5 things to look forward to in Mendix 9

Mendix 9 is scheduled for release at the end of March 2021. With it come a lot of new features that will make the lives of us ‘Mendix Makers’ easier. My name is Paul Ketelaars and I’m a senior Mendix consultant here at TimeSeries and recognized by Mendix within its Most Valuable Professional (MVP) program. In this blog I’ll lay out my personal top 5 of the new features coming with Mendix 9. I’ve saved the best for last so start reading!

5 things to look forward to in Mendix 9

1. Looping

Wait, what? Loops (or Iterators in Mendix) have been around for a while, right? Yup, that’s very true. With Mendix 9, we have something new to play with though. Instead of having to iterate through the entire list, you can now build a ‘while’ loop! For example: `while $Counter < 5, do stuff`. That’s a pretty convenient change, I’d say! 

Basically this means that starting from Mendix 9, we have two kinds of loops: ‘For Each’ (complete list) and ‘While’ (condition is true).

2. Mx Assist Performance Bot

Ever heard of Mendix Assist? It’s the bot that will help you develop faster by learning from your microflows and recommending new things to build in your microflows. Well, the bot family is expanding! New in the line of Assist Bots, is the Performance Bot. The performance bot helps you improve the performance of your apps by inspecting your project model and referencing them with best practices. It detects anti-patterns, suggests possible solutions and in some cases, can even automatically fix these issues!

3. PWA

PWAs, or Progressive Web Apps, offer ‘offline-first’ capabilities similar to that of a native mobile app. The big difference is that a PWA doesn’t have to be published to any app store! Users visiting your app on their phone or tablet, can get an ‘Add to Home Screen’ message. This basically adds a tile to the home screen with a direct link to your app. It feels like a native app, it acts like a native app, but it’s not a native app.

Mendix has released a cool flowchart on when to pick what kind of mobile app, to best suit your needs. For example: Apple doesn’t support ‘Web Push Notifications’ (as of yet), so a PWA cannot receive push notifications on iOS and if this is a requirement you’ll know you need to build a native app instead, and indeed the flowchart would guide you to this conclusion. Last year, my colleague Freek Brinkhuis hosted a webinar about going mobile with Mendix Native. He also gives workshops about this subject. Please drop me a line if you’re interested!

For more information on deciding on a PWA or Native mobile app, see this document.

4. Task Queue

Who hasn’t built an application where you had to run heavy microflows asynchronously and had to implement the Process Queue module from the Mendix App Store / Marketplace. The Task Queue does exactly that, but better (and built into Studio Pro!).

Compared to the Process Queue, the Task Queue:

  • Supports a multi-node cluster setup (and thus can be used in a horizontally scaled environment), whereas the Process Queue can only be used in single-node applications
  • Doesn’t require you to create any additional entities, since you can simply mark a microflow to be executed in the background

5. Workflow

Let’s be honest here. A lot of applications have some sort of workflow part in them. Now wouldn’t it be convenient if you could create a complete workflow from within Studio (Pro)? Well, with Mendix Workflow, you can! You can use workflow templates to get you started, call microflows from a workflow, and you can even call another workflow from your workflow <Insert Xzibit meme here>.

But wait, there’s more. The users using the workflow also have an overview of their workflow tasks. You can even include analytics, notifications and more!

All of this was actually announced during Mendix World 2020, but since then, not a lot of information has been released.  I’m really looking forward to getting my hands on this Workflow ‘Engine’ and seeing what this thing can actually do! Stay tuned for a more hands-on walkthrough about Workflow soon!

Honorable mentions

So I’m looking forward to the above new stuff most. But there are some other things in Mendix 9 that deserve a mention nonetheless. Here goes:

  • Data grid 2.0 – A new widget in the Mendix Marketplace, it’s a complete rewrite of the current (built-in) datagrid. Much more flexibility and options! Can’t wait to see what we can do with this (Found in the marketplace)
  • New merge algorithm – A way to resolve conflicts on the lowest level. No longer do we have to replace entire documents (i.e. a complete microflow) but we can actually pick changes at individual elements

Of course there’s a lot more going on with Mendix 9; features, improvements, fixes. It’s bound to be a big release. Actually… you can already try out most of these features: the beta is publicly available for you to download.

March 11, 2021
Paul Ketelaars