6 Mendix Shortcuts to Create Apps Instantly


on 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:

Shortcuts1

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.

Shortcuts2

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.

Shortcuts3

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 buttonsResulting Action
F1HELP button to show documentation
F2Change captions and wording in microflows
F3Finds next results
F4Synchronizes project directory
F5Launches app in the cloud – literally one click of a button!
F6Deploy app for eclipse
F7Creates a deployment package for acceptance or production environment
F8Goes to the next error
F9Opens up a browser to view the app in your desktop
F11My 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 buttonsResulting Action
Ctrl + arrow keysMove the selected items up or down or left or right
Ctrl + CCopy the items onto the clipboard
Ctrl + EnterConfirming the changes you made and closing the form you are working on
Ctrl + FSearch for text in the Modeler – easy to find items!
Ctrl + GQuickly navigate to any page, microflow or item that’s part of your project
Ctrl + NCreate new items
Ctrl + SSave changes on your opened tab
Ctrl + TabHelpful to navigate between all the open tabs
Ctrl + VPaste whatever you copied
Ctrl + WClose current open item
Ctrl + XSame as Cut – copy the selected item and delete it
Ctrl + YRedo the last action
Ctrl + ZUndo 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 ButtonsResulting Action
Ctrl + F9Deploy the mobile app into your browser
Ctrl + Shift + FFind advanced items
Ctrl + Shift + F9Deploy the tablet app into your browser
Ctrl + Shift + NCreate a new project
Ctrl + Shift + OOpen an existing project
Ctrl + Shift + SSave changes in ALL documents opened
Ctrl + Shift + WClose all document tabs
Shift + F3Find previous results
Shift + F5Stop the current running project
Shift + F8Go 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 ButtonsResulting Action
Arrow KeysMove elements in the direction of the arrow key
DeleteDelete current items
EnterEdit the properties of current objects
EscapeCancel 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!

  • Pim van der Noll

    Nice post! I use Alt+ Enter a lot for Saving+closing a properties window for example. The wheel of the mouse can often configured to double click when clicked once; also quick 🙂
    I would love to see shortcuts for debugging in the future (filed a ticket already for it).

  • Daniela

    Thanks for the feedback Pim! It’d love to see debugging shortcuts too instead of those step over clicks! I’ll check out the progress on that ticket 🙂

  • Ctrl + G was entirely new to me. Very convenient!
    I would like to see a shortcut added for showing / hiding the Project Explorer pane on the left side of the screen. I have it collapsed 90 percent of the time to have as much screen estate available for designing forms and mapping out microflows. Having a shortcut key available to quickly show the Project Explorer pane instead of having to hover over or click the tiny tab button would be a nice way to speed up access to it.

  • Daniela

    Hey Theo, have you tried F11?

  • Yes, that’s a full-screen key, right? I don’t use it very often because it’s an inconvenient key on a Mac keyboard. It either controls the volume or shows the OS X desktop. And yes, I’m developing Mendix apps on a Mac using Parallels Desktop. 😉

  • Daniela

    Very nice! 🙂

  • Pim van der Noll

    Any progress Daniela?

  • Try pressing Command + F11 instead. 😉