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DX Release improvements, Performance, Free Edition, App Store support and More

on September 3, 2015

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I hope you enjoyed a nice summer break. Fortunately, the R&D crew doesn’t break for summer collectively, so the show went on. I’m glad we’re back again with a monthly release, which actually holds some great product improvements.

DX Release improvements

Let me start by thanking you for providing such great feedback on the DX Release that we launched right before summer. It’s good to see that the release was well received. Based on your input, we’re addressing issues and implementing suggestions for an even better experience. Here’s what the August release brings:

  • New text widget and test formatting on buttons and group boxes – We’ve created a new text widget supporting client-side templating. A template can contain placeholders that will be substituted by the values of selected attributes at runtime. For example, it is possible to create a template “Hello, {1}!” and have placeholder “{1}” replaced by a user’s name.
  • Rendering of vertical/horizontal forms in the Modeler – In the DX release, we introduced support for rendering labels neatly for inputs. In our latest release, the rendering in the Modeler matches what you would see in your browser.
  • Improved rendering of layouts in page editor – The Modeler now more closely matches what the client would display. For instance, the collapsed state of a sidebar is reflected in the Modeler visually.
  • CSS / Sass framework updates – We received a lot of feedback on the library that we addressed. Some highlights:
    • A new folder structure provides clear distinction between CSS and Sass.
    • You’re now able to use a custom .css file filled with predefined CSS elements.
    • We dropped Compass as a default in our Sass files. It’s easier now to use different compilers besides Scout.
  • Additional Master – Detail page template – We added another page template based on suggestions from an early adopter of the UI Framework.

Master Details Page Template

With your help, we’ll be able to quickly progress from public Beta status to General Availability (GA) in the near future. Stay tuned.

Free Edition Features

As communicated in the DX Release announcement, we’re enhancing the Free Edition that runs in Sandbox environments with features that make it a full-production tier, free of charge. We have enabled the following capabilities:

  • Support for Anonymous Users
  • Rest Support module
  • Deep linking
  • Debugging

App Store Content Support

Our App Store is gaining in popularity. With that comes the question about how we deal with support for App Store content. We have looked at the growing library of content and categorized the modules, widgets, libraries, etc. into three categories:

  1. Mendix Platform content – Mendix supports all content in this category provided that you have a support contract in place with Mendix. Content in this category is proactively incorporated in R&D test cycles as part of our platform release management process.
  1. Mendix Community content – Though developed by the community, Mendix supports all content in this category if you have a gold or platinum support SLA with Mendix. Before every Business Modeler Release, content in this category will be tested proactively on backwards compatibility.
  1. Community content – Support depends on the availability and effort of the community. Mendix provides no support for content in this category.

Performance

As always, we’ve been looking for candidates for performance improvement. In this release, we have focused on the ‘Create New Application’ flow. By optimizing the sequence of activities, you can now start working in a new project like defining user stories, etc. within just a few seconds, while we’re creating the repositories in the background.

Features & Fixes

In addition to the capabilities mentioned above, we’ve incorporated a whole list of features and fixes to make your life as a Mendix developer easier. Just to highlight two of them:

  • We have made sorting in microflows consistent with database sorting. This means that both are now case insensitive. So regardless of where you are sorting your data, it will be more in line with what your users expect.
  • Standalone action buttons that trigger a microflow can be disabled while the microflow is running. This will help you make sure users will not press these buttons multiple times if your microflow takes a bit of time.

As always, I hope you’ll enjoy this release. In the meanwhile we’re working on new and exciting features and platform enhancements that we’ll announce shortly. Happy modeling!

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About Johan den Haan

As Mendix’s chief technology officer, Johan leads the company’s overall technical strategy and research & product development teams. Johan speaks regularly at technology events and is a renowned blogger on a range of topics, including PaaS, Model-Driven Development, Scrum, cloud computing and software engineering. He earned a Master of Science in Computer Science with a specialization in Information Architecture from the Delft University of Technology. Keep in touch at @JohanDenHaan.

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  • Very smooth release which brings theming and personalisation in general, for all levels of Mendix developers closer and easier closer to those developers.