Hello Maciej, and thank you for the opportunity to provide some feedback on UiPath Apps!
1. What integration to an automation platform are you looking forward to see in UiPath Apps and why?
Action Center Integration
Apps allows for the construction of beautiful interfaces, but it could benefit from Action Center. Showing a user a list of tasks assigned to them, or their group, would be very useful within an App portal homepage. Would like to see improvements around connecting to workflow and long-running BPM scenarios. Having to jump between Apps for the front end portal, and UiPath Action Center + UiPath Forms for task-based forms can feel disjointed. In the long term, would love ability to embed Apps inside Action Center tasks (supplied by parameters) to create a consistent design and end-user experience.
2. What controls are missing in UiPath Apps and how would you use this new control?
Picker Control - A control configured by the designer against a set of data (could be a static list, or dynamically from a backend source (ex. AAD accounts). The pickers data source is assigned during design, it could look up Entities from Data Service or other common pools. The beauty of this control is that when the user supplys a value (ex. a user ID) it scans the backend source (in this example, AAD) and validates the users name, email, FQN, etc. which can be used later for processing. Very useful for situations where inputs have to match the source format - provides pre-validation before submit.
Auto Complete - Allows the user to type into the field a see a list of results. An important difference between this control and a picker control is that the value is not validated against the source (they can change a value thats returned by the control or add a new value). Very useful for providing shortcuts to make form filling an easier process.
Text Box + Password Option - Maybe this could be a setting on a Text Box control, but it would essentially allow for masking the input during runtime. Very useful for login scenarios or any situation where we are working with secure strings or passwords.
3. What feature, if added, would provide the most value to your use case and why?
Azure SQL - Direct integration to SQL without using a robotic process call. Ideally achieved through an Integration Service connected to the App for simplicity.
Unfortunately, the end-user experience in Apps suffers because robotic processes can take a lot of time to kickoff and run (between 3-5 seconds per execution). While they are very powerful, we do not want to run a process simply to manipulate data in our database - we would prefer to execute processes for powerful actions (Submits) vs. resorting to them for loading data into relevant form controls.
It would be very useful if we could - without calling a process - manipulate the data supplying our Apps. While Data Service is a fantastic option for Apps that want to store data in the cloud, enterprise grade applications need to quickly call into existing databases (including the ability to interact with stored procedures). We can certainly manage this with process calls today, but it is not performant (especially for sequential executions) and the end-user experience suffers as a result, which hurts adoption as well as overall impression of the product.
At a minimum, we would need the following methods available to build applications:
List - Return all records in the table.
Create - Create new record in the table (and retrieve ID).
Read - Read a record from the table by ID.
Update - Update a record from the table by ID.
Delete - Delete a record from the table by ID.
Bonus points for…
Execute Stored Procedure - Ability to supply parameters for and execute a stored procedure, and then return data from the stored procedure result.
4. What is the most time consuming aspect of app building experience?
Often, I struggle when the apps get large (lots of pages, lots of controls). As they approach or get over 5-7MB in size, they can become slower to open in the Studio and begin to get laggy. This could pose a problem on larger projects as most apps will continue to grow and evolve post delivery.
5. List the capabilities we can improve in UiPath Apps platform
- QOL - Improve ability to see the entire App on the design canvas - it can be difficult to scroll and see different sections of the form as it gets larger and takes up more of the page, especially on smaller screens. A horizontal scrollbar on the bottom and a vertical scrollbar on the right may help with this.
- QOL - Required fields - It would be nice to be able to not have to write out a large expression to evaluate required fields on a form before a button is enabled.
- Functional - Ability to inject or modify the backend CSS - Allows for customization of elements in scenarios where the client wants to apply their brand. Bonus points for making UiPath default CSS available to modify.
- Functional - Ability to quickly add items to queues so that a process can run on them on a schedule or later job. This could be an option to improve performance on jobs that do not need to run in real time.
- QOL - Ability to work with larger expressions in a dedicated pop-out window, trying to see a large complex expression is a bit difficult.
- Functional - Ability to modify tab order (or which control gets selected next when Tab is pressed)
- QOL - Ability to unit test the page I am on without setting at as the start page (preview this page vs preview the entire app)
- Version control (revert to previous published version - with ability to add comments to versions)
- QOL - Ability to export individual data service Entities vs all Entities schemas (this is a Data Service ask, but it affects Apps).
- QOL - Ability to more easily set a Field visibility on Event (Ex. When this button is clicked > show or hide control > select control and set visibility.) Possible to do with NOTs and expressions today but can get convoluted.
- Functional - Ability to set styles on Event (Ex. Change control color or border)
- Functional - Consider style themes selected globally for an app (ex. Light Mode, Dark Mode, Mobile, etc.) or the ability to create a style theme for an entire app and have controls inherit from the style profile.
Sidenote: I’m truly amazed at what UiPath Apps can do today, and am unfairly comparing it against products that have been around for 15+ years. I love building Apps and if any of these ideas would be considered as we look to find a home for Apps at some of our larger clients, this would be wonderful and help build our confidence in aggressively positioning it.