Creating Custom Applications

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Note
Note: This article applies to Fuji. For more current information, see Application Creation Options at http://docs.servicenow.com

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1 Overview

The ServiceNow platform allows you to develop custom applications to meet your business needs. You must have the admin role to develop custom applications.

The application development process has changed significantly from prior releases. See Creating Custom Applications - Versions Prior to Fuji for previous version information.

2 Example Video

This video demonstrates how to create a visitor registration application. To see the example application, visit the ServiceNow Demo site.

3 When to Use the Application Repository and When to Use Another Deployment Option

Deployment option Good for Future considerations
Application Repository
  • Installing and updating applications on all of your instances
  • Automatically managing application update sets
  • Restricting access to applications to the same company
  • Deploying completed applications to end users
  • Consider uploading an application to the ServiceNow Store to share it with other users.
  • Allows installation of and update to the latest application version only. Use update sets to store prior application versions.
Note
Note: If used in conjunction with team development, make applications available only from a parent instance.
Update Sets
  • Storing changes to a baseline or installed application.
  • Storing and applying a particular version of an application.
  • Producing a file for export.
  • You can manually create update sets to store a particular application version.
  • Use update sets to deploy patches or changes to installed applications.
Note
Note: Avoid using update sets to install applications. Instead, use the application repository or the ServiceNow Store to install applications.
Team Development
  • Providing change management across multiple instances
  • Allowing multiple developers to work on applications
  • Organizations that have access to several sub-production instances
  • Works best when each development team has access to a dedicated development instance.
  • Requires developers to manually merge colliding changes.
  • Works only for instances owned by the same organization.
Note
Note: If used in conjunction with the application repository, make applications available from a parent instance.

4 Application Development Process

Follow this basic process to create custom applications.

  1. Define the business requirements. Determine the problem you want to solve and how the application meets that need. Answer the questions:
    • What does the application need to do?
    • Who will use it?
    • How will you know if it works?
  2. Define the data model. Identify general categories of information you need to track.
    • What data is being captured?
    • What tables are required, and how will they reference each other?
    • What changes do you anticipate later, and does your data model scale to meet these changes?
  3. Build the application.
    1. Select an application creation method to create a custom application record and set the application scope.
    2. Create application data tables to store application-specific data.
    3. Design the user interface, such as the list and form layout.
    4. Set application access settings to permit or restrict other applications from accessing application data.
    5. Add business logic and automation such as business rules, UI policies, notifications, and workflows, to meet your business requirements.
  4. Test the application. Locate the application in the navigator and make sure it works as you expect. Engage users early in the testing process. Document their feedback and make sure they are satisfied before moving to the next step.
  5. Share the application. When it passes testing, you can share the application with other instances by one of these methods.
    • Publish the application to the ServiceNow application repository to share it with other other instances assigned to the same company.
    • Publish the application to the ServiceNow Store to share it with everyone.
    • Publish the application as an update set to comply with a change management or backup policy.
    • Push the application to other instances in the team development environment.

5 Application Creation Options

Sample application creation options

To start creating an application, navigate to System Applications > Applications and click New. Select one of the available options.

The application creation method determines the application scope (starting with the Fuji release).

After you create an application, it appears on the applications list (System Applications > Applications) and is set as the current application in the application picker.

5.1 Start from Scratch

You can create an empty application using the Start from scratch option. This option is good for applications that only use one configuration record, such as a workflow or script-based application.

  1. From Start from scratch, select Launch.
  2. Enter a Name for the application.
  3. Click Create.
  4. In the Confirm Application dialog box, click Ok.

5.2 Create a Custom Application

You can create an application with UI and data elements using the Create custom application option. This option is good for applications that require UI elements and tables.

  1. From Create custom application, select Launch.
  2. Enter a Name for the application.
  3. [Optional] Modify any of these fields if the default values do not meet your needs.
    • Menu: the application menu users can use to access the application.
    • User Role: the role a user must have to access the application.
  4. [Optional] Select Create Table and provide table details.
    If you do not create a table using this option, you must manually define a table before you can use the application.
  5. Click Create.
  6. On the Confirm Application dialog box, click Ok.

5.3 Start from a Template

You can create service management applications from a template using the Start from a template option if service management is active. This option is good for applications that need to track the status of requests or task-driven records.

There are templates for basic, intermediate, and advanced service management applications. For more information about creating service management applications, see Service Management Application Designer.

  1. From Start from a Template, select Launch.
  2. Enter a Name for the application.
  3. [Optional] Click Configure from the section containing the process you want to use, and select the configuration options you want to use.
  4. Click Create from the section containing the process you want to use.
  5. In the Confirm Application dialog box, click Ok.

5.4 Start from an Existing Service

You can convert an existing service to an application if service creator is active. You may want to convert successful services into full applications to take advantage of features only available to applications such as contextual security, data or UI policies, UI actions, and auditing.

When converting a service that exists on a production instance, you should pull the service to a sub-production instance and convert the service to an application in that environment. After completing the conversion, you can push the new application to the production environment.

  1. From Start from a service, select Launch.
  2. In the Create from service field, select a published service.
  3. [Optional] Change the application details and catalog item details if the default values do not meet your needs.
  4. [Optional] Select Replace original service to deactivate the catalog item for the service and replace it with an equivalent catalog item for the application.
  5. Click Create.
  6. Click OK.

When replacing an existing service with an application, the application preserves the same end-user experience for submitting and fulfilling requests. Any service requests that were made prior to the conversion are converted to requests within the application.

5.4.1 Conversion Mapping

The conversion process uses the following service creator elements to create application records. You can view a log of changes from completed conversions by navigating to System Applications > Service Application Log.

This Service Creator Element Becomes This Application Element
Service category table Application table
Service name Table label
Service form layout Application table form layout
Service catalog policies Application table UI policies
Service catalog item Application catalog item
Service catalog variable Fields on the application table
Category form layout Table form layout
Service task workflow Application table workflow

5.5 Start from Global

You can create an application in the global scope using the Start from global option. You must add the property glide.app.creator.global to the system, and set the value to true. This gives the application a global scope and prevents it from benefitting from application scope protections. This option is intended for those who need to support legacy applications from previous versions.

  1. Select Start from global.
  2. Enter a Name for the application.
  3. [Optional] Modify any of these fields if the default values do not meet your needs.
    • Menu:' the application menu users can use to access the application.
    • User Role: the role a user must have to access the application.
  4. [Optional] Select Create Table and provide table details.
    If you do not create a table using this option, you must manually define a table before you can use the application.
  5. Click Create.
  6. On the Confirm Application dialog box, click Ok.

6 Build the Application

Most applications need both a data model and application logic. Depending on the creation option you selected, one or more of these components may already exist. You can use the custom application record to see and navigate to these elements.

Note
Note: The application you select from the application picker determines both where and whether your changes are saved.


6.1 Create Application Data Tables

Create one or more custom tables to store application-specific data. The relationships between these tables form the application data model.

  1. Navigate to System Applications > Applications.
  2. Open the application record.
  3. Scroll to the Tables related list.
  4. Click New or use the list controls to create a new application data table.
  5. Define the table and columns by completing the form. See Creating a Custom Table for field descriptions.

6.2 Design User Interface

The system automatically creates a list and form view for each application data table. You can use the standard system processes to lay out these lists and forms to add views, fields, and sections as needed.

  1. Navigate to System Applications > Applications.
  2. Open the application record.
  3. Scroll to the Tables related list.
  4. Select the table for which you want to configure the UI.
  5. Select one of the following related links to configure the UI:
    • Design Form
    • Layout Form
    • Layout List
    • Show Form
    • Show List

You may also want to create custom menus, modules, or UI pages to allow users to find, add, and modify the information they need. For more information, see Administering Application Menus and Modules or UI Pages.

6.3 Set Application Access

Define what data other applications can access from this application. You can set the following types of access settings from a table record:

  • Run-time settings: determine whether the system allows or denies access to the application data tables at run-time.
  • Design-time settings: determine whether other application developers can create application files for your application table.

For more information, see Application Access Settings.

6.4 Add Application Logic

Add application-specific business logic by creating application files in existing platform tables. For example, add business rules, script includes, workflows, and UI actions. Only the application tables that allow configuration can have application files.

  1. Determine which application tables need application files to fulfill application logic requirements.
  2. Select the Allow configuration option on the table record for each of these tables.
  3. Create the application file you want for the table. For example, create a business rule that runs on an application table.
  4. Test your application logic.
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