Appian Release Notes

Automation

Low-Code RPA

Optimize your RPA executions

Orchestrating robotic process executions from process models is more efficient and powerful than ever. When processing a batch of items, you don't need to design inflexible loops in your robotic process. Instead, just launch each item directly from your process model and we'll automatically skip setup and clean up activities when running consecutive executions of the same robotic process.

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Using process models allows for more robust and responsive exception handling. If an execution runs into a system exception or business exception you can use the full power of process modeling to define exception flows and human escalation on an item-by-item basis.

Launching robotic executions directly from a process model (as opposed to running scheduled executions) better utilizes your RPA resources since there's no unnecessary downtime waiting for a scheduled run. We also ensure your critical SLAs are met since the agent isn't stuck looping over a long list of items and can pick up a higher priority request right away.

Want to learn more about optimal design patterns using process models and robotic processes? Check out our recommended design patterns for more information.

Switch between multiple browsers

Robotic processes can now seamlessly switch between two different browsers, even different browser types, during a single execution. Now you can manage multiple applications across tabs and browsers to meet your use cases.

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Dynamic reservation of credentials

Managing credentials with your executions is now easier than ever. Use our new low-code capability to dynamically select from a pool of available credentials for the specified application. Use this capability when looking to parallelize executions across multiple resources, while enforcing that each resource picks up a unique credential.

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Preview: Build browser automations faster with the Task Recorder

What's the most intuitive and efficient way to develop a robotic process? Recording each step as you would normally do it. With our new task recorder, you can create a robotic process simply by interacting with your web browser. A step is recorded each time you click or type, and it's easy to identify which elements you want to extract data from, too. This tool has all the relevant functionality of the Selenium IDE tool, except it's automatically installed on your resource without any separate setup and you can launch it directly from the workflow designer.

This tool is currently available to all RPA customers in preview mode. All of the most common types of interactions are supported in Chrome and Edge. Stay tuned for additional functionality and browser support in future releases.

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Handle slow web apps and pop-ups more easily

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The Wait for an attribute browser action now provides even more power and flexibility. When an element is not found in the specified wait time, you can now store the result as a boolean variable and use it later in the workflow. Use this capability to check if an element exists without generating an exception if the element isn't found. This is beneficial when handling intermittent pop-ups, or to check if certain elements have been loaded before proceeding.

Make RPA libraries even easier to use

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Java developers creating low-code RPA libraries can now use checkboxes, radio buttons, and dropdowns to define action inputs. We are making this possible by allowing enums to be used within the library framework. These new inputs make it faster and easier for low-code developers to use your libraries when building robotic processes.

Robotic Workforce Manager

View BluePrism logs in RWM

You can now view your Blue Prism activity directly within RWM. Investigating a work item exception from Blue Prism? No problem. Get access to this directly from within RWM to get context, trace the history of bot activity, and identify the root of the error.

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Expanded Blue Prism scheduling capabilities

Now get finer control of scheduling Blue Prism bots right from Appian. Business users can schedule Blue Prism bots with a wider range of scheduling scenarios directly from within RWM, like having bots run every 15 minutes, or every hour during the business day. Previously, these extended capabilities were only available within Blue Prism directly.

These new capabilities are highly flexible and include scheduling bots to run every selected number of minutes, hours, or days. These new recurrences can be limited to a scheduled start time within one day, across several days, or multiple times a week. They can also be set to run indefinitely, and only run on weekdays, weekends, or specific days of the week.

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Document Processing

Built-in table extraction (preview)

We've expanded Appian's built-in document extraction features to include table extraction. Automate the processing of line items from invoices, purchase orders, and many other types of forms, all without the documents leaving Appian. We've enjoyed using it to support document processing internally at Appian, and look forward to hearing how you use it. Let us know at idp_preview@appian.com.

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As always, we continue to support automated extraction from a wide range of documents, whether you choose Google's Document AI service or the built-in convenience of Appian.

Leverage the latest improvements from Google

You'll now see better extraction results when using Google thanks to recent improvements in their services and our added support for Google GA v1 form parser.

We'll continue to provide support for the latest document processing services so you'll get quick access to even more improvements and capabilities.

Use IDP without Google AutoML

Want to use IDP with only native Appian services? Want to quickly set up IDP to try out? Can't use Google services? With IDP 1.6, you can install and configure IDP to work with Appian's built-in extraction and no external dependencies.

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In channel configuration, if no Google AutoML is configured, you can use the Extraction Only workflow, which now allows multiple document types. These document types can be pre-classified or manually classified through Appian tasks. If Google AutoML is set up, then the Classification and Extraction workflow will be available again during channel configuration.

Low-code data

Last release, we introduced major improvements to Appian Records that make building your applications faster and easier. In this release, we've continued this mission so more data structures and business scenarios can take advantage of the power of data sync.

Sync 1,000,000 rows of data

We know your enterprise data can be large and complex, which is why we're excited to announce that we've doubled the number of rows a record type can sync from a source—from 500,000 to 1,000,000 rows. This means you can use, relate, and transform more of your data, all without sacrificing performance.

Connect more of your data

Not only can you leverage more of your data in Appian, you can also relate more of your enterprise data with new one-to-many record type relationships.

With this addition, you can now use a low-code experience to establish one-to-many, many-to-one, and one-to-one relationships between your data—including data from different source types. As you configure your relationships, you can be confident that you're setting up the proper relationship type using the new data preview.

Since you can relate more of your data, we've also made it easier to configure your relationships with new Suggested Relationships. Now, any time you add a relationship to a record type, the inverse relationship will be suggested on the related record type. With just the click of a button, these new relationships will be configured for you.

Once you define your relationships, you can use your related data to build powerful queries and reports. When you use related data from a one-to-many relationship, you can leverage the a!relatedRecordData() function to return the exact data you need.

This new function allows you to filter, sort, and limit related record data returned from a one-to-many relationship. For example, use this function to return the latest order associated with each customer, or a list of open orders for each customer. You can use this function to manipulate the data returned in a query or in a read-only grid.

Not only can you display your related record data, you can also aggregate the data in your one-to-many relationships using (1) a new custom record field template and (2) new enhancements to a!measure().

Using custom record fields

Custom record fields allow you to transform your existing record data into new fields on the record type. With new one-to-many relationships, you can now create custom record fields using your related record data with the new Aggregate Related Record Fields template.

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This template allows you to aggregate related data from a one-to-many relationship. For example, you can use this template to calculate the number of items in each order, or the sum of each customer order. Once you create the custom record field, you can easily reuse this aggregation in your grids, charts, queries, and more.

Using a!measure

We've also enhanced the a!measure() function so you can aggregate and filter your data directly in your reports.

Using the familiar function, you can now add filter conditions to your aggregations in a query or in your records-powered charts. Use Design Mode to configure your charts and discover how fast it can be to build advanced reports with layers of information.

We've even added a new aggregation function to a!measure() so you can count the number of distinct values. Now, you can aggregate and filter your related data, and you have more ways to calculate and analyze your data.

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Configure and customize record actions

So far, we've mentioned some major enhancements that make it easier for you to access, relate, and transform your enterprise data. But we've done more than that. We've also made it easier to integrate your enterprise processes with new improvements to record actions.

Auto-generated record actions

Record actions are a powerful low-code capability that lets you easily integrate your business processes so users can take informed action while viewing record data. Now, it's even easier to incorporate your processes since Appian can create and configure common record actions for you.

Choose whether your action should enable users to create, update, or delete records. Then we'll handle the rest: configuring the record action, using existing objects or creating new design objects, and even naming your new objects with the appropriate application prefix.

We've also made it easier to generate and manage actions by moving both related actions and record list actions to a single spot. You'll find them in a new Record Actions tab in the record type.

Multiple record list actions

It's not only easier to create your record actions, you can also create more of them. In this release, you now have the flexibility to add multiple record list actions on your record type. This allows users to start multiple processes directly from the record list.

Customize action dialog size

After you create your record actions, a common next step is to define how those actions are opened. When you choose to open a record action in a dialog, you can now define the size of the dialog. With options of small, medium, or large, you can choose the perfect fit for each of your record actions.

Easily find record field dependents

As you reference more and more of your record data throughout your applications, we know you need an easy way to see which objects depend on your data.

In this release, you can now see every place a record field is referenced with just a single click. Use the new record field dependents to see which objects would be affected by changes to your data model.

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Improved troubleshooting when syncing from a web service

When you sync from a web service, you'll now receive more detailed error messages whenever there is an issue with the integration.

You also have the flexibility to define a rate limit on your record types to determine how frequently API requests are made to the source system when a sync occurs. With these new improvements, you can be confident that your records will sync successfully and find it easier to troubleshoot issues.

Data sync enabled by default

With the ability to sync more data and do more with your data, enabling data sync will allow you to build your applications faster with even faster data. With these new enhancements, we've decided to make data sync enabled by default on all new record types.

When you configure the source of a record type, you'll see a new step in the configuration that shows data sync selected by default.

Simple chart configuration

In addition to the major enhancements we've made to data sync and its related features, we've also made some smaller improvements to help you build and use your records. This includes new Design Mode improvements that make it easier to configure your charts and reports.

Simplified sorting

When configuring your records-powered charts, you can now quickly configure sort behavior using Design Mode.

Instead of writing an expression, simply select the field to sort by and the order in which to sort. You can even add multiple sorts on your chart to collect insights faster.

Auto-refresh

We've even made it easier to keep your data up-to-date. In this release, we've added the same refresh behavior available in a!refreshVariable() directly in your charts.

You can configure your charts to refresh on an interval, when variables in the interface change, or after a record action. This means you can incorporate your business processes directly in your reports and instantly see the results in your charts.

Save more user filters

But it's not just developers who will appreciate the enhancements in this release. Application users will too now that they can save up to 20 user filters on the record list and read-only grids.

Build with low-code

Introducing connected systems for data sources

Connected systems have provided an easy way to store credentials and connection information for integrations since 17.3. Now you can use connected systems to connect to data sources as well.

In the past, you could only manage data source details in the Admin Console. Storing this information in a connected system instead provides a variety of benefits, including:

  • Control access to your data source details using object-level security.
  • Deploy authentication information for data sources across environments.
  • Rename data sources without having to manually update all of the objects that refer to the data source.

And if you use an Appian Cloud database, administrators can now create new schemas in the Appian Cloud database to control access to data using schemas and connected systems together.

UI power

We're giving you more power and flexibility to create UIs that your users will love. This release introduces more spacing control, an expanded icon library, a modernized date picker component, accessible chart patterns, and more!

More spacing control with new margin below values

Create spacious forms and dashboards more easily using our new margin below values. We've added four values to provide finer spacing control to get the look you want. Not only will this new flexibility promote consistency, it will reduce clutter during design and make it easier to create an attractive UI.

Expanded icon library

In this release, we've added a new set of icons for you to choose from. These will provide additional flexibility and an even greater range of icons that have a clean, consistent look. Use these new icon options to help convey your message to end users.

Accessible date picker with month and year selection

We've made a number of improvements to the date component and date & time component.

  • You can now select the month and year from dropdown menus on the date picker without having to type them in.
  • The picker is now more accessible for screen reader users.
  • The components have a more modernized look that allows for faster data entry.

The changes will be automatically applied on upgrade to allow you to take advantage of this new functionality without any application design changes.

Hide character limit counter on text and paragraph fields

In 21.1, we added the ability to set an Appian-handled character limit on text and paragraph fields, saving valuable development time. In this release, you can now hide the character counter while still taking advantage of the Appian-handled validation.

Hiding the character counter while maintaining a character limit will improve the end user experience. For example, there are times where the counter is not valuable information to display, such as when it is unlikely users will hit the limit. For example, we suggest hiding the character counter for fields like “Name” or “Email Address” where users are unlikely to hit the character limit allowed for your database.

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Chart pattern fill

We always keep accessibility in mind. In this release, we've added a new User Setting that allows end users to display fill patterns on pie, bar, and column charts. Now, when end users enable this option, the charts will display data points using distinguishing textures and colors.

New interface design templates

We're committed to providing helpful templates for you to work with every release. Check out our new Short Form example to get inspiration for your next interface. It is available from the Examples section on any new interface.

Find interfaces faster with previews in Appian Designer

Names and descriptions can only do so much when you're looking at a list of objects in Appian Designer. All too often, you have to open each interface to see what's inside. Now, you can hover over the preview icon next to the interface instead. The live preview lets you identify interfaces at a glance, so you can get to work on the interface you want right away.

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Integration enhancements

Appian low-code integrations make it easy to connect your enterprise data and systems. With this release, we're continuing to expand our integration capabilities to ensure that you can connect to the APIs you need.

Improved null handling for integrations

We added a new parameter to a!toJson() called removeNullOrEmptyFields. This parameter allows you to omit any fields with null or empty values from the JSON output.

This is important for web services such as those that follow the OData protocol. These web services treat fields with null values differently from fields that aren't included in the request body at all. For these web services, not including the field means "don't modify the field," and a null value means "write a null value to the field."

There is also a new checkbox in the integration designer to leverage this functionality on HTTP integrations.

Upload and download larger binary files with integrations

We also enhanced HTTP integrations to support binary documents as large as 250 MB. This applies to both sending a file in the request body and downloading a file in the response body.

Automate best naming practices with a pre-populated prefix

With this release, you can specify a prefix when creating a new application or editing an existing application's properties. The configured prefix is pre-populated in new object names, saving development time and helping ensure that your team follows best practices for object naming conventions.

Execute more processes instances at the same time

You can now start more than 1,000 processes at the same time using Multiple Node Instances for sub-process nodes in your process flows. This makes orchestrating bulk executions of processes easier. Simply set the total number of multi-node instances, and Appian will automatically take care of making sure all items are completed.

Fewer clicks to object security

You no longer need to access the application view to set security for interfaces, expression rules, integrations, and decisions. You can now configure the security settings from the settings menu inside these objects.

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Data type properties find a new home

What do you change most frequently about your data types? It's usually the data fields, not the object properties. To give the fields the primary position on the data type page, we've moved the object properties to the settings menu. If that location seems familiar, it is — that's the same place you configure properties for other object types.

New terminology for suggested nodes in the process modeler

In the process modeler, our Appian AI predicts which smart service nodes you'll probably use next. These suggested nodes will continue to be accessed in the same places but appear under a new Suggested heading. This new labeling makes the distinction between suggested next actions and our Appian design guidance clearer.

Deploy & monitor applications

After you build or enhance your application, Appian's native DevOps capabilities make it easy to deploy your changes to production and monitor them.

Streamline deployments by adding database scripts to packages

Database scripts are now supported in packages. Instead of waiting to upload your database scripts during deployment, you can now track them in your packages as you develop. Add, remove, and reorder your scripts throughout your development process for better maintainability and a more streamlined deployment experience.

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More flexibility when deploying new applications

When directly deploying an application for the first time you can now choose between the entire application or a package for your initial deployment. Your application object will automatically be deployed with your selection to ensure a smooth deployment. This new capability will come in handy particularly when deploying connected systems as data sources.

Simplified reusable deployment workflow

Reusing an existing deployment is a great way to ensure the consistency of your deployment as you promote your changes to production. To further simplify these deployments we've removed the prompts to review security and test health for reused deployments to allow for a more streamlined deployment. Don't worry, these review prompts are still available when preparing your initial, direct deployments.

Monitor more records

Records are a cornerstone of your data making their health essential to the long term stability of your application. The health dashboard now displays record metrics at-a-glance regardless of the number of records on a system.

Mobile

Appian support for Android Application Bundle

We now automatically generate both Android Application Bundle (AAB) and Android Package (APK) files for custom mobile apps requested through the self-service Mobile Branding application. AAB is Android's new, official publishing format that automatically delivers an app optimized for each user's device. This also reduces the size of the application on the user's device. From August 2021, all new apps published on Google Play will be required to use the new AAB format.

Learn more about Android's AAB publishing format.

Administration

Hebrew language support

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

Control access to data stored in the Appian Cloud database

To provide more control over the security of data used in Appian, in this release we added a new type of connected system to store authentication details for data sources. We also added new features to control access to the data stored in the Appian Cloud database. This allows Appian Cloud customers to take full advantage of this new feature.

Create multiple schemas in the Appian Cloud database

Database Administrators can now create multiple schemas in the Appian Cloud database. This allows more control over who has access to potentially sensitive data. Just create a new schema in the database, then create a connected system that points to that schema. After that, you can control who has editor and viewer access to both the connected system details and the data stored in the database schema.

New database groups

When you upgrade to 21.3, we automatically create two new groups: Database Editors and Database Viewers. Use these groups to control the access to the Appian Cloud database through phpMyAdmin based on user needs. Learn more about how to manage access to data in Appian Cloud.

Targeted log collection for Health Check

Health Check now collects a more targeted set of logs for analysis. This improves data collection performance and reduces the size of the generated zip file. To learn more about what is collected, read our FAQ.

Prevent passwords with usernames

A new option in the Appian Administration Console allows administrators to prevent users from choosing a password that contains their own username.

Appian Cloud

Web asset endpoint

When your Appian Cloud environment is upgraded to 21.3, all clients for that environment will begin to retrieve static content resources (also referred to as web assets) from a new URL that is different from the environment's fully qualified domain name.

The new web asset endpoint will be:

  • For environments hosted in commercial regions: web-assets.appiancloud.com
  • For environments in GovCloud: web-assets-gov.appiancloud.com

Going forward, these endpoints will be used to serve static content such as product images, JavaScript, and stylesheets, among other files that are required to display your Cloud environments in your client's browsers with the lowest latency.

Ensure the appropriate endpoint is allowed on your network so that your clients continue to access your environments without service disruption after the upgrade.

Generate certificate signing requests to customize site domain

For customers wishing to use a custom domain for their Appian Cloud environments, you now have the ability to generate certificate signing requests through Self-Service Certificate Management on MyAppian.

Generating a certificate signing request is the first step towards using a custom domain in Appian Cloud. It is required to obtain a set of issued certificate files from a Certificate Authority. This feature provides an easy-to-use, guided wizard to generate a certificate signing request with the correct details required. For more information, see Manage Certificates in Appian Cloud.

Upload and validate your certificate files for deployment

For customers wishing to use a custom domain for their Appian Cloud environments, you are now able to validate issued certificate files and upload them for deployment to Appian's Cloud infrastructure through Self-Service Certificate Management on MyAppian.

This feature helps streamline the process towards using a custom domain in Appian Cloud by making it faster and easier for you to detect any potential problems with your certificate files, as well as provide them to Appian Support for deployment. To deploy your certificate files, you will still need to open a Support Case. For more information, see Manage Certificates in Appian Cloud.

Deprecations

The features below are 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 each deprecation.

Expression-backed start forms and user input tasks

Configuring your process start forms and user input tasks via an in-line expression is now deprecated. Existing expression-backed forms will continue to work as designed. To configure new forms, directly select an interface and map inputs to your process variables.

Report builder

The report builder has been deprecated and will be removed in a future release of Appian.

To easily build reports, use a record type as the source of your read-only grids and charts. Using a records-powered component, you can easily reference record data and reuse existing features configured on the record type.

Behavior Changes

The phpMyAdmin database user for Appian Cloud databases changed, which may affect SQL scripts that use DEFINER

For Appian Cloud databases, the database user for phpMyAdmin changed from "appian" to "dbadmin."

This may affect existing SQL scripts that use a "DEFINER = appian" clause to create database objects. If you have any saved SQL scripts to create database objects that use this clause, remove the DEFINER clause from the script.

This will only affect you when you are trying to recreate or update existing database objects, like views or stored procedures. It will not affect the execution of existing database objects.

For example, if you have a stored procedure in a production environment that uses the DEFINER clause, that stored procedure will still work when executed. However, if you tried to update the stored procedure, it wouldn't work unless you removed the DEFINER clause.

We recommend not using the DEFINER clause when running SQL scripts in the Appian Cloud database.

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