With the conclusion of a fantastic Appian World 2013 – coinciding with the unveiling of a new version of Appian – Appian 7.2 – it is time to official dive into some of those new robust Appian 7.2 capabilities, focusing on core functionality from a 7.2 – Records, Reports and the Self-Assembling Interface Layer (SAIL) .
Let’s take a look at that much-anticipated records functionality, as Appian continues to raise the bar providing “WorkSocial” Business Process Management (BPM) across both portal and mobile-based interfaces respectively, while Princeton Blue, Inc. continues our solid track-record of implementing successful Appian-based solutions with our diverse set of fortune 500 clients world-wide.
What is a Record in Appian 7.2?
An Appian record is very similar to a patient record at a doctor’s office, according to Appian. It stores a set of related data for you to view, while connecting you with the associated information. This specific example of a record would be closely associated to a typical patient’s record that is related to a doctor’s office and could include such data as: contact information, background history, and past appointment procedures all associated within that record for that particular patient.
Within Appian a designer could choose to create this data model with a Complex Data Type (CDT) structure XSD (XML Schema Definition) to include your unique business data and integrate with a relational data-base, exposing a data-centric view of your unique business data. Other record methods are captured below, in the Three Types of Records section within this Blog.
cords are a new way of conveying business data in conjunction with Appian 7.2’s new Self-Assembling Interface Layer (SAIL) framework (more on SAIL in a future Blog). This new framework gives designers control over how information is presented through the configuration of “record lists” and “views” – utilizing record dashboards, which are available only to records. These new user interfaces are view-able on mobile devices (iOS, Android, Blackberry) and many web browsers supported by Tempo.
So in short, Appian records are an “end-user facing feature” which exposes a data-centric view.
Three Types of Records in Appian 7.2
- Entity-Backed Records
- Process-Backed Records
- Service-Backed Records
1. Entity-Backed Records:
An “Entity-Backed Record” is simply a record of related data from a relational database. Appian passes data to and from the specific data base, persisting data through an abstraction layer called a “data store” while in-turn retrieving that data through an easily-managed set of query rules. A common use-case would be accessing your database through Java Data Base Connectivity (JDBC) and query rules, filtering the view of data, while displaying your records to select end-users on their mobile devices.
2. Process-Backed Records
“Process-Backed Records” are similar to entity-backed records, but instead of utilizing a database to pull the data from, you instead utilize process variables from your process instances with the process model being the context. Along with the process variables, you may also access certain process-related and process model-related properties. A use case here, would be to display your records in real-time from your running process models themselves. As new processes are kicked-off, and data is entered by end-users throughout the process, records are updated instantaneously.
3. Service-Backed Records
Finally, “Service-Backed Records” utilize expression rules as the source of data. Instead of retrieving data from a data store entity or process model, the contents of the records list view are provided completely by the rule. Retrieving either public exposed or internal based data from Web-services are a common use-case to service-backed records.
All three records, utilizes SAIL dashboards based on the SAIL expression – again a different topic for a different blog
Related actions can easily be tied to each of the three mentioned records, listed above.
Much like how “quick tasks” (on-demand /ADHOC tasks associated with unique process and process models) function, a related action functions with its own (on-demand/ADHOC actions) associated with your record.
Simply put, the context is what drives the related action.
A common use-case involving “Related Actions” is the ability of updating or editing record details like name, age, phone number or starting an action related to the record itself, such as creating a support case with the record’s information as the context.
Continuing the Conversation!
In summary, Appian’s record functionality was welcomed with open-arms by Princeton Blue and our Appian clients alike. Let’s continue this conversation by a live or remote demo of our Project Demand Management (PDM) Solution, so you may see first-hand, the new 7.2.functionality features and capabilities embedded within and how we took our pre-Appian 7.2 PDM solution minus, of course records and quickly transformed that solution, by incorporating records (among various others) Appian 7.2’s capabilities; please also visit our website at www.princetonblue.com and request us to contact you or contact us at (908) 369-0961.