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Appian Release Notes

Discovery

Appian Process Mining helps you gain insights into how your processes actually work. These insights drive your ability to continuously improve business processes, make data-driven decisions, and prioritize optimization opportunities that offer you the most value.

We’ve introduced several capabilities that unify the power of Process Mining and the rest of our platform, improved your experience using lists and filters, and added new, more flexible ways to prepare your data for mining.

Uncover cost savings in your processes with savings scorecards

You can now use savings scorecards to calculate and track how the new efficiencies from implementing Process Mining insights result in cost savings over time.

Savings Scorecard

Additionally, you can set a custom savings goal and monitor your progress towards it. Process Mining even lets you know if you are on track to meet your goal with projected savings and anticipated goal dates based on your process data. All of this information is displayed in a compact format that’s designed for you to quickly share with leaders in your organization.

Savings scorecards and Appian Process Mining offer data-driven insights that enable you to prioritize improvements that deliver the maximum value to your organization.

Mine your Appian applications with our built-in connection

You can now use synced record types as a data source, so you can more quickly and securely discover insights into your Appian applications. Using this new built-in connection, you can tap into the data you’re already using to rapidly discover optimization opportunities and uncover insights into process metrics.

Record Data Source

Want to track how much your Appian application is saving you over time with a savings scorecard? Now, all you need to do is point at the record type containing your audit log, load it into Process Mining, and you’re ready to go.

Instantly generate workflow from a discovered model

You can now turn any discovered model into an Appian process that mirrors your existing workflow. Simply click GENERATE WORKFLOW and we'll create a new process model that serves as a jumping off point for future Appian development.

This new capability uses the power of Appian to breathe life into your process visualizations, so you can quickly implement and execute business processes to solve real problems and automate manual work.

Generate Workflow

Match complex data patterns with regular expressions

We’ve added a new match pattern transformation action to our data preparation capabilities. This new action lets you use regular expressions (regex) to match complex data patterns and extract the results into new columns with greater flexibility.

You can use this capability to extract attributes or to standardize data in your data set’s columns. For example, you can use a simple regex pattern to extract usernames from email addresses and create a new attribute column based on that data.

This builds on the existing match transformation action to offer even greater flexibility and precision when you’re transforming process data.

Redesigned lists for data preparation

In this release, we’re carrying over the new and improved lists from Process Mining to our data preparation capabilities. You’ll notice that these lists now search and sort more intuitively and with better performance. You’ll also notice improved stability when selecting multiple rows of data.

With these improvements, interacting with the information you’re most interested in is faster and more consistent throughout all of Appian Process Mining.

Screenshot of Transformation Project tab

Improved filter reliability

Filters are a powerful way to narrow your focus with large sets of data, and they are now more accurate, reliable, and accessible in Process Mining.

We’ve made improvements behind the scenes, so you can now reliably apply and delete filters to hone your analysis into important process metrics and optimization opportunities.

Additionally, you’ll notice that we’ve enhanced the lists in filter option windows to give you a better experience searching, sorting, and selecting multiple rows of data.

Screenshot of Filter lists tab

Process automation

Process automation combines people, technologies, and data into a streamlined and unified workflow; tackle a variety of business challenges so you can free up your human workforce to focus on more impactful work.

In this release, you'll find many enhancements that make it easier to set up and monitor robots, sign into virtual machines, and new RPA terminology that makes it easier to communicate with others on your team.

Robotic process automation

Sign in automatically to run robotic tasks

With this release, you can now allow Appian to sign in to your virtual machine (VM) on demand and automatically so it can execute a robotic task. This is an extension of the capability we first released in RPA 8.6.

If your business uses unattended automation, you may have been challenged to maintain a set of robots that remain available for when a robotic task needs to execute. On top of these scalability concerns, you may have had to consider the privileges associated with the account used to sign in to the host machine.

This feature helps you address those challenges with ease. When you enable this option, Appian uses designated credentials to sign in to your robot and launch the agent as the designated user. Once the agent is online, the robotic task begins. And once it’s done and determines there’s no other work to do, Appian will sign out as well, keeping your robots secure and responsive to your automation needs.

rpa-8.7-auto-sign-in

Appian's automatic sign-in service can also bypass Windows interactive logon screens, enabling you to meet your automation needs without compromising security.

To do this, we added a checkbox called Skip interactive logon message to the configuration options. You can find the configuration options on the Robot detail page in the RPA console. When you mark the checkbox, Appian acknowledges and moves past the message when signing in to start a robotic task.

View simple robot statuses

In a well-run automation practice, clear information is vital to quick action. If a robot isn't available to run a robotic task, you need to know why and how to get it back to where you want it to be.

In this release, we've updated robot statuses with clarity and action in mind. Now, when you look at the list of RPA robots, you'll see a clear indicator of what each robot is doing (or not doing).

Additionally, we've added helpful tooltips to explain statuses that you may not have encountered before. This way, you'll know just what to do to resolve a status that's not what you want it to be.

Set up robots more quickly

Speed is top of mind in any automation practice. Not just in the design or execution of robotic tasks, but also in the setup and configuration of your systems.

In this release, we've made it faster and simpler to set up your robots. After you create a robot in the RPA console and complete a few prerequisites, you'll download a bundle of the relevant installation files, such as the agent and automatic sign-in service. A guided wizard walks you through the installation process and takes care of the rest of the configurations in the background.

rpa-8.8-installer.png

You'll save time and effort by installing both items at once in the location of your choice. After just a few clicks, you're ready to start running robotic tasks.

Terminology updates

We made some changes to the terms we use in our RPA console and RPA documentation to make things easier for everyone to understand. These terms are more common in the automation industry, and more clearly indicate how and when to use RPA elements in your applications. This means you can learn about Appian RPA faster and new users can get started with Appian RPA more quickly.

You’ll notice that robotic processes are now called robotic tasks. As part of this change, robotic subprocesses are now called robotic subtasks. The way things work and what they mean has stayed the same.

We’ve also replaced the word resource with these two words: robot and host machine. This change separates the robot from its workspace which makes it easier to talk about these pieces separately. A robot is a digital worker that has two parts: a host machine and an agent. The host machine is a physical computer or a virtual machine on a cloud server where the robot does its tasks.

rpa-8.9-newterms-dashboard.png

Improved visibility into process design

This release, we’re highlighting the extensibility of the Appian platform and helping you to better understand how you’re using smart services plug-ins in process models. When a smart service is available via a plug-in rather than out-of-the-box, you’ll see an icon in the smart service palette and a badge in the node properties.

Now, you can be more intentional about how you use plug-ins in processes. And, you can more efficiently troubleshoot issues by heading straight to the plug-in’s developer docs or the AppMarket for more information.

We’ve also made it easier to get a full picture of validations and guidance with the expandable message pane in the Process Modeler.

More expression power

In addition to our RPA and process model improvements, this release brings two new functions that allow you to validate and format your phone numbers, and new savable test cases that make testing your expressions a breeze.

Verify and format phone numbers

Phone numbers are needed in a wide variety of apps, and it's important to ensure contact information is stored consistently—especially with phone numbers from more than one country.

So we’re introducing two new functions to make it easier to verify and format any phone number. a!isPhoneNumber() lets you quickly validate a provided phone number based on a specific country code, and a!formatPhoneNumber() standardizes the format in which your phone numbers appear.

Test expressions in a flash

Testing is vital to developing healthy applications. This release, we’ve optimized your expression rule testing experience. With the click of a button, you can load a test case directly in the Ad Hoc test pane and go! Quickly test how your rule will handle different scenarios and easily iterate on your design.

Portals

With Appian Portals, it’s easy to build beautiful and insightful web apps that can reach any audience your organization works with, without requiring a user account or login. This release, we've got a lot in store that developers will love: the ability to connect to records like never before, new portal navigation and branding features, time-saving capabilities, and much more.

Build portals faster with Appian Records and a!startProcess()

This release, we've made it even easier to build your portals. Now, you can create an entire portal without building custom integrations. Just use Appian Records and a!startProcess() to create your data-rich portals.

Power portals with record queries

Now that you can use a!queryRecordType() directly in a portal interface, querying and displaying record data in portals is simpler and more streamlined than ever. Using record queries to power your components, you can empower your users to quickly find important information and get valuable insights fast.

Seamlessly connect portals to your processes

You can now start any process directly from a portal interface using the a!startProcess() function. This powerful function allows you to do everything possible with an Appian process model—from writing and deleting records to creating new users.

Additional protection for high levels of portal traffic

Portals already include denial-of-service protections to ensure your web apps are always available to your users—even with high levels of traffic. And now, support for a!queryRecordType() and a!startProcess() in your portals provides an additional layer of protection. Rest assured that unexpected increases in portal traffic won’t impact any logged-in Appian users when you use these functions in a portal interface.

Make sure portals have access to the right data

We also added an easy way to review the records that your portal service account can access so you can easily see what records are able to be shown in the portal. You can even update the record security without ever leaving the portal!

Build branded, multi-page portals

It’s easier than ever to build a great user experience that your customers will recognize, using the branding options you know and love from sites. Now, you can add a header bar to your portal and style it with a color and logo.

Additionally, you can add up to five pages to your portal, allowing you to connect with your users in more ways. Display data, start actions, and empower your portal users—all from one beautiful, information-dense web app.

The page navigation controls responsively move from the header bar to a menu on narrower screens, providing a great user experience for navigating portals on mobile devices and small screens.

Configure your portals with ease

This release, we’re excited to introduce multiple features that will make configuring your portal a breeze.

To make sure you can always see the branding preview while configuring your portal, the configuration pane now scrolls separately from the preview.

You can also use the interactive header in the branding preview to see how your branding changes will look on each page before publishing your portal.

Additionally, we've given system administrators an easier way to create new service accounts—directly from the portal object.

Not only that, but you can now leverage warnings and recommendations when configuring your portal to help you successfully publish your portals every time.

Automatically publish portals

In addition to improving how you build your portal, we’re also simplifying the publishing experience to help you publish beautiful portals in even fewer steps. Anytime you update an object that your published portal relies on, we’ll automatically republish to make sure your portal always reflects the latest updates.

Build portals for healthcare with HITRUST certification

Portals are now included under the Appian platform's HITRUST certification. Use portals to capture protected health information and get the peace of mind that comes with the industry-standard certification for HIPAA compliance.

Monitor portal performance with new metrics

To help you understand the status and performance of your published portals, we now capture key data metrics like number of requests, number of errors, and request latency. View and act on these important usage indicators to ensure your portals are available to your users and operating as expected.

Data Fabric

Appian’s data fabric stitches together data from any system into a single, flexible data model, while keeping your data where it is. In this release, you’ll find more ways to secure, transform, and monitor your enterprise data.

Centralized and simplified record security

Starting this release, you can secure all aspects of your records in one place—the Security section of your record type. Quickly specify who can see which records with record-level security, then choose which record views they can see and what actions they can perform on those records.

What’s more, we’ve added no-code security rules on record views. Just answer two questions: Who can see it? And when?

Choose users found in groups, users found in User or Group fields, or a combination of the two. Then, specify when the view appears—ensuring that only the right users see the right views at the right time.

Once you’re done, your security configurations are displayed in plain language so it’s easy to understand and maintain your configurations.

Generate multiple record actions at once

It’s quick and easy to set up a process model and all its supporting objects when you generate a record action. Now, we’ve made it even faster by allowing you to generate multiple record actions with the click of a button.

As always, we’ll generate the supporting objects using our best practices and naming conventions. We’ll even evaluate whether the objects we’re generating can be shared and reused across the actions, giving you fewer objects to maintain.

With the Customize option, you can still choose your own objects to use in the actions or change the default names of the generated objects.

Make more database changes directly from the record type

With codeless data modeling, we continue to simplify data design so that anyone can develop like a database expert.

This release, we’re making it even easier to keep your data structure and your database tables aligned. Now, when you use codeless data modeling to edit the name of an existing record field or delete it from the record type, we’ll automatically reflect those changes in your source.

Not only that, when you add a relationship to your record type, we’ll configure the common field as a foreign key in the database, so you can be confident in your data’s integrity.

Speaking of relationships, when you add User type fields to your data structure, we’ll generate a relationship to the User record type so you can seamlessly reference user data.

Reorder record type configurations with drag-and-drop

Drag and drop in the record type now makes it quick and easy for developers to organize record fields, user filters, record actions, and more. Simply drag and drop rows to the exact place you want them.

Powered up Custom Field functions

We’ve improved and expanded our list of Custom Field functions to make your real-time custom record fields even more powerful.

Combine data across multiple record types, and even across data sources, with the a!customFieldConcat() function. This new function lets you concatenate your record field and related record field values into a single value.

We’ve also expanded our list of operators in a!customFieldCondition() so you can create conditions that compare text, numbers, or dates.

And we’re introducing the a!customFieldLogicalExpression() function so that you can determine how multiple conditions are evaluated. Check out this recipe to see how you can use this function to return different statuses.

More filter options in aggregated custom record fields

We’re excited about our new refinements to one of the most popular custom record field templates, Aggregate Related Record Fields.

Now, constants can help you easily manage your filter values when filtering aggregations. Simply create a constant for the filter values and enjoy the benefits of standardized and easily updated data.

Also, when you add multiple filter conditions against one-to-many data, you can now select the AND_ALL operator. This way you can be sure you’re only aggregating on the field values that meet all your specified conditions.

Fine-tune your query results from the query editor

Each release, we continue to improve the query editor, and this release is no exception.

Reduce the manual adjustments you need after generating your queries by specifying whether you want the data, the total count, or all query properties. Most scenarios require just data, so that’s what we use as the default.

Additionally, any data limit you provide will now preview right in the query editor, so you can be sure you’re only returning the data you need.

Enhanced sync status monitoring

We’ve made it easier to view details about your most recent synced record types on the Record Sync Status page. Now, the page sorts the most recent synced record types at the top by default. You can also see the exact date and time of your last sync, as well as the total number of synced rows, at a glance.

Even faster record data

We’re committed to making records the fastest way to work with your enterprise data. And this release, you’ll experience performance improvements whenever you cast or query your record data.

We've dramatically improved the performance of casting to a record data type list. For large lists of data, we've seen improvements up to 110x faster. Whether you are converting business data in a process model or working with user inputs, your records will be available in an instant.

You’ll also find querying a record is up to 35% faster. With speedy single-record queries, you can spend less time waiting and more time interacting with the record data you need.

Interfaces

We know it’s not just about what you build, but how you build it. This release, we’re empowering you to build better by bringing more flexibility and adaptability to application design.

Curate a design library

With our new design library feature, your organization can curate a collection of tailor-made layouts and components that allow you to easily govern interface design, promote best practices, and create a consistent user experience in every application.

A new tab in the interface palette lets you drag and drop from the design library so that you can seamlessly incorporate your design standards into any interface.

Our new interface expression highlighting allows you to understand the construction of an interface at a glance and navigate through complex expressions easily.

Simply click an interface component in the EDIT tab of Expression Mode, and we’ll highlight the corresponding expression in the expression editor.

Create flexible UIs with more design choices

We’re continuing our mission to give you the most versatile components for your interfaces. This release, you’ll find that cards, billboards, record actions, and grids are more adaptable than ever!

Create reusable cards that can match any interfaces with our new transparent backgrounds.

Balance your billboards and create more impactful interfaces with the new padding parameter for billboards.

Draw attention to your most important action with new button display styles in the record action component and the read-only grid component. With the Toolbar Primary and Sidebar Primary styles, you can apply the Primary button style to the first action configured in the component.

Select from more grid height options for read-only and editable grids to set a height that best displays your data.

Search objects from anywhere

Find what you need in Appian Designer, where and when you need it. You can now use our powerful object search from anywhere within your application, even in dialogs. Your search terms will also persist, even after you open an object. Just pick up the search wherever you left off.

Deployment

Deployments are crucial to getting your latest and greatest updates to your users. So this release, we’ve simplified package prep and made it more seamless to programmatically deploy your plug-ins.

Reminders to add objects to packages

Packages are a powerful way to organize your objects for deployment, and this release we’ve made adding objects to your packages more efficient. Now, you’ll get a reminder if any objects you’ve created or modified are missing from your package, and you can add them in one click.

If you already know which expression rules, interfaces, decisions, or integrations you need to include in your package, you can now quickly add them while viewing or editing the object. No need to break your flow, just open the gear menu and click Add to Package.

Bring power to your deployment pipeline with plug-ins

This release, you can deploy plug-ins alongside your application or package using our out-of-the-box REST APIs. Seamlessly fit Appian into your existing deployment pipeline with the external systems and services that you need.

Administration

Each release, we continue to give administrators more control over their system, authentication, and integration settings with improvements to the Appian Admin Console.

Self-managed Appian on Kubernetes container registry

Self-managed customers with installations of Appian on Kubernetes can now access our official container registry. This registry has containers for Appian's components and the Appian Operator, which opens up new possibilities for convenience and automation. This also enables you to use other Kubernetes platforms that require a registry. But as always, you can continue to download these items as necessary.

OpenID Connect user authentication

Appian users can now log in using OpenID Connect (OIDC) authentication. OIDC is a modern standard that’s built on top of the OAuth 2.0 protocol. Similarly to SAML, OIDC redirects users to an external identity provider for authentication, facilitating single sign-on (SSO) with other applications.

Reactivate SAML users upon sign-in

You can now configure Appian to automatically reactivate deactivated SAML users when they sign-in. This can be done in the settings for a specific SAML identity provider under Attribute Mapping

Polished email headers generated by custom email sender

Generated emails sent by a custom email sender now look more polished and professional. If you’re generating emails using DomainKeys Identified Mail (DKIM) for custom email domains sent through a process, users will only see the sender's display name and email address. These email headers no longer include “on-behalf of” or “via”, so that they’re less cluttered and help users understand the source of the email faster.

Assign custom support contacts in MyAppian

MyAppian administrators can now specify who to notify when there is an incident related to a site. By assigning default support contacts, or creating tailor-made email distribution lists, you can be confident that the right people are always up-to-date on your site's health. Check out this knowledge base article to learn more.

Appian Cloud

Appian Cloud is an enterprise-grade cloud platform that supports many of the largest businesses, institutions, and agencies in the world. This release, we’re introducing new permission options to secure your data, and a new driver version for all PostgreSQL databases.

Schema-specific access rights

Site administrators can now configure separate read and write privileges for developers that are accessing additional business data schemas via phpMyAdmin. This capability provides users with the ability to implement more granular data access controls.

New JDBC driver for PostgreSQL database

Appian Cloud now uses the 42.5.1 version of the JDBC driver for PostgreSQL databases.

See the related documentation from PostgreSQL for information about the changes introduced in the new version.

Supported encryption configurations for VPN integrations

To ensure the security of your VPN integrations with your Appian Cloud environments, we’ve published an updated list of supported encryption configurations for use with IPSec VPN tunnels. Other encryption configurations are deprecated and will be removed in a future release.

Appian recommends reviewing your VPN encryption configurations to ensure they meet your security requirements. For more information about managing VPN configurations, see Self Service VPN Integration.

Resolved issues

  • AN-210515 - Critical

    Fixed an issue in the Start Process smart service where the smart service would fail under heavy process loads due to a race condition on the Java Work Queue.

  • AN-198434 - High

    Corrected an accessibility issue with dropdowns and pickers to allow correct information about the controls to be conveyed to assistive technologies such as screen readers.

  • AN-214718 - Low

    Prior to adding content to editable grids, screen reader users are now informed where the newly-added content will be located.

  • AN-198791 - Low

    Corrected an issue that impacted the accessibility of the progress bar component, where assistive technology was not identifying the component as a progress bar.

  • AN-202003 - Low

    Fixed an issue where the user's name was incorrectly defined as a semantic heading on the User Profile record.

Evolutions

This release, the following function has a new, improved version. Existing, old versions in your applications will continue to function normally, but will be renamed on upgrade to indicate that they are older versions.

As always, make sure you are using the right version of the docs for your version of Appian. See Function and Component Versions for more information.

All-in-one, centralized currency function: a!currency()

This quarter, we’ve evolved the currency() function to simplify and centralize how you display and localize currencies.

Instead of using multiple currency functions like pound(), euro(), yen(), or dollar(), you can now use the new and improved a!currency() function to get perfectly formatted and localized values for hundreds of currencies. Just input an ISO code and a!currency will output a localized value based on the user’s locale. You can even choose to display the currency indicator as a symbol ($) or code (USD) and where to position it.

Deprecations

The features listed 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.

Support for MariaDB JDBC Driver in Aurora MySQL Data Sources

Connecting to an Aurora MySQL database using a MariaDB JDBC Driver will not be supported in future versions of Appian. This means that any data source that connects to an Aurora MySQL database will fail if the Connection URL begins with "jdbc:mariadb". To prevent connectivity issues in the future, the Connection URL must begin with the prefix “jdbc:mysql:aws:".

For more details, see Migrate Aurora MySQL Driver.

Minimum required Android OS change for Appian Mobile

Starting in the next release, Appian 23.2, Android users will need to be on Android 8.0 or higher in order to use Appian Mobile.

Currency functions

The following functions related to currency localization are deprecated and will be removed in a future release:

  • dollar()
  • euro()
  • pound()
  • yen()

Use the evolved a!currency() function to meet all of your currency localization needs.

Calendar add functions

The following functions related to date and time addition are deprecated and will be removed in a future release:

  • caladddays()
  • caladdhours()

Use the a!addDateTime() function to determine the number of years, months, days, hours, minutes, or seconds to add to a specific start date.

Supported encryption configurations for VPN integrations

To ensure the security of your VPN integrations with your Appian Cloud environments, we’ve published an updated list of supported encryption configurations for use with IPSec VPN tunnels. Other encryption configurations are deprecated and will be removed in a future release.

Removals

The features listed below have been removed from Appian and can no longer be used.

Microsoft SQL Server 2008

Support for running Appian with a Microsoft SQL Server 2008 database has been removed. Customers who use this database version should upgrade to a more recent version. According to Microsoft’s Driver Support Matrix, the SQL Server versions that Appian supports all use a driver that is not compatible with SQL Server 2008.

Apache Xalan Java library

A note to plug-in developers: we have removed the Apache Xalan Java library from all supported Appian versions. If you have developed any plug-ins that depend on Apache Xalan, you will need to update them to remove or replace the use of this library. If you don't update them, they will stop working when plug-in users install the related hotfix or upgrade to a newer version of Appian.

Open in Github Built: Fri, Mar 01, 2024 (07:35:43 PM)

Appian Release Notes

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