Softools are delighted to announce that we will be launching a Modern version of our zero code App Builder product this December. Softools are dedicated to incorporate cutting edge technology to give the best Zero Code App Build experience. This enables both technical and non-technical App Builders to have confidence in building effective, process driven application allowing for you to rapidly deploy business critical Apps within your organisation.
We have taken the same 8-step Build Process that has proven itself to be the most effective method to deploying Apps in the Legacy App Builder and enhanced all areas to give the best User Experience when used in conjunction with our new Front End released earlier this year.
This articles covers some of the best new features that App Studio has to offer.
Thank you for all of your feedback over the last couple of years that have helped us to build our most powerful and intuitive Appstudio.
Quickly Deploy an App in Seconds
An exciting new feature in App Studio is the ability to ‘Auto-Generate’ an application . This really does means that you can have a fully functioning App Structure in just seconds.
When adding a new App, you can now specify the Title Field Identifier and ask Softools to Auto Generate the Application. This will take the Title Field and add it to one Template, on one Form, on one List Report meaning that the App is fully functional for the App Builder to then embed their business process into.
On Page Descriptions
Softools have increased the help available to support App Builders to understand what each of the components and configuration elements in the App Build are for. There is now friendly help added to guide you through the build process and understand both what the option is for as well as why it is important for your Users.
When setting the App and template icons, the App Builder will now have more clarity on the images that are being used. You will now be able to preview the images in a thumbnail for selection making it much clearer to see which image has been selected.
Default Offline Application Setting
App Builders will now also be able to set the default offline availability of an App. With the major version update in the Workspace earlier this year, we have been able to offer the ability to use Applications in offline mode. This means that when the User logs in to the portal, it will synchronise the data into their browser so that they can continue to operate if they lose an internet connection.
There are a number of features in an App that really improve the End User experience including setting the Record Title Field, required Fields and appropriate searchable Fields in an App.
Previously this needed to be set from within each Field but now we have improved efficiency by allowing you to set these Fields from within the main list of Fields.
Field Data Type Guidance
The most successful applications pay close attention to using the correct Field Types for each piece of data. Now when creating a Field, the App Builder will be given guidance to ensure that they choose the correct Field to best capture and validate the data. These are further enhanced by the option of further info which take the user to this support area showing more information on the field type
Expression Structure Validator
Expressions can be simple but they can also grow to be complex to meet the requirement of the App. To help you, our Modern version of App Studio has had a much requested feature implemented to validate the Expressions that you are using in applications.
This will check there are the correct number of parenthesis and parameters in each function such as 3 parameters in an if() statement to capture logic, value if true and value if false. It will also check the correct data types are being used such as Text - ‘text’, Number - 2 and Boolean - false.
This will be available shortly after new App Studio is released as an update
List Field Controls
Attention has been given to the List Fields where we have added expressions that can be used with filters to sum, average, count or concatenate text in one of the columns in a List Field. With the added power of this Field Type we have also added the ability to control the layout. Columns can be given a pixel width or set to auto-expand to fill up the remaining screen width available such as in the example here.
Template Basic Builder
Softools now supports the long awaited drag and drop functionality throughout App Studio to assist App Builders in quickly creating and updating the look and feel of Apps.
A list of available Fields will now appear on the right of the screen and as well as being able to click on an empty cell to add a Field, you can also drag the Field from the List on the right into the cell where it should appear.
Drag and Drop also supports dragging a row up or down the template meaning it is far easier in the modern App Studio to insert a new Row of Fields in the middle of a template. This was previously not possible which caused work when needing to add fields in the middle of a template.
Attention in the Forms area has been focused to enhancing the power of the rules engine for controlling the visibility of Forms and now also the templates within them.
Using new App Studio, a rule can be added per template. This means that instead of generating multiple Forms, an App Builder can add all Templates to fewer Forms and control when these parts of the Business Process are exposed based on the values in Fields to determine the process phase.
Watch this space in coming releases as we will also be intending to increase the power of this feature further to incorporate Field level visibility as well giving further emphasis to tailor the App to fit the Business Process.
Increased List Report Controls
There are two areas of focus here, the first is to improve on the UX of the existing List Reports and the second is a new Report type that is based on Apps where data can be entered in a spreadsheet style of data input.
For List Reports, there is the option to switch off the auto-layout option so Users can scroll along the page to get to all the Fields in the Report. We have also enabled Drag and Drop to replace Display Order making it far quicker and easier to reorder the columns in these Reports.
The all new Table Report
This concept has then inspired a new Report Type called a Table Report which has a number of additional feature improvements over the existing List Report. Columns can be set as sticky, which means that they can be configured to always display the first few columns in the Report. This is particularly useful for Apps with large data entry across all Record in an App such as entering Resourcing Hours across a number of days but always wanting to keep the Project Name, Person an Week Number visible all the time.
Additional functionality in this Report is the ability to lock the Column Headings and then scroll down the page to load more Records. In a similar way this helps the Users to know which Field they are editing alongside which Record they viewing. As the user scrolls more records are loaded in the background, so there is a full scroll on the right, as well as options for paging
The inline editing is also smoother and this report has been described as being very similar to an Excel sheet, designed for data entry where column and row headers are always visible
New Report Types
As well as improving the list styled Reports, we have also added a variety of new charts over the last few months which can now be configured in the Modern App Studio
Two new Chart Types are the Network Chart and Gauge Chart to present information back to the User. The gauge chart also showcases a new ability to be able to show aggregated values across all Records in an App whilst displaying the value for the specific Record as well.
App Builders can now also set the background colour on cells in a Matrix Report. At the moment this is from a Status Field in the Records so suitable when all Records in a cell in a Matrix take the same value such as some Heat Maps but in our roadmap we will extend this to be on calculated values in 2021.
iframe Dashboard Tile Type
Whilst the ability to iframe in a Dashboard has been around before we have enhanced this area to keep to our Zero Code philosophy. With the addition of this Tile Type it is now quick and simple to embed a Report or external source within a Homepage or App Report.
Dedicated Translation Area
Translations are increasingly a required component of App Build as solutions are being rolled out to a global User base. To help App Builders maintain these translations, App Studio will present all of the App Translations in one place as an additional Step in the Build Process.
An exciting new development here is that translations can be updated via exporting the system generated auto-translations and importing any overrides that are necessary. Allowing all labels and words in a single App to be translated in one go and imported
We hope you enjoy the new appstudio! If you have any feedback, please contact Softools support in the normal way.
Thank you for your continued support, from the all of us in the Softools team