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Break New Ground

Visual Builder Studio - February 2021 New Features

Shay Shmeltzer
Director of Product Management - Oracle
This is a syndicated post, view the original post here

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. 

Monaco based Editor

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.

Variable usage

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.

Create Backend

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. 

Choose Files to Commit

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.

Camera component

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.

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