Create Record Actions

This page describes how to create record actions. Record actions enable your users to take action on record data in the record list and in the Related Actions list.

Overview

With Appian Records, you can use record views and a record list to provide a more comprehensive view of your data. Using these display elements, multiple users can benefit from a single record and use the record list to navigate and view the larger enterprise data.

In addition to display elements, you can use Appian Records to enable users to take action directly from the record data. Using different types of record actions, you can integrate enterprise processes so users can take informed action from the record list or when viewing the data from a record.

From the record list, you can add a record list action to start a process to add new records to the record list. For example, in a Customer Support record type, your support engineers may need to add new support cases.

Support Case with Record List Actions

Once you configure record actions on the record type, you can reference these actions in interfaces when you use a record type to power a read-only grid or use the record action component.

From the records themselves, you can add related actions so users can use the information directly from a single record to update, add, or modify its information. For example, in a Customer Support record type, you may have support engineers who need to update and resolve submitted support cases. Since each case's resolution will be different, you can add a related action to your records so support engineers can use the record's information to start a process to update and resolve the case.

Support Engineer View with Related Actions

If you are working with an existing record type created in 20.2 or earlier, update the record type to use new record type object components, features, and functions.

Record list actions

Record list actions are links to process models the user can start directly from the record list.

Record list actions can be configured to open in a dialog box, the same tab, or a new tab. After completing a record list action, users return to the record list. When actions are configured to open in a dialog, any user filter values are remembered when returning to the record list.

A common use case is to add an action to create a new record. This allows users to leverage the record list search to ensure the record in question does not already exist. It also allows developers to use their five site pages more efficiently by combining record and action functionality.

By default, record list actions display on the record list. Optionally, you can also configure record list actions to display in interfaces.

Related actions are links to process models the user can start directly from a record using information from that record. We call that information the context for the related action. For example, within a customer record, there might be a related action to enter a new order for that customer or to update the customer information.

Related action process models are the same as any other process model, except for a start-form restriction; if the process model has a start form, that form must be a SAIL form. Since record types that use a process model as their source derive related actions from the process model's quick tasks, this restriction doesn't apply to quick tasks.

By default, related actions display in the Related Actions view. Optionally, you can configure related actions to display in other record views.

To learn more about how related actions work from records, see Starting Processes From an Interface.

Record action properties

You can configure the following properties for record actions:

Property

Description

Display Name

Specify a display name using one of the following options:

  • Select Enter name, and enter a display name.
  • Select Use expression, and enter an expression for a dynamic display name.
  • (Related actions only) Select Use process model name. The display name will correspond to the name of the process model you select for this action.

This name is displayed on the button or link that initiates the action. Follow the recommended naming standard when creating a display name for the action.

Key

Verify the value. Appian auto-generates this value from the Display Name. This key is used to reference record actions within SAIL components.

Description

Enter a description of the record action.

  • For record list actions, this text displays in a tooltip when hovering on the record list action button.
  • For related actions, this text displays with the Display Name in the Related Actions view. If the display name is using the process model name, the description will automatically use the process model description.

Icon

Select the icon you want to display with the action in either the record list or the Related Actions view. The default "plus" is a good choice when adding a new record.

Dialog Box Size

Choose which size dialog box to open your action in. For manually configured actions, Large is selected by default. For generated actions, Large is selected for Create and Update actions, and Small is selected for Delete actions.

This setting is only applied if you configure the action to open in a Dialog Box. Configure how record list actions are opened in the Open Actions In property. Configure how related actions are opened in each record view or in a record action component.

Process Model

Select the process model you want to use as a record action. The security for the process model determines who can perform the action.

Context

(Related actions only) Configure the parameters. The process parameters from your selected process model are pre-populated with their values set to null. Replace null with the value you want to pass to the process model's parameter.

You do not need to include all parameters from the process model; only include the parameters you need for the related action, and remove the rest. If you make changes to the process parameters later, you'll need to manually update this field.

Visibility

To further control when the record action displays to users, update this expression field. The action will only be visible when the expression evaluates to true for the user.

Required supporting objects

Any record action requires the creation and configuration of the following design objects:

  • A process model that represents the workflow of the action.
  • An interface that users will use to change the record data.
  • A custom data type (CDT) that stores the changed record data.
  • A data store that communicates the changed record data from the CDT to the data source.
  • A constant to reference the data store in expression rules.

A related action also requires the following design object:

  • An expression rule that returns individual records from the CDT based on record ID.

In addition, best design practices recommend using the following supporting objects:

  • A group for application administrators, which will be used to configure permissions for the administrators of the required objects.
  • A group for application users, which will be used to configure permissions for users of the process model.
  • Application-specific folders to store the required objects.
  • An expression rule that customizes the name of running instances of the process model.

Add a record action

If you have a database table with data sync enabled as the source of your record type, Appian can generate common record actions for that record type using basic information you provide. Common record actions include creating a record, updating a record, and deleting a record. The generated action uses existing objects or creates new objects to meet the object requirements and follow best design practices for the action.

You'll need to create the required objects, then configure the action manually in the record type if any of the following is true:

  • Your record type uses a source other than a database table.
  • You do not have data sync enabled for your database table.
  • You want to add more than the common actions listed above.

Generate a new record action

You must enable data sync for the record type to use this feature.

To generate a record action:

  1. In your record type, go to Record Actions.
  2. Click GENERATE A RECORD ACTION.
  3. Click the tile representing the action you want to add:
    • CREATE: Allows users to create a record as a record list action.
    • UPDATE: Allows users to update a record as a related action.
    • DELETE: Allows users to update a record as a related action.
  4. Click NEXT.
  5. Review the suggested values for the following properties, and change as needed:

    Property Description
    Display Name Specifies a name for the action. This name is displayed on the button or link that initiates the action. Follow the recommended naming standard when creating this name.
    Icon Specifies the icon you want to display with the button or link that initiates the action.
    Description Specifies a brief description of the action. For record list actions, this text displays in a tooltip when hovering on the record list action button. For related actions, this text displays with the Display Name in the Related Actions view.
    Application Specifies the application where you want Appian to search for existing objects or create new objects to support this action. If the record type is associated with a single application, this property is read-only. If the record type is associated with more than one application in your Appian environment, the value defaults to the current application, but you can select a different application from the dropdown list. If the record type isn't associated with any application, select an application from the dropdown list.
  6. Click NEXT.
  7. Review the objects that Appian will use for your new action, and make any necessary changes:

    Object

    Can
    Rename
    ?

    Can
    Replace
    ?

    Workflow

    Process model

    Yes

    No

    Interface

    Yes

    No

    Expression rule (custom name of process instances)

    Yes

    No

    Expression rule (individual records by record ID)

    Yes

    Yes

    Data

    CDT

    Yes

    Yes

    Data store

    Yes

    Yes

    Constant

    Yes

    Yes

    Security and Organization

    Group (application administrators)

    Yes

    Yes

    Group (application users)

    Yes

    Yes

    Folders

    Yes

    Yes

    Existing objects are marked with the info circle icon.

    To change an object:

    • Click pencil-icon next to the object.
    • Continue as appropriate:

      Change Action

      Rename a generated object.

      • Click Rename from the dropdown menu. The object name becomes an editable text box.
      • Enter a new name in the the text box.

      Change the namespace for a generated CDT.

      • Click Rename from the dropdown menu. The Namespace property becomes an editable text box.
      • Enter a new namespace.

      Change the name of the data store entity in the generated data store.

      • Click Rename from the dropdown menu. The Datastore Entity property becomes an editable text box.
      • Enter a new name for the datastore entity. Changing the name does not change the relationship between the entity and the data store; the entity remains the selected CDT.

      Replace a generated object with an existing object.

      • Click Replace with existing object. The object name becomes a dropdown list.
      • In the object dropdown list, select an existing object.

      Replace an existing object with a generated object.

      • Click Replace with generated object. The object name becomes an editable text box.
      • Enter a name for the generated object.
  8. Click GENERATE ACTION. Appian generates the action, creating and/or configuring the objects you reviewed. For details about these objects, see Generated process models and Generated interfaces.
  9. Click CLOSE. Your new action displays in the Record List Actions or Related Actions section as appropriate.
  10. (Record list actions only) Under Open Actions In, specify how the record list action should open. By default, Dialog Box is selected.

    The related Dialog Box Size property is set based on the type of generated action. Large is selected for Create and Update actions, and Small is selected for Delete actions.

  11. Click SAVE CHANGES.
  12. (Related actions only) Set the Open Actions In property for each view. By default, Dialog is selected.

Generated process models

When you generate a record action, Appian creates a new process model for the action.

The generated process model is automatically configured in the following ways:

  • The Process Display Name is set to the relevant generated expression rule.
  • The Process Priority is set to Normal.
  • The following process variables are configured:

    Process Variable Type Parameter?
    cancel Boolean Yes
    record selected CDT Yes
  • The generated interface is configured as the process start form.
  • The following nodes are present in the process model:

    Node Description
    Start Node Initiates the process, using the interface selected during action generation.
    XOR Gateway Handles the use case where the user chooses to cancel out of the start form. This node evaluates the incoming cancel process variable to determine whether to proceed to the next node (false) or the End Event (true).
    Write to Data Store Entity (Create and Update actions only) Handles the use case where the user submits new record data via the start form. This node writes data from the incoming record process variable (mapped to the node inputs) to the data store entity selected during action generation (mapped to the node outputs).
    Delete from Data Store Entities (Delete actions only) Handles the use case where the user deletes the record. This node deletes the record identified in the incoming record process variable from the data source.
    End Node Terminates the process.
  • The Alert Recipients property for the process model is set to the application administrators group selected during action generation.
  • The Automatic Process Clean-Up property is set to delete processes seven days after completion or cancellation.

Appian assigns security for the generated process model as follows:

Group Permission Level
Application administrators group you selected Process Administrator
Application users group you selected Viewer

Generated interfaces

The generated Create and Update interfaces include the following components:

  • A Form Layout component with the Label property set to a combination of an appropriate verb ("Create" or "Update") and the record type (for example, "Customer".)
  • The following rule inputs:

    Rule Input Type
    cancel Boolean
    record selected CDT

    The record rule input is configured as the selected CDT, because record types can be used as rule inputs in read-only interfaces only.

  • An editable component for each field in the record type, with the Display Value and Save Input To properties set to the record rule input fields.
  • A Cancel button with the Save Value To property set to the cancel rule input.
  • A Submit button with the properties set to the default values.

The generated Delete interface includes the following components:

  • A Form Layout component wth the Label property set to the default text, "Delete record?"
  • A Paragraph component containing the default text, "Submitting this form will delete your record. The data will no longer exist."
  • A Boolean cancel rule input.
  • A Cancel button with the Save Value To property set to the cancel rule input.
  • A Delete button with the properties set to the default values.

The generated interfaces inherit security from the folders where they're stored. If your interfaces are stored in a folder Appian generated for you, the inherited security is as follows:

Group Permission Level
Application administrators group you selected Administrator
Application users group you selected Viewer

Configure a new record action manually

To configure a record action manually:

  1. In your record type, go to Record Actions.
  2. Under Record List Actions or Related Actions, click Configure a Record Action Manually.
  3. Configure the record action properties.

    For example, the following is the manual configuration of a record list action:

    Create New Record List Action

    The following is the manual configuration of a related action:

    Create New Related Action

  4. Click OK. Your new action displays in the Record List Actions or Related Actions section as appropriate.
  5. (Record list actions only) Under Open Actions In, specify how the action should open. By default, DIALOG BOX is selected, and the Dialog Box Size property configured for the action will be applied.
  6. Click SAVE CHANGES.

Display a record action

After you create an action in the record type, you can determine where the action appears as described in the following table:

Location Description Record List Action Related Action
Record list By default, record list actions display as buttons on the record list. When viewing your application on mobile, only the first record list action will be available on the record list. Yes No
Related Actions view By default, all related actions configured for a record type are available in a record's Related Actions view. This record view is configured out-of-the-box on the record type, so you cannot modify it; however, you can hide the Related Actions view, if needed. No Yes
Record views Related actions can display to end users as buttons on any record view, using related action shortcuts. No Yes
Interfaces Record actions can display anywhere in your interfaces, using the record action component or the recordActions parameter of records-powered grids. Yes Yes

When viewing your application on mobile, if you're using a record type as the source of a read-only grid in an interface, you can see and use all actions configured in the recordActions parameter of your grid.

To display related actions on a record view, you will use related action shortcuts, which are configured on the record view.

To display a related action as a button on a record view:

  1. In your record type, go to Views and Header.
  2. Open the desired record view.
  3. Under Related Action Shortcuts, a list of available related actions appear.
  4. Select the checkbox next to the related actions you want to display on the view.

    Related actions from Quick Tasks won't show up in this list.

  5. Under Open Shortcuts In, choose how the related action should open. By default, Dialog Box is selected and the Dialog Box Size configured on the related action will be applied.

    screenshot of editing the view and related action shortcut

  6. Click OK.
  7. Click SAVE CHANGES.

Users will see the selected related actions as buttons when they are on that particular record view.

Update a record action

To update a record action:

  1. In your record type, go to Record Actions.
  2. Under Record List Actions or Related Actions, click edit icon next to the action you want to update.

  3. In the Edit Action window, configure the record action properties.
  4. Click OK.
  5. Click SAVE CHANGES.

Delete a record action

Deleting a record action does not delete the objects supporting the record action.

To delete a record action:

  1. In your record type, go to Record Actions.
  2. Under Record List Actions or Related Actions, click delete icon next to the action you want to delete.
  3. Click Delete to confirm the deletion.
  4. Click SAVE CHANGES.
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