Oracle® Cloud

What's New in Oracle Visual Builder Studio

F21008-02

June 2020

What’s New for Oracle Visual Builder Studio

Oracle Visual Builder Studio (VB Studio) brings you all the functionality previously available with Oracle Developer Cloud Service. You also get the ability to build web and mobile applications in the Visual Builder Designer, as well as to extend certain Oracle Cloud Applications to customize the UI for your business needs.

VB Studio offers end-to-end functionality for your development team, from planning releases and managing development backlog, to hosting source code in Git, to designing, building, testing, and deploying cloud-native applications to your Oracle Cloud Applications and Oracle Cloud instances.

For Developer Cloud Service Users

If you were previously a Developer Cloud Service user, the following table will help you understand the primary differences between Developer Cloud Service and VB Studio.

How Developer Cloud Service and VB Studio Differ? Find out more:
You don’t need to migrate your Developer Cloud Service projects. A VB Studio instance replaces your Developer Cloud Service instance, and you can continue to use your existing projects and corresponding DevCS features just as they are, without any impact to you. Using Oracle Developer Cloud Service has been restructured and rewritten for VB Studio and is now called Managing Your Development Process with Visual Builder Studio. If you’re an administrator, you’ll want to check out Administering Visual Builder Studio as well.

VB Studio comes equipped with the Designer, which enables you to develop web and mobile apps through a graphical user interface, using components from the Oracle JavaScript Extension Toolkit (JET). To test these applications, or to release them for production, you must deploy the apps to a separate Visual Builder instance, which serves as the runtime environment.

Of course, you can still use VB Studio to build apps with a third party IDE or code editor and use VB Studio as the code repository, just as you did with DevCS. You can also use VB Studio to test, deploy, and maintain those apps throughout their lifecycles—nothing’s changed there.

Building Web and Mobile Applications explains how to use the VB Studio Designer to build web and mobile apps.
If you have purchased Oracle Cloud Applications subscriptions that have front ends built with JET components, you can also use the VB Studio Designer to extend those apps to customize them for your business needs. See Extending Oracle Cloud Applications.

Developer Cloud Service used tags to associate service instances with environments. In VB Studio, you’ll need to add service instances again to environments, because the service instances associated with the environments were removed as part of the upgrade. The environments themselves were not removed, just the service instances associated with them.

For information about how to add a service instance to an environment, see Manage an Environment.

For Visual Builder Users

In VB Studio you still use the Designer to create your visual applications, but the infrastructure surrounding that process has changed significantly, as described here:

How Visual Builder and VB Studio Differ? Find out more:
In VB Studio, you and your team belong to an organization. Within that organization are projects, which help to organize the work for a given endeavor. A project contains a Git repository, where your source code is stored, along with build jobs that package up your app’s artifacts and deploy them to the target environment. Each project also contains tools to help you manage your visual application’s lifecycle, like an Agile board, issue tracker, team wikis, and more. What Is Oracle Visual Builder Studio?

Whereas Visual Builder used to contain the runtime environment where you could test and deploy your visual applications, VB Studio requires you to have a separate Visual Builder instance to serve as your runtime environment, and to establish communication between the two services.

VB Studio manages the runtime environment instances that serve as your development, test, and production environments in the Environments page. Within the Environments page, you can view the status of the various service instances that have been added to your environment.

If you’re an administrator, see Set Up VB Studio for Developing Visual Applications to find out how to hook up your runtime to VB Studio.

If you’re an app developer, see Share, Publish, and Deploy Visual Applications.

Your work in the Designer now takes place in a workspace, which is an entirely private area within a project that only you can access. The workspace brings together everything you need to build your visual app: a private branch within the Git repository and a VB Studio environment that points to your Visual Builder runtime instance. If you’re an app developer, see Create Visual Applications in VB Studio.

If you want others to collaborate with you in the development of apps in your project, your project owner will need to add them to the project and you’ll need to commit your workspace to a branch in a Git repository that is shared with these project members.

To facilitate collaboration, the Designer in VB Studio includes built-in support for Git with a Git menu in the toolbar that accesses the Git commands you’re likely to use most frequently (Pull and Push, for example). There's also a new navigator tab (Git Panel) that provides a view to uncommitted changes in your workspace, and tools to resolve conflicts when your changes conflict with other changes in the Git repository branch that you want to commit.

If you're a project owner, see Add and Manage Project Users. If you're an app developer, see Manage Your Visual Applications With Git.

In Visual Builder, the Stage and Publish actions were key parts of your development cycle. In VB Studio, however, you use Share to share your application with others for testing purposes, and Publish to push your changes from your local Git repository to the master branch of your remote repository (that is, the project's version) and deploy it to the Visual Builder runtime environment.

If you’re an app developer, see Share a Visual Application and Manage Deployed Visual Applications.

For business objects, VB Studio maintains one database schema per workspace. As a best practise, we recommend that you use the same workspace and branch to create and edit business objects in a visual application.

See Work with Business Objects.

VB Studio provides the following options to manage your visual application’s business object data:

  • Menu options to import and export data. You access these options from the Visual Applications tab for the deployed visual application in the Environments page
  • Build jobs to import and export business object data
See Manage Business Object Data During Development.
You can use the visual applications you built in Visual Builder within VB Studio by importing them, then performing a few post-import tasks. See Learn About Migrating to Oracle Visual Builder Studio.

VB Studio manages connections to backend services differently to Visual Builder, where a Visual Builder administrator added these services to the Tenant Settings page.

In VB Studio, the steps to create a connection depend on the backend service. If your visual applications need to access REST services from an Oracle Cloud Applications catalog, you add the Oracle Cloud Applications instance to the runtime environment.

If your visual applications needs to access Integrations and Process, you create these connections in the visual application's Settings page.

See the content for the type of backend service connection that you want to create:

The grunt-vb-build NPM package includes tasks to build visual applications that you develop in VB Studio and deploy to a Visual Builder runtime instance:

  • The vb-process-local task processes the sources of the visual application that you cloned from VB Studio’s Git repository to your local Git repository for usage in the Visual Builder runtime instance. The vb-process-local task replaces variables and placeholders in index.html, downloads libraries from the Component Exchange, and so on. The archive that the vb-process-local task produces does not include absolute links to the Visual Builder runtime instance.
  • The vb-credentials task transfers the credentials (service connection information and mobile build configurations) from secure storage in VB Studio to the target Visual Builder runtime instance.
  • The vb-deploy task deploys the environment-independent artifact that the vb-process-local task produced to the target Visual Builder runtime instance and inserts environment-specific information, such as URLs and Oracle Identity Cloud Service information. The vb-deploy task also produces native mobile packages, if your visual application includes mobile applications.

If you want to use the Grunt tasks described here to build and deploy a visual application to a Visual Builder runtime instance, see Build and Deploy Your Application.

Although you’ll now do almost all the administration tasks for your visual applications in VB Studio, someone with administrator privileges for the Visual Builder runtime needs to sign in to the Visual Builder runtime to do certain tasks. Examples include the configuration changes to connect your Visual Builder runtime to an Oracle DB instance with more space, or to configure a custom domain if users access an application deployed on the Visual Builder runtime from a custom app URL.

If you’re a Visual Builder runtime administrator, sign in to the Visual Builder runtime to complete the following tasks, that are described in Administering Oracle Visual Builder.

If you need to extend Oracle Cloud Applications

If Oracle built your Oracle Cloud Application using Oracle JET, you can extend that app to customize it for your business needs.

To find out if you have such an app, see if you have an Edit Pages in Visual Builder option in your Oracle Cloud Application’s edit menu. If you do, click it to jump over to VB Studio and start creating your application extension. To help you along the way, have a look at How Can Visual Builder Studio Help Me Extend My Oracle Cloud Application?

Like everything built in VB Studio, the source code for your application extension is stored within a project’s Git repository, and you work on your own branch of that repo in the context of your own private workspace.

New features in VB Studio

The following is an overview of new features and enhancements added since the last releases of Developer Cloud Service and Visual Builder. These features and enhancements are now available in VB Studio.

As soon as new and changed features become available, VB Studio instances are upgraded in the data centers where Oracle Cloud services are hosted. You don’t need to request an upgrade to be able to use the new features—they come to you automatically.

Release 19.4.3 - June 2020

Feature Area Description
Reload Data from Application Sources Visual Builder For business objects that contain application setup data, the Data tab for business objects includes a new menu icon that updates your development database schema with the content of the current version of the entity-data.csv file. See Reload Data from Application Sources.
Backend service catalog for Oracle Integration Cloud Visual Builder If the Visual Builder instance that you use in your environment is provided by Oracle Integration, visual applications in VB Studio now inherit the catalog of Integration and Process backend services if you configure the connection to these backends using basic authentication. See Connect to Integration Applications Backend Service Using Basic Authentication and Connect to Process Applications Backed Service Using Basic Authentication.
Development data can now be included in a shared application. Visual Builder You can now include data that you create during development when you share an app. To do this, select Use development data (My workspace) in the Share Visual Application dialog. See Share a Visual Application.
Allow access to VB Studio virtual machines Developer Cloud Service If you want to restrict access to your internal network or Oracle Cloud Services network by blocking incoming traffic from the internet, but still allow VB Studio Build traffic, you can create a public subnet in your VCN with security rules that allow inbound access from and outbound access to VB Studio. See Create and Configure a Public Subnet in Your VCN.

Release 19.4.3 - May 2020

Feature Area Description
Finer grained permissions Developer Cloud Service The number of project memberships has expanded to give greater control in determining what users can do in a project. See What Are Project Memberships?
Visual merge support in the UI Developer Cloud Service You can now resolve code conflicts using the UI that is provided for this purpose. See Resolve a Merge Conflict.
Improved client-side monitoring Developer Cloud Service Improved error reporting now indicates why an attempt to create or update an environment fails.
Feedback mechanism Developer Cloud Service The Project Home now includes a mechanism to give feedback to the project owner. Click the Smiley icon beside your user avatar.
Define a Build VM to run in a Customer VCN on OCI Developer Cloud Service

You can configure a Build VM for a specific region or shape, and select a VCN, a software-defined network that is set up in the Oracle Cloud Infrastructure data centers in a particular region.

Improved process for transitive dependency resolution Developer Cloud Service

Prior to this release, in Maven-based projects, you could only resolve transitive dependencies by manually editing the POM file and changing the transitive dependencies. The analysis tool now flags dependencies that have transitive dependencies with vulnerabilities and provides the Resolve button that displays a dropdown where you select an alternative dependency that does not contain transitive dependencies with vulnerabilities.

For Maven applications, see Resolve Reported Maven Vulnerabilities.

Git Large File Storage (LFS) supported Developer Cloud Service VB Studio now provides support for large file storage in Git repositories. Project repositories can be configured to track specific file types and, when they exceed a specified size limit, they can seamlessly be stored in Object Storage (or on a file system, such as NFS) and be replaced with a small reference file in the repository. This capability greatly enhances performance, especially during checkouts.

REST API for Builds

Developer Cloud Service

There are new REST API endpoints for managing builds and pipelines, and validating YAML files. These were added to an updated version of the existing REST endpoints for creating, retrieving, and updating issues. See REST API for Oracle Visual Builder Studio.

OpenAPI 3 Visual Builder

VB Studio supports the use of REST services described by the OpenAPI 3 specification.

When you open an existing visual application in this release or import a ZIP containing a visual application, VB Studio upgrades the pre-existing service.json file (Swagger v2 format) to an openapi3.json file that uses the OpenAPI 3 format. If this operation fails because, for example, the service.json file is invalid, you will need to edit the service.json file so that it is valid and VB Studio can successfully upgrade to the OpenAPI 3 format in the openapi3.json file.

In addition, all *-flow.json files in web and mobile apps will have references to services/*/service.json in the services map upgraded to point to the new openapi3.json file.

VB Studio continues to support the use of REST services that are described by JSON files using the Swagger v2 specification.

For information about creating connections to REST services, see Work with Service Connections.

Application Profiles Visual Builder

Use application profiles to specify different application configurations for different environments and deployments. You can, for example, use an application to specify a service connection to different REST instances (development, test, and production) for each lifecycle phase of application development. See About Application Profiles.

Connection Type(s) for CORS Visual Builder Connection type is a new field where you control how your service connections communicate with external REST services depending on whether these services support CORS or not. VB Studio automatically migrates service connections in existing applications to the appropriate connection type. The Direct (Bypass Proxy) authentication mechanism no longer appears and, in this release, the equivalent configuration is an authentication type of None and a connection type of Dynamic, Service supports CORS. See Use an Appropriate Connection Type to Handle CORS for REST Services.
Oracle Cloud Infrastructure API Signature 1.0 Visual Builder

You can now use a signature to create an AppID flow using a single Oracle Cloud Infrastructure (OCI) user to natively connect to OCI endpoints. See Fixed Credentials Authentication Mechanisms.

Action Chain Tests Visual Builder VB Studio provides test automation capabilities for action chains, helping you to adopt test driven development. A new declarative interface helps you to define tests for the action chains in your web and mobile applications that you can run individually or simultaneously. See Test Action Chains.
New Array Data Provider Visual Builder The page model provides a new built-in type, vb/ArrayDataProvider2, which new applications should use. The legacy vb/ArrayDataProvider type is supported in existing applications. ArrayDataProvider2 does not allow writes to individual properties of ArrayDataProvider2.data, unlike the legacy ArrayDataProvider. Instead, ArrayDataProvider2 supports using either the fireDataProviderEventAction or the assignVariablesAction to mutate data, while the legacy ArrayDataProvider supports only the assignVariablesAction. See Array Data Provider 2.
Custom JET and Runtime Versions for Mobile Applications Visual Builder You can now specify custom JET and runtime versions for mobile applications where previously you could only do this for web and progressive web apps. See Specify Custom JET and Runtime Versions for Applications.
Favicons for Web Applications Visual Builder VB Studio provides two default favicons for use in web applications and Progressive Web Apps. One favicon is for use in light mode and the other is for use in dark mode. Overwrite the default favicons if you want to use your own favicons. See About Application Resources.
Mobile Build Configurations Visual Builder

The mobile build configurations that you define for Android and iOS must be assigned to an application profile. See Build Mobile Applications.

Business Processes Visual Builder Application profiles can be used to manage the connection to the Process Servers that your visual applications use. See Configure the Connection to a Process Server.
Open URL Action for Native Mobile Applications Visual Builder The existing Open URL action has been updated to support opening local file attachments on native mobile applications. See Open URL Action.
$application.deployment Visual Builder The $application.deployment built-in variable has been added to facilitate code sharing between web, mobile, and progressive web applications developed using VB Studio. See Built-in Variables.
Create File Menu Action Visual Builder

A Create File menu action is now available on folders in the source navigator tree to allow you to create custom files and subfolders almost anywhere in your app.

The following are the exceptions where VB Studio does not show the Create File menu action on a folder:
  • Some folders are special and do not allow for the creation of singular files:
    • Root folders for web and mobile apps
    • Any folder in the hierarchy with the name flows or components
  • Some folders already have a Create action that creates singular files, in which case adding a Create File action would be superfluous:
    • resources/js
    • resources/css
Create JS and CSS Files Visual Builder You can now more easily create JS and CSS files by using the Create JS File and Create CSS File dialogs that you invoke from the + icon that appears beside the entries for these artifacts in the Navigator.
New vbDataProviderNotification Event Listener Visual Builder

You can register an event listener for vbDataProviderNotification code events to display any errors from the Service Data Provider.

Improvements to the Events Editor Visual Builder

The following improvements were made to the Events editor:

  1. Event Payloads are shown with full details in the Mapper. If there is no payload for an event it is not shown.
  2. When creating a new listener for Events, new action chains are populated with input parameters matching the event's payload and are also mapped automatically.
  3. The default action chain created for vbBeforeEnter and vbBeforeExit listeners returns a payload with cancel set to false, plus a description describing how to cancel this action.
Secure Storage Visual Builder

Sensitive data such as passwords and certificates are no longer stored in areas of storage excluded from versioning and export (private storage). Instead, they are stored in the new secure storage of VB Studio, which is a repository of sensitive pieces of data keyed by a unique key that is stored in the source. This makes it possible to securely transfer sensitive data between VB Studio instances. Source files, such as mobile build configuration files, now contain references to the secure storage rather than private storage. VB Studio updates all existing applications to use secure storage.

Reset an Expired Password or ATP Wallet for Your Oracle DB Instance Visual Builder

Visual Builder administrators can now reset an expired password or an ATP wallet for the Oracle DB instances that you use to replace the database provisioned with your instance. See Reset an Expired Password or ATP Wallet for Your Oracle DB Instance in Administering Oracle Visual Builder.

Business Object REST Endpoints Visual Builder You can now add or remove the endpoints that the business objects in your visual application expose. Using a new business object resource editor, you can configure the business object to include only the endpoints that you require, thereby reducing the size of the metadata file that describes your business object REST endpoints. See Define the Endpoints of Business Objects.

Note:

For existing applications, especially those that contain many business objects, we recommend that you modify the exposed endpoints of each business object to include only those that you require. You can apply the default setting to expose only the first level of endpoints for each object, but if deeper nested endpoints were included in the object's resource definition, you must modify the default selection to include those endpoints.
Business Object Data Manager Visual Builder The Data tab now includes menu buttons that allow you to duplicate data rows and to filter the fields that display in the data table. See Edit the Data in Business Objects.
Business Object Diagram Visual Builder Business object diagrams now show object accessor field names by default in a separate field of the business object node. You can disable the default behaviour using the Fields and Show Object Accessors menu entries that you access from the menu for the business object diagram. Also, you can now save business object diagrams to your computer as SVG or PNG graphic files. See Work with the Business Object Diagrammer.
Add-in for Excel Visual Builder

VB Studio includes version 2.1 of the Excel add-in. Notable changes in this version include:

  • Ability to create tables and other layouts using OpenAPI 3 service descriptions
  • Ability to modify details of service description, such as alter a field title
  • Ability to configure lists of values for any REST service
  • Support for object-typed fields and subfields
  • A prompt for path parameter values
  • Ability to apply custom actions to existing rows
  • Ability to edit the form fields for an existing parent row in a Form-over-Table layout
Internet Explorer 11 Visual Builder

Visual Builder runtime has deprecated the use of Internet Explorer 11. Users will now receive a deprecation warning if accessing a Visual Builder application from Internet Explorer. In a subsequent release of Visual Builder in the second half of 2020, Visual Builder runtime will discontinue support of Internet Explorer 11.

For more details about the browsers that Visual Builder runtime supports, see Supported Browsers.

Upgrade the Oracle Sample R13 SaaS LightBlue Theme Visual Builder If your application uses the Oracle SaaS R13 Light Theme, you need to upgrade the theme in your application before you run the application using this release. For more details and instructions on how to perform the upgrade of the theme, read this blog post.
Lists of Values Endpoints for Oracle Cloud Applications Visual Builder

This is not a new feature, but be aware that Oracle Cloud Applications (OCA) has changed the way that it manages lists of values endpoints. The service connections that you created in visual applications prior to this release might use an older version of the definition for lists of values endpoints from OCA. This does not create problems for existing applications, but we advise you to use the Replace definitions for all selected endpoints button on the service connections in your visual applications that use these types of endpoints to refresh all definitions. Clicking the Replace definitions for all selected endpoints button marks an older version of an endpoint as obsolete, but does not remove it from your apps as a web or mobile app might reference this endpoint in some screens. In Visual Builder’s Endpoints tab, a strike through appears for an endpoint that has been marked as obsolete.

For best performance and to use the latest way of surfacing the endpoints for lists of values, we recommend that you manually replace the obsolete endpoints in your web and mobile apps to use the newer definition for lists of values endpoints from OCA.

The following image shows the Replace definitions for all selected endpoints button. For information about service connections in visual applications, see About Service Connections.

Replace definitions for all selected endpoints button

Supported Oracle Visual Builder version

The Visual Builder instance that you add to a VB Studio environment must be version 19.4.3.1, or later.

Supported Oracle JET version

Feature Description
Upgrade to Oracle JET 8.1

The Visual Builder runtime uses Oracle JET 8.1 libraries and components.

Supported Browsers

Oracle Visual Builder Studio supports most modern HTML5–compliant browsers.

VB Studio complies with the Oracle Software Web Browser Support Policy and supports the latest version of the browser available, and in the case of IE and Safari, one previous major release. Support is provided by Oracle on all platforms that the browser vendor provides support for.  For mobile device operating systems, Oracle provides support for the most recent browser delivered by the device operating system only.

The following table describes the platforms supported by the Visual Builder runtime.

Operating System Chrome Firefox Microsoft Browser Safari

Android

Supported*

Not Supported

N/A

N/A

iOS

Not Supported

Not Supported

N/A

Supported

Mac OS X

Supported

Supported

N/A

Supported

Windows

Supported

Supported

Supported

Not Supported

* Chrome for Android only, not native Android browser

JavaScript must be enabled for all browsers.

Note:

The Visual Builder Studio Designer is supported by the Chrome browser running on Mac OS X and Windows. Other browsers and platforms are not supported.

Note:

Visual Builder runtime has deprecated the use of Internet Explorer 11. Users will now receive a deprecation warning if accessing a Visual Builder application from Internet Explorer. Support for Internet Explorer 11 will be discontinued in a future release of Visual Builder in the second half of 2020.

Oracle Visual Builder Add-in for Excel version

The Oracle Visual Builder Add-in for Excel version bundled in the current release is 2.1. You can always download and install the latest version of the add-in from the Downloads page. For a list of known issues in version 2.1, see Known Issues and Limitations.

Documentation Accessibility

For information about Oracle's commitment to accessibility, visit the Oracle Accessibility Program website at http://www.oracle.com/pls/topic/lookup?ctx=acc&id=docacc.

Access to Oracle Support

Oracle customers that have purchased support have access to electronic support through My Oracle Support. For information, visit http://www.oracle.com/pls/topic/lookup?ctx=acc&id=info or visit http://www.oracle.com/pls/topic/lookup?ctx=acc&id=trs if you are hearing impaired.


Oracle Cloud What's New in Oracle Visual Builder Studio

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