Q&A: Session 1 Rapid Prototyping Your First Application

We received really great questions during our Build with Aras Experience sessions and so we'd like to share them here with all of you. 

The questions below are from Session 1 of the Build with Aras Experience titled Rapid Prototyping Your First Application.

Q: Is it possible to define validation logic for Property values entered in my custom Form?

A: Yes – there are several ways to define validation logic for Property values and these can be either on the server or the client, or both. Basic validation is covered automatically when you create properties, for example, you can define the length of a property and enforce whether or not a value is required for that property. You can also define pattern validation for things like dates using regular expressions. Again, since you can implement validation logic on either the server or the client, or both, there’s lots of flexibility with what you can do here. There are several Aras Labs blog posts covering properties if you're interested in learning more. 

Q: It seems like all the changes are happening live. Do I need to recompile or restart the system?

A: No recompile or restart is required because the changes really are happening live. Just keep in mind that even though the changes do happen live, we recommend testing any changes in a test environment prior to deploying them into production. We have methodology and a bunch of tools that can be used to help migrate features from a development environment to a test environment to the production environment.

Q: Is it possible to allow only a subset of my users to view Items that are in a specific Life Cycle state, for example a Pending or Preliminary state?

A: Absolutely. It’s a pretty common use case to define different permissions for items in different states. Access to items in Aras Innovator is defined by permissions so you can leverage these permissions and easily prevent certain users from viewing items in Preliminary states by simply not including access for them in the permission definition. If you need more sophisticated, policy-based permission rules, this is also available in Aras Innovator and can be implemented pretty easily.

Q: How long does it take to become proficient enough to build an application like you have shown?

A: Not long at all. The beauty of Aras Innovator is that it’s a low-code platform, allowing us to build out applications like the Meeting Manager Application that we showed with minimal code. Most users are able to come up to speed on the basics in a matter of days. Some of the more advanced features take a little more time, but Aras has a wide offering of training options to speed things up. Unlimited training is included with an Aras subscription and each training class features lectures combined with hands-on exercises and labs to enable users at all levels to get the most out of Aras Innovator.

Q: Can workflows have loops? We need to be able to reject changes and restart the review cycle.

A: Sure, workflows can have parallel paths and multiple loops if your business requirements call for them. When setting up parallel paths and multiples loops within your workflow, you can implement voting rules to determine how many users need to approve an item for the workflow to move forward.

Q: Can I create different Forms for different users? I want to hide some details from certain users.

A: Yes. Forms can be created for different target audiences. You can create different Forms for different Identities, which can represent users, groups or roles, and you can have as many different forms as you want.

Q: Workflow map : is there a grid, and snap to grid feature?

A: At this time, there is not yet a snap-to-grid feature for Workflow Maps. However, you can edit the position of each node if you need to. We'll look at adding snap-to-grid to the Aras roadmap.

Q: Is there a way to add custom Business Process validations/automations in Lifecycle state transitions?

A: Yes. There are a bunch of events where you can define and attach custom behavior and validations/automations before and after the transitions. This is available both in the Lifecycle and the Workflow.

Q: Is there any difference in developing applications for the cloud vs. in my own data center?

A: There’s no difference. Within the scope of developing applications in Aras Innovator, it’s the same process regardless of where you choose to deploy – public/private cloud, on-premise, or hybrid scenarios. With either cloud or your own data center, you can develop and deploy copies of your applications, and applications are also portable, so you can move them back and forth between on-premise and cloud deployments.

Q: If the database schema is created through the Innovator, how is performance tuning done?  How much flexibility does the DBA have? (tuning & scalability)

A: With regards to performance tuning, Aras Innovator provides straightforward mechanisms for basic tuning of custom schemas, including column indexing. Some of which can be done through the Aras Innovator UI. If you’re looking for more advanced tuning, this can be done using Microsoft SQL Server Management tools. Performance tuning is also included as part of an Aras subscription.

Q: What are the built-in tools to facilitate integration with external databases, possibly hosted on a remote server and another database vendor such as Oracle ?

A: Managing data across disparate systems and business units is a common challenge to all organizations. Aras provides federation tools to integrate with other databases such as Oracle. We also offer open APIs that are easy to learn and can be used for your integration needs.

Q: Should the Social Secure Enabled for itemtypes which we are going to add as Review Itemtype under Meeting..?

A: If we’re understanding this question correctly, you can combine both formal and informal collaboration in the same loop. There are good reasons to offer both formal and informal collaboration.

Q: Do the API and federation tools require a subscription ?

A: No, all APIs and federation tools are included in the open download. You can find the latest open Aras Innovator download here.

Thank you for sending in these great questions and thank you to everyone who joined our virtual event.

Stay safe, and we hope to see you all again soon!