A New Platform Experience for Accelerated App Delivery
A New Platform Experience for Accelerated App Delivery by David Hartveld
Mendix 7 is here, and with this new release comes a completely new look and feel of our Platform Portal on home.mendix.com. You may have begun exploring the new design, one of the biggest changes we have made to our platform in quite some time. In this blog, I will highlight the most significant changes and improvements we’ve delivered.
We have replaced the different levels and locations of navigation in the old design with a single, consistent menu on the left side of the screen. Here, you can easily navigate through every part of the entire app lifecycle and dig into the details. Then use the breadcrumbs at the top of the page to backtrack to the overview pages. This navigation model reduces the number of clicks to access important pages while covering the entire app lifecycle.
Under ‘Collaborate’, you can find everything you need to collaborate with the app delivery team on the ideas and requirements of your app. Set up your team, prepare the backlog and decide on the scope of the first release. Then find everything required to build your app under ‘Develop’. If you are ready to deploy your app, you can find the test, acceptance and production environments under ‘Deploy’.
Once your app is up and running, you can find everything related to the runtime status of your app and its environments under ‘Operate’. Finally, if you want to configure the platform settings for your app, you can do so under ‘Settings’. In the future, we will extend this navigation menu further to provide access to other app lifecycle features.
Seamlessly Switch Between Model and App
You will appreciate the ‘Edit App’ and ‘View App’ buttons that we have introduced in the core layout of the Platform Portal. At any page within the context of an application, you can click the green ‘Edit App’ button to directly open your app model in the Desktop Modeler for editing, or in the Web Modeler once it is available.
If you want to quickly take a look at your deployed app you can use the blue ‘View App’ button. No longer will you have to remember the exact URL of your application – just click on the ‘View App’ button to open a new tab and review the end result of your app dev efforts. And for Licensed Apps, we provide a dropdown to select any of your environments (Test, Acceptance and Production).
With these two new buttons, we provide a seamless switch between project management, modeling and the end result. This makes it even easier to quickly review the status of your deployed app and work on the model in the Desktop Modeler, all while you make sure it gets delivered on time by monitoring project status in the Platform Portal!
Improved On-Boarding Flow For New Users
For new users, we are making it even easier to get started with the Mendix Platform. Newly signed up users will be presented a short video to introduce them to the Mendix rapid application development platform and its capabilities. They are then presented with a choice for an app starting point for their first app. We guide them into the Desktop Modeler and present them with a series of videos on how to build their first Mendix app.
Users that have been invited to an app team and complete the signup used to go through the same on-boarding process as other users. This wasn’t logical – if you’re invited to an app team, your primary goal is to help with delivery of that app. Therefore, anyone that wasn’t signed up yet for a Mendix Account but does so when they accept an invite to join an app team will land directly on the app buzz in the platform. They can immediately get started working on the app for which they were invited: introduce requirements, start modeling, monitor project status, etc.
Throughout the year we will continue to improve the on-boarding flow for newly signed up users. Your next colleague Mendix developer will be up to speed with Mendix even faster than you were and will be ready to join the collaborative app delivery effort in no time.
Separate Developer and End-User Portals
The home.mendix.com environment is now exclusively dedicated to the app delivery team. When you open that URL you immediately end up in the Mendix Platform Portal, where you can collaborate on your app delivery projects.
We moved the Mendix Launchpad for app users to a separate domain: you can find it at launchpad.mendix.com. Here you will find the Launchpad experience you are familiar with, but now focused solely on consumption of deployed apps, without the distractions of developer-focused services.
Any app you deploy to the Mendix App Cloud will continue to show up on the Mendix Launchpad. Just make sure to include the AppCloudServices module from the App Store and you’re good to go.
Your Mendix Account of course provides single-sign-on access to both the Platform Portal and the Launchpad, and the apps that have been deployed on the Launchpad, to make it easy to switch between them.
Access the Platform Portal From Your Phone
First, we have also redesigned the Mendix Platform Portal app for iOS & Android. We have aligned the look and feel of the mobile app with the rest of the Platform Portal, and improved the Buzz experience so you can stay up to date with progress on your app delivery projects while away from your desk. As it is based on Mendix 7, it is a good example of what you can achieve with our mobile app development features. Get it from the Apple & Google app stores!
Feedback Widget for Phone Form Factor Devices
Second, we restyled the Mendix feedback widget. But we also introduced an often requested feature: feedback widget support for phone form factor apps. If you now include the feedback widget in your phone app, users on devices with screen sizes comparable to or larger than the iPhone 4 can submit feedback to your app team from their phones.
Another big improvement can be found on the Buzz. You’ll see that if you attach images to your Buzz posts, the first image will now be shown full-width – instead of having just a small thumbnail with which you needed to work with before you could look at it in full size. And of course you can still click on any of the images to view it full size in a pop-up. And while we’re discussing the Buzz, note that you can now search it by just hitting ‘enter’ after typing your query into the search field.
Finally, even though this is a really small change, it is nonetheless important to know: company administrators can find the link to the admin screens under their profile menu at the top right corner of the screen.
Do You Have Feedback?
We’re looking for feedback. What do you like about the new design? What would you like to see further improved? We will continue to evaluate all of the feedback we receive and will be rolling out improvements based on that feedback in the next weeks.
So please provide us with any remarks – you can use the feedback widget at the right side of the screen when you are in the Platform Portal.
With the platform redesign, we’re making it easier than ever to run your app delivery projects. Find your way around the Platform Portal more easily with the improved navigation menus. Use the ‘Edit app’ and ‘View app’ buttons to quickly navigate between platform, model and app. And now also use the feedback widget in your mobile apps to collect feedback from your users. With these improvements, you should be able to accelerate delivery of your apps even further.