The Visual Builder team is happy to announce the rollout of a new version of our service with many new features and enhancements. In this blog entry we highlight the key new additions, but you are certain to discover many other enhancements as you go through your daily development process as well.
We all know that following a test driven development approach can help detect coding issues sooner, making it easier to produce a fix. So how come not all developers follow this methodology? Maybe because writing tests for your code is not fun. With the new Action Chains Test Automation features Visual Builder makes test creation easy and painless. Visual Builder looks at your action chain, and automatically suggest helpful information for defining tests. All you have to do is provide examples of values you expect in variables, and typical results from your REST calls, and VB runs through your action chains and offer suggestions for test results you might want to add to your test case. You'll also be able to see what percentage of your code is covered by your test, and be able to run individual or complete test suites easily.
When Visual Builder applications access data from other sources, it is quite common to have different backend environments used for the development, test, and production stages. With the new application profiles feature in VB, you can define combinations of different servers and security settings to be used in each stage of your application. These profiles will be picked up when you move your application from dev to stage to publish and applied properly. You can also use the same profiles when you automate your application's CI/CD through the VB grunt lifecycle commands.
Further simplifying this switching is the introduction of two new artifacts - backends and servers. Backends - are types of servers you connect to such as Oracle Cloud Apps, Oracle Integration Cloud, and Oracle Process Cloud. The other artifact is called a server - which is constructed from a combination of URL, headers, authentication, and connection settings for a specific server. This allows you to easily switch the server being used as a specific backend in your application when using a specific application profile.
Open API 3.0 is becoming the de-facto industry standard for describing REST based services through metadata. Up until now VB supported Swagger - the predecessor to Open API. With this release Visual Builder adds support to import Open API 3.0 meta-data to help help you consume REST services easily.
We've redesigned our REST service definition dialogs to streamline the process of adding REST services to your app. We've also made it easier to understand how to connect to different services in terms of security settings, CORS support, and usage of the Visual Builder Proxy.
In addition, we added support for connecting to resources on Oracle Compute Infrastructure (OCI) using the API signature approach.
We also made it easy to specify headers and assign them to specific servers.
You'll notice UI improvements all over the service connection dialogs, as well ass the ability to switch to code view to see the service's metadata directly.
While on the topic of refactoring across the app, a new "Find in Files" tab allows you to find all the references to a name in the app, so you can refactor all of them more easily.
To help you further leverage the devices you are running your apps on, the Open URL action allows you to easily access files and open them with dedicated mobile apps.
Two new $application level variables ($application.deployment.appType & $application.deployment.pwa) distinct between applications that are web vs mobile and whether they are packaged as PWA. This can help you better tailor your app behavior while reusing code in the app. Mobile app also benefit from the new Application Profile features mentioned above.
We've updated Visual Builder to pick up the latest version of Oracle JET, including new UI components, and, of course, any bug fixes and enhancement that were included in the releases since JET 7.1. You'll also notice new UI components in the Component Palette including treeView and heatMap visualizations.
When you build large data models made up of many inter-related business objects, the service definitions for these business objects can become bloated. This is because, by default, Visual Builder generates a complete set of accessor REST APIs at every level of the relationship between objects. We've introduced a new Business Object Resource Editors which allow you to tailor exactly which relationships are exposed by REST endpoints and which aren't, thereby maximizing the performance of your apps both at runtime and when using the designer.
The features we listed above are by no means a complete list of new features. You should visit our "What's New" document to learn about other features and to be able to directly navigate for the new documentation on the features we added. Let us know what you think by commenting on the blog or on the Oracle Visual Builder Community.