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5 Features that Save Developers Time in the Appian 21.4 Release

Alex Stark, Sr. Product Marketing Manager – Developer Marketing
November 11, 2021

Did you know it takes an average of six months to build and deploy a basic enterprise app? 

It’s time to get our hours back. Low-code platforms like Appian cut that dev time in half or more.

Design your apps securely and quickly using visual workflows so you can spend your time coding creative custom features instead of working on non-value adding, monotonous development tasks.

Try the latest Appian release for free.

Whether you’re an Appian certified developer or you’re evaluating the impact of adding low-code to your toolbox, you’re invited to try the free Appian Community Edition. Community members get free access to an Appian development environment for an unlimited amount of time. They also get access to troubleshooting message boards and an out-of-the-box app market with business and technical apps and extensions built with low-code.

Appian 21.4 release highlights.

Appian engineers are perpetually iterating on the platform with four major product releases every year. Here are the top five features in Appian 21.4 that really put time back in developer hands.

1. Dynamic offline mobile.

Go offline—enable users to use your application no matter where they are. Version 21.4 introduces dynamic offline mobile, allowing users to work even without reliable connectivity. Consider how workers and app users in field operations, such as installation, inspection, sales, auditing, and engineering will benefit from this. With offline mobile, now you can do the following:

  • Allow users to go from online to offline seamlessly.
  • Utilize most online UI components in Appian with full functionality.
  • Enable “dynamic” behavior, including wizards, conditional visibility, cascading menus, and custom validations.

But how?

We created a new, offline evaluator that can reevaluate forms without being connected to the server. This enables SAIL functions and components for offline use as well as common design patterns.

Create powerful offline interfaces.

  • Design forms packed with information specific to user needs.
  • Include downloadable documents for offline performance.
  • Simplify UX with pre-existing data to enable easy user navigation and task completion.

Jump start your offline experience build by using documentation on offline mobile and reviewing the best practices for offline mobile

2. Powerful one-click reporting.

Database programming and data manipulation can be complicated and time intensive. Managing database views, expression code, or custom API applications can take hours for coding and deployment.

Appian saves time by moving application logic into the Appian application design platform to deliver a one-click experience using no code.

Here are the latest enhancements in Appian 21.4:

  • Custom record fields – Easily display, sort, and filter your reports, interfaces, and queries using aggregated custom fields.
  • Records-powered charts – Sort by a record field or related record field that is not referenced in the chart.
  • Record search in grids – Configure the options for the record list search so you can tailor the out-of-the-box search specifically to your use case and needs.

3. Fast Robotic process automation (RPA) design.

An RPA system is around 70% faster than a human and able to be productive 100% of the time. It is no wonder building an RPA system is at the top of many developers’ task lists. We’ve enhanced our RPA features to enable both novice and expert low-code developers.

  • Intuitive automation design – Utilize the new workflow list view to drag and drop actions directly into the workflow, configure them inline, and easily group actions together. 
  • RPA recorder improvements for faster bot creation – Work more quickly by creating variables to use within the task recorder, saving them, and launching without future configuration. Design elements like element highlights and automatic form field detection make design clear and intuitive. IE11 support has also been added for required system dependence.
  • Robotic sub-processes – Call a robotic process within another robotic process (creating sub-processes) that can utilize the pre-build bots instead of needing to copy over sections and variables manually. Re-using robotic processes enables better collaboration across developers and speeds up all work.

4. Data sync failure resolution, without interrupting users.

Data sync is essential to providing timely and actionable insights to your users. So when a data sync fails, you need to know.

The latest release makes it easier for you to track sync status, receive notifications,  troubleshoot any failures, and resolve issues—without interrupting your users. We give you all the info so you can choose what’s best for your system.

  • Skip failed syncs – Even if the latest sync failed, application users can continue accessing the data, actions, user filters, and relationships from their record type from the last successful sync. Meanwhile, you can explore the cause and resolve the latest sync error without interrupting any user work.
  • Failed sync alerts – When a sync fails, record type and system administrators automatically receive an email alert with details about the record type, the type of sync failure, and next steps on how to troubleshoot and resolve the issue.
  • Automatic failed batch resync – Appian will automatically retry to sync failed batches, only resyncing the subset of data that failed. For example, suppose you need to sync 500,000 rows of data in batches of 1,000 from your web service. If a single batch times out, we can now retry that failed batch and, if it succeeds, the sync continues as if nothing happened.

5. Intuitive Appian ramp-up.

Onboarding to a new system can involve a learning curve, but we want the ramp-up for Appian to be as smooth as possible for your team. In 21.4 we continue to improve our Appian Designer tool and onboarding materials so that knowledge transfer when developer teams change can be quick and systematic.

  • View source objects from sites – Sometimes the best way to understand or debug an app you didn’t build yourself is to test it out from a front-end user perspective. Developers are now able to use the new “show objects” button to explore and quickly open a page’s underlying objects. This allows the developer to identify which design objects are powering specific interactions, making them easy to change and update.
  • Provide supporting docs – Make handoff even smoother by providing documentation for your future team in one centralized location within the Appian designer. Include docs such as requirements, best practice checklists, and relationship diagrams, all in one place. Having critical information linked to the project itself ensures nothing gets lost and new developers can ramp-up quickly.

Build it to believe it.

Learn more about the 21.4 release in the documentation notes.

The best way to learn is to get hands on. The Appian Community Edition is the place to start for new Appian developers. Dig into the platform, learn the best practices, and get coached toward certifications that will speed up your projects. Rather than giving you pre-fab models, we empower you with the skills and automations you need to get started quickly while tailoring a project to your specific application needs.