The Rome release is just around the corner, so as usual, we took a sneak peek into the new instance to give you a summary of some great new features being added. This article focuses on the technical aspects primarily relevant for Admins, Developers, and Security teams.
App Engine Studio – Collaboration and Delegated Development
Those much-needed enhancements allow your App Engine developers to work better together. They help minimize the risk of impacting your platform by ensuring the right level of user access.
You can define collaboration descriptors (think “profiles”) such as Owner, Editor and then assign to them the required permissions. Possible types of permissions include Application Management (ability to access source control app versions or delete the app), File Type Access (accessing only specific App File types), Programming Tools (access to script fields),
Deployment (submitting the app to go live). These descriptors can be added for individual users or user groups as needed.
If you allow them, users will be able to invite other users to collaborate on their app! An admin must, of course, approve those invites. Overall, you gain much more control over what your (citizen or pro) Devs can do, all from one place.
This plugin can be installed and used either together or separately with Application Engine Studio.
Mobile App Builder
Mobile App Builder will be your new go-to place for Mobile Apps, replacing the current Mobile Studio. A powerful, streamlined interface allows to create and configure rich mobile experiences.
Mobile App Builder is based on the now UI Builder / Now Experience framework, similar to the already introduced, UI Builder-powered Workspace or Portal experiences. It will make it easier for your App creators to move around and tap into the power of this unified design framework and be more productive, providing guided experiences for a quick start. The Builder will manage and organize the flow of the screens which constitute your mobile app. It works together with the Mobile Card Builder, in which you can visually design the individual screens. Some of the benefits include:
- Easy to navigate the structure of your app artifacts,
- Guided configuration of mobile apps, prevention of misconfiguration, auto-population of necessary fields for data relationships,
- Quick and transparent insight into how your app artifacts connect and how they will be presented within the overall app.
This plugin can be integrated with the App Engine Studio but will also be made available on the Store as a standalone plugin at no additional cost.
UI Builder / Now Experience – Portals, Workspaces
A lot of enhancements are coming out in those areas as well.
In the previous Quebec release, it became possible to create new Portals using the UI Builder / Now Experience framework, in addition to Workspaces. Workspaces built using UI Builder now have configurable layouts, with each page being fully configurable as to the placement of individual components. This adds much-sought flexibility compared to previous versions of the Workspaces.
Both Experiences will now benefit from new UI Builder functionalities, some notable additions being:
- Viewport components.
With those, you can add custom pages or third-party interfaces within your UX Portal pages without actually modifying the pages themselves! The viewport allows you to create tabs with different content and manage those using UI builder’s “Manage content” mode without interfering with the parent page. The tabs can have their audience, making it easy to create page variants without worrying about the OOTB pages and upgrade processes. For example, if you add your tab and logic to the Record form page within a new viewport/tab, the out-of-the-box page will still be updated with new features while your new component remains unchanged.
- Themes – CSS Editor and Preview Page
You can use OOTB themes, extend those or create your custom themes. Themes also support CSS variables in the CSS editor, making applying your styling to a Workspace or a Portal much more flexible and straightforward. Your UI Builders can reference any Theme variables you define while styling individual components within the CSS Editor.
- Condition Builder
Whenever you add Data to your components, you now can use the full power of Condition Builder to specify which data should be fetched for your component. On top of static filters, you can bind conditions to dynamic values like data resources, page properties, client state parameters, etc.
Make sure your Flows always run – even if they don’t run! It becomes possible with the new Error Handling feature, which allows you to trigger separate flow logic if the default logic fails for any reason.
You can add a system log, a notification to an admin, or perhaps automatically create an incident to be solved or manually assign a task to a team if integration fails within your flow.
The Error handling part can use Actions, Subflows, and Flow Logic, just like the main part. It is the high-level equivalent of a try-catch statement.
The considerable amount of logged execution details (on by default) which allowed to debug a flow quickly, was also causing instance performance problems. Many of our clients reported this, wishing there was a way to disable the logging or only enable it for specific flows.
In Rome, the logging is globally disabled by default and will only happen when a Flow is tested. You can still enable it globally for real Flow executions by updating the com.snc.process_flow.reporting.level property. What’s more useful is allowing this flow-by-flow to create a record in the Process Automation > Settings table.
Dev Studio – create UX Applications
It is now possible to create and manage UI Builder-powered experiences in the Dev Studio. Once the initial configuration record is created in Studio, a “Go to UI Builder” button further develops your Portal or Workspace in the UI Builder.
ATF – Headless Browser support
This new feature will help you further automate your testing, whether using a CI/CD pipeline or just running automated unit/regression tests using Automated Test Framework.
You will no longer need to manually open a browser for the Client Test Runner as part of your testing steps to test the User Interface functionality. It will now happen using the headless browser functionality in a Docker environment. This feature requires installing Docker on one of your servers and is supported for Linux and Windows environments. Thanks to that, you can test both backend and frontend without interruption for manual steps.
Several interesting additions, enhancing the security of your ServiceNow Platform:
Multi-Factor Authentication (MFA) now supports hardware security keys and biometric authentication.
You can give your users more, safer ways to authenticate when accessing ServiceNow. Those include using hardware security keys (which you plug into a USB port on your device) and biometric scanners, such as fingerprint readers or facial recognition scanners.
In order to allow those, you need to install an “Integration – Web Authentication” plugin. Your end-users must first register an Authenticator application and then the specific Biometric scanning device (such as a built-in camera or fingerprint scanner) under Self Service > My Profile. After doing all this, they can see the registered method of authentication when prompted for MFA.
Data Export Metrics
With this new feature added to your Instance Security Center, you can control and monitor which users export data from your instance.
Utilizing the existing Data Classifications defined in your instance, under Export Metrics settings, you can determine which classifications should be included in the Classified exports metrics reports and or in security alerts/notifications (e.g., Confidential, Private).
You can then view a dedicated Chart and Metrics breakdown, which will inform you what data is the most exported one, which users export most of the data from your instance, how often that happens, and so on. Currently, the breakdowns are provided per User per Table.
Platform Encryption in Rome makes it possible for certain business logic to access encrypted data, which means you no longer have to make a compromise between encrypting data and loss of functionality. When specifying Cryptographic module access policies, you can now define if specific Scripts should have the possibility to decrypt field values “on the fly” and if the System user should be able to decrypt those values.
It also enables orchestration and reporting on those data, giving critical system processes runtime access to decrypted values.
Administrators must still approve or reject a request made by a script or a system user/process the first time it is asked, meaning you remain in control of what is allowed.
Rome wasn’t built in a day
But the Rome release will change your day-to-day ways of working. It will improve collaboration with developers through App Engine Studio, with more options for assigning access to different users. Better cooperation will be possible also thanks to new ways of configuring mobile apps with the Mobile App Builder. Enhancements in UI Builder will improve flexibility, enriching your flow with automatic error handling in Flow Designer and automated testing functionalities in Automation Test Framework. Predictive Intelligence will take the automation process to the next level, spotting which manual work can replace with automation tools. On top of that, you will get better security with Multi-Factor Authentication, Data Export Metrics, and Platform Encryption.