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Visual Builder Studio - February 2021 New Features

We are happy to announce the February 2021 release of Visual Builder Studio, offering many new features. If you already have a VB Studio instance provisioned, all these features are now enabled in your instance. If you still haven't spun up a free VB Studio instance, now would be a great time to provision one and take advantage of all the functionality it provides. In this blog we'll focus on the new features for developers working on visual apps, although there are many additional features, including some in the areas of DevOps automation. You can read about all the new features in the "What's New" doc. You are also invited to join the upcoming Oracle Visual Builder Office Hours online meeting to get even more info and demos of these new features. New Features for Visual Applications Developers Improved Code Editor While much of the development you are doing with Visual Builder is visual and declarative, from time to time you do need to drop into the code -- and now you have a better code editor to support you. Our new code editor is based on the Monaco editor, the same editor powering Visual Studio Code. The new editor provides an improved coding experience that is speedier and better able to handle a large code base. There's also a set of new keyboard shortcuts in the editor; learn more about how to use it in our doc.  Artifacts Usage Info You can now see usage information for variables, types, and other artifacts in your app. The Properties pane shows you where they are used, and allows you to click on a usage to navigate there. For example, when you look at a type, you'll see which variables are based on it. If you look at a variable you'll see which pages access it, and so on. Custom Backends Backends define servers that your application accesses. In addition to the built-in Integration, Process, and Oracle Cloud Application servers, in the new version of VB Studio, allows you to create backends that map to other types of custom servers. This makes defining server properties and switching the servers that you are accessing easier during the lifecycle of your application, using the profiles feature. You can also create sub backends that inherit their definition from the parent backend they belong to, but override some of their properties. Dynamic Services For services that provide an Open API spec or an Oracle ADF describe spec, you can now specify that VB will fetch the spec dynamically. This means that VB will fetch the service definition each time your open the app, and will be able to pick up any changes made to endpoints (such as new fields added, etc). This is quite useful during the development stage, when the structure of your backend is evolving.  Simplified Environment Interactions If your cloud tenancy has only a single instance of Visual Builder, when you create a new visual application project we'll automatically recognize this and add it as an environment. Also, we added an easy way to add certificates to the VB instances defined in your environment directly from Visual Builder Studio's environment tab. Extended Git Functionality The Git menu in the visual editor has a couple of new options that allow you to rename your branch and delete local branches that are no longer needed. In addition, you can now choose which files will be part of a specific commit operation.  Camera Components Interacting with the camera on your device is simplified with the new Camera component in the component palette. Simply drag it into your page and set its properties. No need to add a "take picture" action step manually. Descriptive Action Names When you create an action in an action chain it gets a default ID, which is random. Visual Builder will now automatically rename those default IDs to a more meaningful name once you define the action's properties. For example, once you choose a REST endpoint that is called in a call REST action, VB will rename the ID to include the endpoint name. With more meaningful names your code will be more readable, as well as easier to maintain and debug. Usability Enhancements Many enhancements across the development environment will streamline your interaction with the platform as you develop. Some examples include: Create variable from type shortcut. Easily choose JS functions in the call function action. Import resources into your app from the app menu. Edit business object relationships directly from the related field properties editor. Publish button moved to a new location with better indicator.   Summary There are many other new features spanning other areas of the service. Keep an open eye on this blog for upcoming blog entries covering some of these new features in more details. We hope these will further improve your development speed. If you have any further feedback or questions on any of these - post them on our community forum.

We are happy to announce the February 2021 release of Visual Builder Studio, offering many new features. If you already have a VB Studio instance provisioned, all these features are now enabled in...

Cloud Native

Automating CI/CD for Oracle Cloud Functions with Visual Builder Studio

Serverless computing is one of the more attractive aspects offered by cloud platform - letting you focus on coding functionality and letting the provider take care of providing dynamically scaling platform to run your code. Oracle is offering the Oracle Cloud Functions Service as a platform for hosting serverless functions. Oracle Functions is based on the Fn Project - an open source, container native solution for writing functions that supports a variety of languages (including Java, go, ruby, node, python, and more) . In this blog we'll highlight some of the capabilities that are built into Oracle Visual Builder Studio to help you manage the development cycle for such functions and to automate continuous deployment to the Oracle cloud platform. The video demo below focuses on the code management and CI/CD automation functionality. For code management we use the Git repositories in Visual Builder Studio. For CI/CD automation VB Studio offers Fn specific build steps as well as integration with the Oracle infrastructure environment: In this blog we won't cover the basics of setting up a functions environment in the Oracle Cloud - for that we would recommend following the getting started with functions tutorials. Setting Up CI/CD Environment for Functions In our build job we use three steps to configure our build and deployment environment. The first one is a Docker Login step - in our example we hook up to the Oracle Container Registry. To do that you just need to provide the url for your registry region.oicr.io and your user/pass. (Note that if you wish to use other docker registries you can connect to them instead). Then we setup the environment for OCIcli command to work in using the OCIcli step. The information you require for this can mostly be found through your OCI tenancy and user information. More info on where you can locate the specific value for each of the fields is in our doc. The third configuration is specific for the fn context used in OCI using the Fn OCI step. The information for this section can be found on the getting started tab of the specific app you created in the functions area in your Oracle Cloud environment. In order to run these create a build VM that adds the Docker, OCIcli, and Fn software to the default VM template - info here. Fn Build Steps Depending on your goals you can choose the appropriate Fn step from the set of built-in steps offered by VB Studio - these map to the regular fn command lines and provide easier way to customize the activities. In the demo we are using an Fn Build step to create the function, then an Fn Push to publish the function into the Oracle containers registry, and finally an Fn Deploy to deploy the function into an application in the Oracle Cloud Function service.   And Much More As the demo shows, you can easily hook up your build to your Git repository so changes in code will trigger a build process. Also note that your build can run unit test on your functions, and even check for vulnerabilities in third party libraries you might be using. In addition don't forget that Visual Builder Studio also provides you with a full team management platform for tracking issues, managing development sprints, and sharing information through wikis. The combination of Visual Builder Studio and Oracle Cloud Functions gives your team a perfect platform for cloud-native serverless development.

Serverless computing is one of the more attractive aspects offered by cloud platform - letting you focus on coding functionality and letting the provider take care of providing dynamically scaling...