage of Appian's simplified expression language.

So starting with Appian 18.2, we're no longer using the term "SAIL" in conjunction with interfaces. Newer users will be able to easily find Interface Components and Interface Recipes to create amazing interfaces without having to think about SAIL, unless they want to.

Debby Chang, Information Developer II

In line with a unified Appian Designer experience, we wanted a unified docs experience, so we overhauled all related content into a lean, easy-to-navigate set of docs.

Head over to our Appian Designer Documentation to see it for yourself.

Debby Chang, Information Developer II

We've completely revamped our Windows and Linux enterprise installation guides. The steps to get Appian running for self-managed customers are reorganized for your convenience.

Jonathan Katora, Senior Manager, Technical Marketing

We've updated our function and component version documentation to give you more context and explanation about the version changes.

Debby Chang, Information Developer II

To complement our new rich text icons, we've added two interface recipes that show you how to set and display star ratings.

Debby Chang, Information Developer II

To accompany the updates to the image components, we have new guidance on stylish ways to use them.

Mischa DeNola, Manager, Information Development

Nifty new features demand nifty new recipes, so here's one that shows you how you can set a filter to change a chart reference line.

Mischa DeNola, Manager, Information Development

Now that integrating with Appian has become so easy, we thought it fitting to redo the integration docs and take advantage of our new docs layout. You'll find new and updated content all living together in one, well-organized home.

Mischa DeNola, Manager, Information Development

We took the old Smart Services page and turned it into a reference page where you can look up any pallet option you see in the process modeler. This is one to bookmark.

Jonathan Katora, Senior Manager, Technical Marketing

We redid the Appian Functions page with a robust lookup table that makes browsing and searching through our library of functions faster and more effective. Check it out!

Mischa DeNola, Manager, Information Development

The new revised and expanded UX Design Guide is a collection of best practices and recommendations for creating attractive and usable interfaces.

Mischa DeNola, Manager, Information Development

With so many new and improved components and functions, we decided to update every single interface recipe to use all modern features so you can hit the ground running with all the cool new stuff in 17.2.

Mischa DeNola, Manager, Information Development

Working with process models can be complex, which is why we've provided a handy page that will walk you through where to investigate problems, how to solve some common issues you might encounter, and what to look out for.

Mischa DeNola, Manager, Information Development

Save time, improve confidence, and get more out of the new test-case feature with this new guidance and best pratices for testing expression rules in Appian.

Mischa DeNola, Manager, Information Development