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The Mendix March Release: AppCloud and Community Edition, New User Navigation and Much More Coming Tomorrow

on April 9, 2014

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Mendix World, our global customer and partner event that took place last week, pushed our March Release to early April.  And for good reasons! You may have heard already about our big announcements at Mendix World regarding AppCloud and the Community Edition.

In addition, a number of other snazzy new features are being released tomorrow, April 10th. Take a look:

The Mendix AppCloud and Community Edition

The AppCloud is a new service layer that sits on top of the Mendix App Platform, bringing together end users, business analysts, developers, data, apps and content in a single cloud environment. Here are three key features:

  • Launchpad – A central location (with single sign-on service) to find, use, share and build your apps.
  • Free Sandboxes – Unlimited free sandboxes for deploying apps to the Mendix cloud for up to 10 users.
  • Marketplace – An App Store that allows both developers and users to easily find, try and consume applications and app services.

In addition, the new Community Edition allows anyone to build and deploy applications in production using your own sandbox environment in the AppCloud. From now on you’re no more than three(!) clicks away from a working, fully-functional, Mendix application in the cloud.

New User Navigation with Launchpad

With the introduction of the Launchpad, we also have a complete new user navigation as you enter the Mendix App Platform. After login you will now first see the Launchpad with some standard apps – a get-started app with introductory videos for new users, our new app store, as well as the developer portal. The “dev portal” is what experienced users will recognize as their familiar platform portal where they can manage their requirements and projects and deploy, operate and monitor their apps.

Further Platform improvements

In addition to these key enhancements, we also kept on working on other important platform improvements behind the scenes. This time we are including the following items in the release:

Object caching revisited

Garbage collection has always been an important aspect of our software. However, in certain cutting-edge cases, it was still possible to elude our clever collectors, causing your cache to slowly fill up and, in extreme circumstances, overload. To prevent this, we took a fresh look at how we handle garbage collection and implemented several in-depth improvements, making the system more robust than ever. No stone is left unturned, no object left idle as of the upcoming Mendix 5 release.

Inheritance and editability in list views; replacing the data view list once and for all

Ever since its inception, the data view list custom widget has seen widespread popularity across many of the Mendix projects, most notably the questionnaire module from our App Store –

Ever watchful for ways to incorporate user feedback, and because of some limitations and temperament of the widget, we have completely replaced the functionality from the outdated data view list and brought it into the core product. The addition of the list view to the desktop client’s toolbox took care of most of the standard cases, but we are proud to announce both inheritance support and editability for the list view to flesh out this already versatile widget.

How does this work? As far as editability is concerned, it’s as simple as flicking a switch. Toggling the editability setting to “true” allows users with access rights to edit data in their list views on the fly. Please note that, in an effort to avoid confusion on when exactly data commits take place during database transactions, we have currently disabled both search and paging in list views with this feature turned on. This will not affect your existing list views, just the ones that use the new feature.

The inheritance feature requires a bit more context. If you select an entity with specializations as the target of your list view, the view will allow you to create unique templates for each specialization. In the client, each object will then be matched to its template, allowing the view to display a myriad of different object types in the same list, as long as they map to the same generalization. If an object is of a type that doesn’t have a template, that’s fine! The client will walk up the inheritance chain until it finds an entity that does have a template and use that instead.

Error-free layout switching

Layouts have given users an unprecedented level of control over their user interface but let’s face it: switching layouts in an existing page has been an eyesore from the start. Starting now, the modeler will intelligently redistribute your page content into your new layout when switching. No more ugly flat red layouts, and no more dragging widgets from the old to the new layout. The redistribution algorithm matches region type and automatically moves all your widgets to their proper place.

Three strikes and you’re out, even locally

When deploying to a production environment, it has long been a standard feature of the Mendix runtime to block a user after three invalid log-ins. To bring development more in line with production we have also implemented this feature when deploying an app locally, directly from the modeler. Less discrepancies makes for happier modelers.

Innovation at your fingertips! It has never been easier to build, and run your apps

The AppCloud with the Launchpad, sandboxes and AppStore will be automatically available to all users when you log in after the release.

Existing apps need to be upgrade to Mendix 5 and Single-Sign-On enabled to be included in the Launchpad. You can then also download the most recent version of the Mendix Business Modeler in the AppStore.

And now happy modelling – build the app you always wanted to build, but didn’t have the business case for. With free sandboxes you can build anything you want deploy instantly and share with your colleagues. And don’t forget to tell your friends: with the free Community Edition anybody can launch an app – no credit card required!

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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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