Appian released the new version 22.2 of their software on May 27 2022. As with each of their quarterly updates, there is a larger number of smaller changes. In this post, I will highlight a few of these and the impact on how we built applications. Since my book “Low-Code Application Development with Appian” has been released with Appian version 22.1, I describe here the changes to the book, so you can continue to work with it.
The full release notes are available here: https://docs.appian.com/suite/help/22.2/Appian_Release_Notes.html
Add design objects to process models using the search bar
The search bar in the Appian process modeller is a great help when searching for a specific smart service across all categories. With Appian 22.2 it got a small but important update. You can now not only search for smart services, but also for other design objects of the types Process Model, Integration and Interface.
Adding such a design object will automatically create a new and fully configured node of type Subprocess, Call Integration or User Input Task.
The only task left, is to assign node local variables to process variables on the Data tab.
I am currently working on making it a habit to use the search bar for adding existing design objects to my models. I would have wanted to be able to create Script Tasks from existing Expression Rules, but that might come with a later version.
Sync changed data
Synchronized Records are a great way to connect data from various sources, add relationships and custom record fields. The synchronization also means that Appian will create a local copy of the data. The local copy and the source data are updated when writing data to a data store entity. Keep in mind that the Query Database node allows you to write native SQL, but does NOT update your synced records.
With version 22.2, Appian allows us to update the local copy of synced Records using three new functions.
The nature of these functions is, that they take a record type and a list of identifiers. Appian will then use the configured update mechanism to fetch the changed records for these identifiers only. There is no direct way to automatically update all records. This way, Appian avoids overloading the source systems. Keep in mind that it can still lead to performance bottlenecks and test the performance.
Sync Records Smart Service
Add the new Sync Records smart service to a process model to trigger a synchronization for a specific record type and list of identifiers. Think of a scenario in which you have to use a stored procedure for a complex update in the database. Sync the modified data in the next node to make Appian sync the changed or added items.
This Smart Service Function a!syncRecord works in the same way as the Smart Service, but is used in interfaces inside a saveInto. In a scenario in which the user manually updates some data in an external system, you can give him a button to trigger a synchronization.
Use a!syncRecord in a Web API to trigger synchronization from external systems.
Sync changes using Web APIs
In a Records Sync Options, generate a Web API to allow external systems to trigger updates to the Appian internal synced copy.
The generated Web API is just a normal Appian Web API and can easily be tailored to your needs.
New Appian Designer
The refreshed Appian Designer is a great help for new Appian Designers as it makes all the available online resources directly accessible. When navigation into an application, the new Explore view provides the most used design objects and their dependencies.
The modifications on the main application view are mainly about the added links to online resources and moving the tabs from the top to the left of the screen.
When navigating into an application, there is the entirely new Explore view. The top navigation tabs have been moved to the left-hand side as well.
The already known list of all objects can now be found under the name Build. Let’s have a closer look at the Explore view.
It shows the objects most used in the application and some objects details as icons. Click the View related Objects icon to open the list of referenced objects and drill down deeper.
Writing the book was a huge challenge for me, but just the beginning of a new adventure. The most important party is you, the reader. With the ever-changing nature of software, I want to make sure that the book does not become outdated and stays a top notch reading experience.
While I cannot release a new version of the book every quarter, I am going to write a new post to give you an update and help you find your way in the new version.
With Appian 22.2, the changes in the Appian Designer are the biggest, at least as far as the book is concerned. With this in mind, you should be able to follow the book easily.
Appian will release a new version in a few weeks. Stay tuned for a new post about Appian 22.3 on this page.