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A Release With Layers – Meet Bungle Bungle

Ready for even more customisation options in Appenate? 🛠️

A fascinating geological landmark in Western Australia, the Bungle Bungle range features beehive-shaped towers of rock rising above deep green forest. Shaped by the elements over millennia, these orange and black striped domes make for breathtaking scenery. 

We don’t have a million years to tinker with Appenate, so our team has already kicked off on the new improvements and features below. 

And yes, we’re aware of the connotations of the release name – put it down to our twisted sense of humour 😉

What do you call an insect that messes everything up?
– A bungle bee 🐝

Render Custom Layers/Polygons on your Maps

A lot of our customers are using Geographic Information Systems (GIS) to create their own maps of key land areas, complete with detailed information layers on top – providing everything from soil composition to hydrological data.
Having this information in a GIS is great, but what if you need to access that info out in the field?

We’re making this possible with new “Overlay With Geo Data” properties that’ll be added to the Mapping Designer and Form Designer.
Now you’ll be able to render polygons and other data layers on top of map locations right inside the Appenate app.

This functionality will be driven by Keyhole Markup Language (KML), which defines the layers and their display elements. You’ll be able to dump static KML text directly into the new Overlay property, or dynamically acquire the KML from Data Sources or Form fields by using a formula.

We look forward to seeing the creative uses you get out of this new option!

Use Custom Tile Sources for Map Display

Currently, the maps displayed in the Appenate app are driven by the default “tile source” – namely Apple Maps on iOS, Google Maps on Android and Thunderforest map tiles for Windows. 

If you’re one of those GIS users, chances are that you already have the capability to generate your own custom map tiles, embedded with extra data points such as contouring. Even if you don’t use a GIS though, there are many mapping providers around that can provide differently defined maps which may prove useful for your workers. A typical example is highly detailed satellite imagery – not something we can provide due to cost, but may be a game-changer for your team?

That’s why we’re working on a new “Mapping Tile Source” option which you’ll be able to set as an Organisation level default as well as at a Screen level. With it, you’ll specify the URL to your custom tile source, and the app will display maps using those tiles accordingly.

Full Control Over the App Title Bar

With the move to our v6 app engine finally complete, you may have noticed that we now adopt the exact same navigation and layouts for the top title bar across all devices. Previously Android differed somewhat from iOS in terms of layouts.

What didn’t change with v6 was that Form screens were still “locked” in terms of being able to change the top right buttons of the title bar. These were strictly controlled by the app engine to provide default page navigation within the Form entry. We also locked down the left-most button of the title bar on all Screen types to ensure users always had an Exit capability to get out of the screen.

For most cases, this locked-down behaviour was no issue. However, it also restricted some new and interesting uses of our app technology, particularly in terms of providing “drill down” behaviours from one Screen to the next. There were also scenarios where our “power user” customers wanted to use a different approach for Screen navigation, one that did not rely on the title bar to provide options like Exit.

If you were one of those power users, the good news is that we’re now unlocking these title bar areas. All four title bar button slots will now be editable in all Screen type designers, including Forms. No doubt this is going to result in a few of you forgetting to provide Exit or other navigations, but “with great power comes great responsibility” 😛

Layering on the Improvements

We’re making some cosmetic improvements along with some handy functionality tweaks; we hope these make our platform more intuitive for you! 

Dropdown Buttons for a Cleaner UI

In the top right corner of our Form designer sit five pretty big buttons. We’ll be the first to admit that these haven’t aged all that well. 

To make our platform more functional and visually appealing, we’re folding these buttons into a dropdown. They’ll be in the same place, super easy to find, and a lot less clunky looking. We’ll be looking to make similar improvements to other screens that suffer from “too many buttons” syndrome 😉

Relocating Various Action Buttons

On the Screens view on the web portal, the “Organise” and “Manage” buttons are all the way over to the right, next to the “Add New” button. 

This is fine once you get used to it. The thing is, what if users didn’t have to “get used to it”? 

In a further effort to clean up the UI and create a more intuitive user experience, we’re moving those buttons closer to the table containing your apps, so they’ll be within easier reach.

Form Page Links 

Having to hover over rows on the Screens page to find the options’ settings, design, connect, clone” isn’t always obvious. For this reason, we’re fixing this by adding always-visible icons to represent these actions. 

This will allow faster navigation and make the web portal more intuitive to the newer user. 

Publishing Method to Branding Center (iOS)

There are currently three different methods to publish iOS apps, but we haven’t made a clear distinction between these methods. 

For this reason, we’re adding a new field that’ll allow you to choose how to publish these apps. 

  • App Store (publicly visible)
  • Apple Business Manager (For internal apps – Organisation Name and ID will be required)
  • Apple Enterprise (ONLY SUPPORTED BY OLDER APPS)

This will help our Enterprise and AAAS clients publish via the correct method without submitting a support ticket. 

New Icon Column on Task Recurring Template

At present, there’s no way to assign icons to our Excel Task Recurring Template. This causes the issue that every task uploaded defaults to an icon that isn’t always desired. 

We recognise that this could cause a lot of manual work for those helping multiple clients, so we’re working on a fix to avoid the time lost to editing. 

Adding Access Permissions to User Imports

When importing a user via an Excel template, you can specify the Access level – Read-Only, User, Admin, etc. A handy feature, but specific permissions can’t be set when using this method. 

To prevent any resulting manual work, we’re adding the ability to assign these specific permissions in the future, saving you time when using this method. 

Revised Locked Form Flow

Currently, locking a Form takes it out of Test mode. We’re changing this so that you can keep testing while preventing others from making changes. 

Only the user that locked the Screen can edit, but Admins will also be able to unlock screens to prevent potential ‘forever locked’ scenarios. 

New API Endpoints & Methods

We’re Adding API Methods To Extend Screen Searches

Our Screens endpoint, v2/screen/form, currently supports Form screens. We’re adding support for our various other screen types as well.
These include:

  • /v2/screen/detail/search – Returns the Published version of matching Details Screens or all versions of a single specified Detail Screen
  • /v2/screen/iconboard/search – Returns the Published version of matching Icon Boards or all versions of a single specified Icon Board
  • /v2/screen/list/search – Returns the Published version of matching Listing Screens or all versions of a single specified Listing Screen
  • /v2/screen/map/search – Returns the Published version of matching Map Screen or all versions of a single specified Map Screen

This means you’ll soon be able to search for all screen types.

Making FormEntry/Search Properties Optional

Currently, the /v2/formentry/search API requires a form (FormExternalID or FormID) to be passed in. With this update, FormID and FormExternalID will be optional, allowing you to run a search based on only a Date filter. 

GET Repository/Search: Add Screen Name

Currently, neither the Screen Name nor the External ID is not part of the API. 

This will allow users to specify the Screen Name or the External ID to search via the repository/search (GET) API. 

Folder API Endpoints – v2/folder

Our Folders API currently only has a GET endpoint that supports searching folders. We’ll be adding the following additional Folder API endpoints: 

  • GET v2/folder/search – finds all the Folders matching the given criteria 
  • GET v2/folder – return the Folder matching the given parameters as well as the contents of the Folder
  • PUT v2/folder – add items to Folder
  • POST v2/folder – create a new Folder
  • DELETE v2/folder

Maintenance

Here’s a quick list of general maintenance and bug fixes. As always, remember that there will likely be more items on this list when we’re finished!

  • Fix File Renaming Bug
  • Sort Salesforce Connector Fields
  • Section fields Visibility not taken into account on export (new layouts)
  • Cater for Nulls Sorting in SQL Pagination
  • iOS 16 Devices Unable to close Captured Video Preview
  • ‘Run required apps’ won’t remove all previous answers
  • OCR Field’ Copy to Device Gallery’ crashes the Android App when processing the photo
  • OCR Field ‘On Capture Action’ doesn’t work for Windows App
  • Remove deprecated app code
  • Upgrade Google Maps SDK

Closing out the Year with No Bungles!

That’s it for what will be our last planned release cycle of 2022.

Once Bungle Bungle has been delivered, our team will be taking a break for the festive season, in between working on some big maintenance projects that should make the platform faster and more reliable than ever.

Keep an eye on your inbox for the complete announcement in the coming weeks; we hope these improvements make your lives just a little easier. 

Thank you to every customer that has let us know how and where we can improve – without you, the Appenate platform wouldn’t be what it is today.