6 Rapid app development shortcuts to help you be even faster

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6 Mendix Shortcuts to Create Apps Instantly

/ July 25, 2014

The Mendix Business Modeler is filled with shortcuts to make app development quick and easy. In fact, I have started to suspect our R&D department is trying to make the mouse obsolete and empower developers to create apps with just a few keyboard clicks. Below, I’ll provide a comprehensive list of all the shortcuts; much of this material can also be found on the documentation and previous blog posts.

1.    Autopopulate

Whenever you create a page and want to show a list of data, you can accomplish this with a data grid widget and connect the grid to your data model, which is usually an entity. The following window pops up right way:


The Auto-Fill option is always pre-checked to make it easier to automatically fill the contents. Instead of typing in the names of the columns, organizing it and moving it left and right, adding more columns etc., just leave the box checked and let Mendix do the rest!

For example, if I pick Course for my entity and the Course contains Title, Description, Duration, Price and Level as attributes/columns used to describe the course, the checkbox will automatically populate the page with all the information. The picture below shows an automatically filled list of the courses.


Notice how it prepopulates the search functionality and new and edit along with delete options and all the necessary data columns.

Although the auto-fill option is there to make application building easier and faster,  you can always uncheck it and create everything manually, if needed. Furthermore, once the page is created and populated, you can move, delete, resize and add columns as needed and display the data as desired.

2.    Autogenerate

Another shortcut that is very helpful when creating pages is the auto generation of new and edit buttons.

Once I discovered the Generate Page button, creating the new and edit buttons became super easy. You can generate the page and Mendix automatically creates New and Edit pages along with linking the pages to the proper buttons.


No more creating New and Edit pages manually; just let Mendix do it for you!

3.    The F [0-12]

Now let’s move on to all the F# buttons. Below is a list of the current shortcuts. My favorite one when I started out developing in Mendix was F1. Whenever I needed to open the documentation or figure something out, the F1 button was a lifesaver.

When you press F1, it automatically opens up the documentation on your default browser and it knows where you are in the Modeler. Having trouble with a microflow? Press F1 and all the microflow documentation comes up. Trouble with the grid view page? Press F1 and all the grid view documentation comes up.

Another nice shortcut that I use often is F11, which turns the development screen into a full screen and you can have a nice full view of your microflow. It can be quite helpful if you are debugging or creating large processes. The F5 and other deployment buttons are useful as well! You can quickly see your app as you develop and launch it into the cloud.

F buttons Resulting Action
F1 HELP button to show documentation
F2 Change captions and wording in microflows
F3 Finds next results
F4 Synchronizes project directory
F5 Launches app in the cloud – literally one click of a button!
F6 Deploy app for eclipse
F7 Creates a deployment package for acceptance or production environment
F8 Goes to the next error
F9 Opens up a browser to view the app in your desktop
F11 My favorite – full screen view of the development environment

4.    CTRL + [a-z]

All the control buttons can do lots of functions, the most important being Copy and Paste!

Ctrl buttons Resulting Action
Ctrl + arrow keys Move the selected items up or down or left or right
Ctrl + C Copy the items onto the clipboard
Ctrl + Enter Confirming the changes you made and closing the form you are working on
Ctrl + F Search for text in the Modeler – easy to find items!
Ctrl + G Quickly navigate to any page, microflow or item that’s part of your project
Ctrl + N Create new items
Ctrl + S Save changes on your opened tab
Ctrl + Tab Helpful to navigate between all the open tabs
Ctrl + V Paste whatever you copied
Ctrl + W Close current open item
Ctrl + X Same as Cut – copy the selected item and delete it
Ctrl + Y Redo the last action
Ctrl + Z Undo the last action

5.    Combo Buttons

The combo buttons are another nice feature for creating new projects or opening existing objects, finding advanced items and deploying your app in tablet or phone format to see your results. These are great additional buttons to use whenever needed or if your mouse just stops working.

Combo Buttons Resulting Action
Ctrl + F9 Deploy the mobile app into your browser
Ctrl + Shift + F Find advanced items
Ctrl + Shift + F9 Deploy the tablet app into your browser
Ctrl + Shift + N Create a new project
Ctrl + Shift + O Open an existing project
Ctrl + Shift + S Save changes in ALL documents opened
Ctrl + Shift + W Close all document tabs
Shift + F3 Find previous results
Shift + F5 Stop the current running project
Shift + F8 Go to previous error

6.    Miscellaneous

Other miscellaneous buttons are pretty helpful as well. I use the Enter button almost instinctively to open the properties for the current objects or buttons I am developing with.

Other Buttons Resulting Action
Arrow Keys Move elements in the direction of the arrow key
Delete Delete current items
Enter Edit the properties of current objects
Escape Cancel all changes and closes forms

What are your Favorite shortcuts?

This is a list of most of our shortcuts. Did I forget any? What are your favorites? Let me know what you think and comment below!

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