Welcome to the first release of 2015! We ended 2014 with several interesting announcements: frictionless hybrid mobile apps and the launch of the Cloud Foundry Foundation pursuing open PaaS, of which we are a silver member and active contributor.
This year will be equally exciting: we will continue to update you on the awesome features released on a monthly basis. Forrester has named us a leader in Enterprise Public Cloud Platforms for Rapid Developers, and we are determined to stay the course! 😉
Here is what we have been working on over the last few weeks:
We have always been dedicated users of PostgreSQL in our public cloud and we have no plans to change that as a default. However, it seems that MySQL is always first in line to get some “cloud love.” Just take Amazon Aurora as an example. Therefore, we decided to add native MySQL support to our platform so you have the choice to run Mendix apps on top of a MySQL database. This new feature aligns perfectly with our focus on freedom of choice and openness for our users.
Rapid developer efficiency
If you are a regular reader of this blog, you may notice that we talk a lot about the rapid developer. We take the “rapid” part very serious and continuously improve things to make your life more efficient.
This time, we changed the way you develop using App Services. You can now consume draft versions of published app services during development so that you can quickly iterate and update your service design.
Also, we now start the Mendix Business Server in the background when you deploy locally. This means you can continue working, while your application is being started so you don’t lose precious time.
Doubling down on open source App Store content
We continue to invest in the open source ecosystem around our platform. We improved the integration of our App Store with GitHub. For example, you can now select a release tag from GitHub to add content to the App Store. The add-ons section in our App Store also contains a GitHub category that immediately shows all the open source content available in the App Store with a connected GitHub repository. Three examples of recently contributed content are:
- Chartjs: a widget based on the open source Chart.js library. Create your dataseries using microflows and use this widget to display them. This widget is also implemented in the App Store to display the download trend of content items.
- CKEditor for Mendix: CKEditor is a text editor which can be used as an alternative to the rich text suite.
- Twitter feed widget: this widget retrieves tweets by username and displays them in a list. This is one of the many open source widgets created by our community, in this case by Appronto.
If you would like to start with open source content, read our getting started guide or how to contribute to existing content article. The new statistics tab on the content details page in the App Store will give you a historical view of the popularity of the content you published or contributed to.
Optimal page reloads for a faster and better user experience
Layouts are very a useful tool to help style an application from a modeling perspective. We have now extended their usefulness to the browser in the runtime as well. If you navigate between two pages that share a common layout, only the page content will reload, leaving the layout content unaffected. This means that all widgets in your layout will retain their state and input. Don’t want to select the same tab every time you refresh the page? No problem. Simply place the tab container in your layout and your page will leave your tab selection intact while moving to a new page.
To accommodate this new functionality, we had to take a look at our history mechanism and make a few improvements along the way. Instead of simply storing the entire page in memory, we now instruct our widgets to save their own view state. This applies to everything, from the rows selected in a data grid to a group box that was expanded. The result is that widgets are smarter in saving history data, which also allows us to store a history for any number of pages, instead of a preset amount. This functionality is also available to custom widgets, making it easier to restore them and access previously retrieved objects.
Custom 404 pages
Last but not least, it is now possible to configure your own 404 pages. We were proud of our default 404 page that was used everywhere (see image below). However, we learned that giving our users the flexibility to unleash their own creativity leads to even better results!
As always, all updates are immediately available the next time you log in, and the latest version of the Business Modeler can be downloaded from the Mendix App Store.