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Mendix August Release: Mendix Open Sources App Components and Adds GitHub Integration to Community App Store

on September 3, 2014

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It’s time for release number eight of this year! This month, we are shipping several exciting features. The eye-catcher is GitHub integration with our App Store to allow all Mendix developers to easily share the code behind their widgets and components to the App Store so that others can contribute enhancements and fixes on an ongoing and organized basis.

GitHub integration for open source App Store content

Earlier this year, members of our community started to publish the source of their custom widgets on GitHub as a way to share platform content and collaborate to extend and improve it. We very much welcome this initiative as it supports our strategy to create a vibrant ecosystem of Mendix developers at customers, partners and of course experts from our own teams.

As we all experience from successful open source initiatives, there is great value in sharing content with the community at large. Bootstrap for UI development is one such example that we already leverage in the Mendix platform. Innovation is driven beyond organizational boundaries and the maintenance effort is shared amongst a larger group of professionals.

Developer community can collaborate

Mx GithubI’m therefore happy to announce that we extended our App Store to allow all Mendix developers to easily integrate an App Store widget with its source code on GitHub.

Here’s how it works:

  1. Create your new widget as you usually would – but make sure to maintain the source code on GitHub
  2. When you add the new widget to the Mendix App Store, you can now create a link to your GitHub repository and a release tag belonging to that specific content and version. This will be displayed on the app detail page; have a look at this widget, for example.
  3. Now the entire Mendix developer community (including Mendix) can help you improve the quality and help to maintain your widgets and modules over time. Please have a look at how to start a repository or how to collaborate on existing content.

Open-source Mendix widgets on Github

In addition, we will share the source of most Mendix-created widgets and modules on GitHub so that the community can learn, collaborate, reuse and make the content better, together. The first pull requests from the community are already coming in as we speak!

This is just the beginning. In the coming weeks and months, we will create a tighter integration of our App Store with GitHub and extend the App Store to import content from GitHub, create new repositories and view contributions.

So we strive to create a vibrant open source community by contributing and investing a lot ourselves.

In addition to this, I’m happy to share two more innovations in the Mendix August release:

Advanced memory analysis for cloud apps

Recently, my colleague Hans de Visser wrote about the advantages of the Mendix model interpretation approach. The August release shows another step in what he wrote about runtime inspection and analysis of applications. We have added advanced monitoring capabilities for the in-memory data of applications. If you have the proper access rights, you can go to the monitoring page of your application and click the new “cache” tab page. This page will show the amount of objects that currently live in the memory of the application, sorted by entity type or user’s session. This is another great tool to analyze and optimize the runtime behavior of your applications!

Extended web service support

This month’s release also delivers a number of extensions for our web service integration layer:

First, we provide developers the option to fully validate incoming web service calls against the WSDL (see the Settings tab of your published web service).

Second, we added support for “fire and forget” web services, which can be called without expecting a response at all. This is especially useful in distributed, event-driven systems.

Lastly, we added time-outs on web service calls so that you can control this behavior in the model instead of depending on all the different configurations in the infrastructure.

And our monthly Business Modeler usability bonus

I guess after the last few monthly release posts, you start to expect it: we end with a usability bonus feature in our Business Modeler to make the life of our users easier!

This month, we added a filter text box to the ‘Select Image’ dialog in the Modeler. You can now type to filter the list of images. Use the up/down arrow keys to select the desired image after filtering and Enter to confirm the selected image. This was an often-requested improvement and I hope you enjoy it!

Don’t forget to check out the release notes of the new Business Modeler version to see all the other improvements and fixes we made this month.

As always, all changes in the portal are rolled out to everyone. For the Business Modeler updates, you need to download the latest version. 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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