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8 Great Feature Monuments in the ServiceNow Washington D.C. release for Admins and Developers

touring

If you’ve had the opportunity to walk the National Mall in the national capital of the USA, you would have found yourself surrounded on all sides by spectacular museums of art, history, and science. At the center and western end of the Mall lay the Washington and Lincoln Monuments, testaments to the most influential of American leaders. Reflecting on ServiceNow’s newest Washington D.C. release feels a bit like traveling this great city, where exciting new discoveries exist down every street. Although there are certainly some phenomenal innovations such as Sales and Order Management and Generative AI (NowAssist) for IT Operations Management, this time let’s take a look at the enhanced capabilities that bring the most value for ServiceNow system administrators and application developers. Join us now for a brief tour of 8 great feature moments in the ServiceNow Washington D.C. release:

1. ServiceNow Background Scripts – Syntax Editor

Certainly among the most requested features by ServiceNow admins, syntax highlighting has now been added to the Background Scripts page! While the Background Scripts module has existed on the platform for quite a while, providing admins with the ability to run server-side code on-demand, it has always appeared as a simple text inbox box – very limited compared to Fix Scripts, Business Rules, or really any other script field in the system. Now Background Scripts has the same look and feel as script editors elsewhere in the system, providing you with syntax highlighting, row numbers, find and replace, spellcheck, and more! Take a look at the blog from ServiceNow’s Champion Superstar, Chuck Tomasi, on this incredible new feature: https://www.servicenow.com/community/developer-advocate-blog/scripts-background-the-upgrade-we-ve-been-waiting-for/ba-p/2795590.

syntax editor

2. Platform Analytics

Although technically this one has been around since Utah as a separate Workspace, with the Washington D.C. release Platform Analytics Experience now takes the spotlight as ServiceNow’s primary analytics solution. Users in the past have struggled a bit with accessing the different analytical capabilities of ServiceNow; the View Reports module, Performance Analytics Center, and Dashboard home were previously all different spaces that provide insight into the ServiceNow data behind all processes supported by the system. Now all these spaces have been consolidated into the Platform Analytics Experience page with a refined menu for accessing visualizations and dashboards. Admins will want to take note that this does require a migration of older content to the new view, and it’s likely that we’ll slowly start to see less support for the old Reports/Dashboards view (just like we did with the old Report Editor and Homepages back in the day). Be sure to check this feature out now to get ahead any major reporting changes to the platform, and to support your organization’s analytics needs: https://docs.servicenow.com/bundle/washingtondc-now-intelligence/page/use/par-for-workspace/concept/par-workspace.html

3. Clone Admin Console Dashboard

ServiceNow Clone management can certainly be a headache if you’re in charge of multiple instances, especially if you clone frequently every month or at the end of a sprint. With the Washington D.C. release, ServiceNow has upgraded the Clone Admin Console: a comprehensive dashboard that provides an overview of all scheduled clones, as well as a new interface for requesting a clone. On the new clone request form, you’ll find an easy-to-use set of tabs for preservers, exclusions, and cleanup scripts that will apply to your clone request. Review all the new capabilities of the Clone Admin Console here: https://docs.servicenow.com/bundle/washingtondc-platform-administration/page/administer/managing-data/concept/Clone-UI.html

admin console dashboard

4. Performance Testing in the Automated Testing Framework

A powerhouse of automation on the ServiceNow platform, the Automated Test Framework has certainly provided significant value over the years by helping system admins catch bugs and issues before new features are released into their production environments. However, one highly sought after feature has always been missing in the ATF: the ability to run performance tests to further guarantee the stability of the system. Finally in the Washington D.C. release, ServiceNow has launched Performance Profiling in the ATF allowing admins to compare the results of performance runs from various points in time. With Performance Profiling, admins can catch those hard-to-spot issues that result from changes which don’t affect the pass/fail results of an ATF test but do impact the run time. Take a look at ServiceNow Developer Advocate, Earl Duque’s blog here: https://www.servicenow.com/community/developer-advocate-blog/performance-profiling-has-arrived-to-automated-test-framework-in/ba-p/2874692 or the Product documentation here: https://docs.servicenow.com/bundle/washingtondc-application-development/page/administer/auto-test-framework/concept/atf-perf-prof.html for more information.

performance testing

5. GraphQL Explorer

While ServiceNow has supported GraphQL queries since the Paris release, you could only you’re your GraphQL schema using a third-party tool, like GraphiQL or Insomnia. To address this problem, ServiceNow has released the GraphQL Explorer in the Washington D.C. release, to help web service developers identify issues and validate code quicker and more efficiently. Although the GraphQL Explorer page might look unfamiliar to ServiceNow admins, it incorporates the GraphiQL IDE into the platform and leverages a well-known existing framework for GraphQL developers. Learn more about the GraphQL explorer here: https://docs.servicenow.com/bundle/washingtondc-api-reference/page/integrate/graphql/task/test-gql-schema.html or check it out for yourself in the platform under the “System Web Services” application menu.

GraphQL Explorer

6. Time Limited User Roles

Those familiar with the “Just-in-Time” or JIT security practice know that temporary and limited access can be a strong method to ensure that users are provided with additional rights only for the period of time when they need to complete a task, reducing the likelihood of user error or security breach. In Washington D.C., ServiceNow has introduced the ability for admins to grant users a “time-limited user role” for any role in the system. Although not enabled by default, catalog developers can incorporate time-limited user roles into catalog workflows or custom applications to further enhance ServiceNow’s security framework. ServiceNow does provide a warning in their official documentation that using this feature may result in additional licensing and subscription fees depending on the role granted, so be sure to review all material thoroughly before implementation: https://docs.servicenow.com/bundle/washingtondc-platform-administration/page/administer/roles/concept/time-limited-roles.html

time limited user roles

7. Workflow Studio

One of the biggest overhauls in the Washington D.C. release is the Workflow Studio, bringing together the separate UIs of Flow Designer, Action Designer, Process Automation Designer, Decision Builder, and Integration Hub and providing a new way to manage Workflows, Playbooks, and Integrations. The Workflow Studio doesn’t seem to be too different than the existing Flow Designer in terms of look and feel, but there is a suite of new navigation and analytics features to explore, improving the fluidity of automation design for different applications in the system. This is a change that will likely impact all system administrators and developers, so update your company’s sub-production instance or grab a Personal Developer Instance today and review the Workflow Studio for yourself: https://docs.servicenow.com/bundle/washingtondc-build-workflows/page/administer/workflow-studio/reference/workflow-studio.html

*** And if you look closer (as a bonus feature), you’ll also see that ServiceNow added a new Action called “Fire Event” in the Workflow Studio, allowing workflow developers to initiate events in the registry outside the workflow. Fantastic!

workflow studio

8. ServiceNow SDK

For those advanced developers out there who are more comfortable coding off the platform in Visual Studio, ServiceNow has introduce the “ServiceNow SDK” in the Washington D.C. release. This SDK provides a command-line interface (or CLI) for updating custom applications in the system. With the new CLI, you can create, modify, and launch applications in a different (and perhaps more familiar) view. The SDK also gives developers the ability to leverage third-party JavaScript libraries and leverage TypeScript for advanced error handling. Installation of this feature for individual developers is fairly straightforward, since ServiceNow offers the SDK as an npm package from the public npm registry. If you are interested in learning more, follow the documentation guidelines here: https://docs.servicenow.com/bundle/washingtondc-api-reference/page/script/sdk/concept/servicenow-sdk.html

servicenow sdk

Before you go!

Wait! Just in case you missed them in the Vancouver release, here are 3 of our favorite admin/developer features that were previously released but enhanced in Washington D.C.:

  1. Configuration Hub – A one-stop shop in the Admin Center for accessing guided administration consoles like the Security Center or the new Clone Admin Console, as well as a way to easily search for configuration files for any application on the platform.
  2. Access Analyzer – A powerful diagnostic tool providing admins with a comprehensive analysis of permissions and security for a given user, role, or group. In the Washington D.C. release, ServiceNow has added the option to compare one user with another, further supporting troubleshooting efforts.
  3. Now Assist for Creator – With all the talk of Generative AI lately, you’ve likely heard about ServiceNow’s efforts to give flow creators the ability to automatically create advanced workflows and recommendations from a simple text prompt. Flow generation performance has been enhanced in the latest version, contributing to a smoother experience for all users.

And that brings us to the end of our tour of the greatest monuments in ServiceNow’s Washington D.C. release! We hope you found something incredible to take back with you as you prepare for the upcoming new version of the platform. If you’d like to learn more about the Washington D.C. release, be sure to check out the official release documentation, or contact us at itsolutions@milestone.tech for all of your ServiceNow platform upgrade needs!

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