Exploring the Mendix Marketplace

Hello Mendix — part 3

This is a continuation of the Hello Mendix series — where I explain the essentials of Mendix development and try to fill the gaps in your knowledge, as quickly as possible.

In part 3 of this series, I’m going to show you around the Mendix Marketplace, how to include modules from it in your app, and some of my favorite Modules which I use in my own apps.

First off, what is the Marketplace?

The Marketplace is where Mendix and developers from our community create, upload, and maintain downloadable features for all of us to use in our apps. There are also paid features available from our new App Services suite. You can also submit your own work for others to use, and make some money off it with the Mendix Marketplace Vendor program.

Before I take you through my personal favorites, let’s take look at how to download marketplace content into your app. The easiest way to download something is from Studio Pro itself. You can open up the marketplace by clicking on the cart in the top right corner. Just browse or search for what you want and click download. Mendix will automatically detect your version of studio pro and select the appropriate version to download. If you have an incompatible version, then the download button will be disabled.

Does that mean I can’t use this Feature? No. It just means you have some additional work to do. You will still be able to download the .mpk file via a browser and then either update it yourself by making code changes or upgrading Studio Pro compatibility.

When downloading content, any jar files needed for it will also be downloaded alongside it and placed in your user lib folder inside your App Directory. Any dependency on other marketplace content will not be automatically resolved, and you will have to go download it yourself.

Remember, always read and try to understand the documentation before attempting to download. All documentation will either be provided on the Marketplace itself or on a GitHub page owned by the content’s creator. Also — be sure to subscribe to updates for your favorite content and leave reviews for the ones you’ve used.

My top downloads

Now let’s take a look at some of my go-to downloads for new projects, starting with the ‘Community Commons’ and ‘Nanoflow Commons’ modules.

Both modules are a collection of actions, created for the community. Both of these are packed full of Java and Javascript actions that are incredibly useful when developing.

Moving on we have the ‘Excel importer’ and the ‘Mx Model reflection’ modules. These can be used together to import data into your app at runtime. Using the ‘Excel Importer’, you can import excel documents into your app’s database and define where you want the data to go using ‘Mx Model reflection’, which allows you to inspect your model at runtime.

The last module I’m going to mention here is the Email module with Templates. This module, along with Mx Model reflection will allow you to send emails from your app, using templates and placeholders to provide fill points for the email’s data.

Also, make sure to look through the widgets library. One of my personal favorites is the HTML snippet, which allows you to add RAW HTML elements to your page.

What if I can’t find what I’m looking for in the Marketplace?

You can always make your own. All widgets in Mendix, for web or native mobile, are built-in React. Developers can choose to create a widget from scratch, or they can use the widget builder command-line interface to generate a boilerplate widget and start customizing from there. Don’t forget to submit any custom components you create to the vendor program and start to earn some cash for your code.