Appian (APPN) has an extremely aggressive release schedule. In fact, they release new versions of their Digital Transformation Business Process Management (BPM) platform once per quarter. Their most recent update; 17.2, live since Appian World 2017 in May, is filled with a large number of exciting new features and functionalities. I would like to discuss my favorite 17.2 features that I am leveraging to provide top-notch Appian solutions, across our many satisfied clients.
Appian has introduced two new layouts. The first is called the Billboard Layout. This is intended to allow the creation and customization of more attractive and natural looking pages, including backdrops and embedded videos.
The second is called the Column Layout, and is intended to address the fact that until now, interfaces and pages have been limited to two columns. The column layout allows the creation of an arbitrary number of columns, resulting in more flexible page design.
The addition of these two new layouts to Appian’s interfaces is probably my favorite part of this release which allows for combinations of one and two column sections with text, grid, or image fields laid out vertically within them. These billboard and column layouts will allow developers to create display and input pages that look much closer to modern webpages, with the result that new applications will feel much more relevant and classy. As a developer, this is especially important to me because it means that applications have more flexibility to match the original vision of my clients.
A new File Upload component now allows multiple file uploads simultaneously, and will also allow files to be dragged onto the window for upload. This makes uploading files more streamlined and user-friendly, and continues the trend of modernizing Appian interfaces.
Push notifications have been enabled for mobile devices. Android and iOS devices running the native Appian application will now notify you of new tasks, and will allow you to access them directly.
This is a good step for Appian, and one I’m excited to see. In my opinion, many businesses have yet to fully take advantage of the opportunities offered by mobile devices and computing. Appian on mobile has the potential to vastly improve the productivity of many businesses, by giving employees access to complex business processes from a relatively simple and intuitive interface.
The addition of notifications will make the mobile experience even more seamless, by removing the need for third-party apps like email and allowing Appian to interact directly with the mobile OS.
Appian routinely improves the performance of its’ software. In 17.2, they have made improvements to the load speed of their interfaces, which can get very slow when loading lots of data, so speed increases like this are very important. In addition, the speed of record pickers (fields that autofill to match what you’re typing from a pre-selected database) has been increased by up to 50%.
Release 17.2 contains a few additional small user-related updates, as well as major updates to the development side which should continue Appian’s trend of making the development experience smoother and more intuitive. Taken all together, this is an impressive update to the application that will improve the Appian experience for all involved parties. As the summer draws to a close, 17.3 is just around the corner and should be released in the next month or so. I look forward to seeing what further changes Appian has in store.
You can find a few of the bigger and more exciting user-side updates below. For a full description of the package, please see Appian’s 17.2 Release Notes.