Mendix 7.3 Updates For a Frictionless Developer Experience
Mendix 7.3 Updates For a Frictionless Developer Experience by Danny Roest
Mendix 7.3 contains several enhancements in different areas of the platform, including the modeling experience, mobile app building, and database improvements. We also released three new widgets and improved several existing widgets.
Single Button Type
Mendix offers several different Action Buttons. In recent releases, we made it so that you can use the different button types everywhere in a consistent approach. When you add a button or menu item you can specify the type of action like “Show a page”, “Call a microflow”, “Save changes”, “Close Page”, etc. In Mendix 7.3, we added the Link button in this approach.
Another example is that you can add different button types in a menu as shown below.
Mobile App Building and Publishing Made Easier
As mentioned in the previous release blog post, we made several improvements for building and publishing your mobile apps. Next to support for splash screens for the latest mobile devices, we added more settings to the cloud portal that make it easier to build and publish your mobile apps.
You can now configure whether your mobile app should ask for a PIN by checking the PIN required option. Next to this, you can specify whether your app is an offline capable app. We have also added the option to switch off the permissions that your app requires, like access to your location, camera, and Photo Library. Finally, you can add your own custom PhoneGap configuration, so that you can easily add plugins and custom app settings.
These new settings in the developer portal allow developers to publish a mobile app without extensive technical expertise. The need for customizing your hybrid app package has been drastically reduced.
Advanced App Building
For more technical changes to your hybrid app and for techies, we improved the “Do-it-yourself” option, which allows you to easily extend your hybrid app, create multiple versions, and update the hybrid app. You can do this by selecting “Do-it-yourself” on the Mobile App Package creation page.
When you have downloaded and extracted the ZIP package you directly have a zip file for the specified environment which you can upload to PhoneGap Build, and the sources for building/extending your mobile app. However, the real power lies in the developer process that comes next. We use Node.js to automate the process of building a hybrid app package for a specified environment and/or version. You can also update your hybrid app with a single command to the latest Mendix hybrid app version. This all makes it easy to manage multiple versions and releases for your environments.
Next to the building improvements, we made it easier to configure the hybrid app by putting the configuration in separate files, which includes the app settings, permissions, and text translations. In addition, we added hooks to the hybrid app so that you can easily extend it.
Finally, we made this all open source, so that YOU can contribute to the Mendix Hybrid app. If you have improvements or cool new features, you can create a pull request so that we can add them.
See the Mendix documentation for more information about the advanced developer flow.
We continue to create new high-quality widgets with a focus on mobile, which you can find in the Mendix App Store under Mobile – Featured. Of course, you would never find an issue, but in the rare case you do, report them (preferably via the GitHub page) and we will pick them up!
Do you want Netflix-like ratings? Now you can easily build this. The Star rating widget allows you to view and change a rating. The color and number of the stars can be configured.
Next to the slider widget, we also added the range slider in which the user can specify a minimum and a maximum value. This widget offers several options to change the appearance like adding tick marks and the color of the selected range.
The badge button widget enables you to create nice buttons containing a notification. This widget also supports the different (Bootstrap) theme colors.
The first release of the Switch widget only offered iOS styling. In this release, we also added Android styling. This widget automatically detects whether the Android or iOS variant should be shown based on the user’s device type. We also added the option to specify the style so that you can use different colors.
In this release, we added functionality that improves the performance of enterprise-scale unique constraint validations. This means that your unique constraints will now be handled by the database instead of Mendix Runtime.
You will notice performance improvements when you make use of concurrent microflows, when you commit associated objects, and when you commit objects with unique attributes.
When you open your existing projects in Mendix 7.3, you will have the option to update your project to the new data validation method. You can change this in your project settings. New projects will use this behavior by default, so you can benefit from this improved functionality out of the box.
The previous uniqueness constraint validation functionality offered the flexibility of not having to migrate production data when making minor changes to the business rules in your application. If you benefitted from this in the past, you will be notified that you can’t deploy your app until you have migrated your data. You will see a message as illustrated below.
Migrate your data first using an after startup microflow, as you may have done in the past for complex data migrations. Alternatively, you can use the migration connector. This is a module you can add to your application that will show all data in need of migration, so you can visually migrate your data. Contact Mendix support to get a hold of a simple visual tool that can help you do this, and download the new version of the modeler to get started with these new updates.