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Feature in Focus: Unqork’s Development Lifecycle Capabilities

Unqork's Development Lifecycle Capabilities

Achieve substantial productivity and cost saving gains through no-code.

The disruptions of the past year have highlighted the value of digital transformation. Not only did digitally mature companies fare far better during the pandemic than their more “analog” competition, but a sharp distinction was drawn between organizations with the ability to mount a rapid, robust digital response and those without. Fast forward to what appears to be “the other side” of the pandemic, and the drive to “go digital” has only accelerated. 

Technology and engineering teams are under enormous pressure to deliver better, more secure applications faster and at lower costs than ever before. According to Gartner, 80% of tech team activities are manually driven; however, as much as 50% of these tasks could be automated, which would help teams amplify productivity by freeing them from high volume (but not necessarily high-value) development tasks. Modern technologies can help enterprise teams to take on bloated backlogs while balancing speed-to-market with proper governance and security protocols.

Unqork’s Development Lifecycle Capabilities enables tech teams to achieve enormous productivity gains by providing robust tooling across every phase of their software development lifecycle (SDLC), from initial planning to ongoing maintenance.

In this article, we’ll walk through each phase of the SDLC and explain how these new features enable you to seamlessly integrate Unqork with your existing SDLC processes. We’ll also take a look at a few of the key features that accelerate development activities, such as auto-generating application documentation, displaying a history of application changes, testing and debugging configurations, monitoring performance metrics, and much more.


Plan & Design

In the traditional SDLC, the Plan and Design phases involve aligning on a project’s high-level specifications and beginning the process of gathering requirements. 

While many of our clients use tools such as Confluence, LucidCharts, and Visio to capture requirements and diagram their software, we’ve created several tools that make it easier for developers (referred to as Creators at Unqork) to plan their applications. 

Auto-generated documentation

First, we’ve created a tool called the API Docs Dashboard, which provides a view of all API modules in a workspace. 

Modules are the building blocks of an Unqork application. An "API module" in particular is a bundle of Unqork functionality that interacts with an API. When you create one of these modules in Unqork, the API Docs Dashboard generates documentation (e.g., the type of call you're making, the parameters the module is expecting to receive, what data you can expect to get back, etc.) which you and your colleagues can use to plan and design your Unqork applications. 

The second tool we’ve created to support these phases is called the Schema Docs Dashboard. A “Schema module” is a snippet of Unqork functionality that Creators use to plan their data structures. Like the API Docs Dashboard, the Schema Docs Dashboard automatically generates documentation for all the Schema modules in a workspace. 

Schema Docs Dashboard Schema Module

Last but not least, we’re releasing an Application Dependencies Dashboard, which exposes module dependencies to help Creators identify dependencies and any potential downstream changes as they plan and design their application.

Build 

The Build portion of the SDLC is when the team begins building an application and turning their idea into a product. Below are a select few tools we’ve developed to streamline this phase, with guardrails around Unqork configuration best practices. 

API Docs Dashboard Module Configuration

Revisioning

In a traditional SDLC, revisioning, also known as “control,” refers to managing changes made to your application over time. We view revisioning as a part of the Build phase because by comparing, restoring, and, in some cases, merging revisions, Creators can build better, more complex software. 

To display a fully auditable history of application changes (i.e., revisions), we’ve created the Module Revisions Dashboard

Using this dashboard, Creators can see the "change log" of a module and more robustly compare revisions, increasing their productivity and allowing them to promote or release software faster with fewer bugs.

Debugging 

Debugging is the process of removing errors from your software while you build it. To accelerate development and reduce the manual work associated with debugging activities, we’ve released several features to make the process of finding and squashing bugs more efficient. One such tool is the Service Logs Dashboard

As a reminder, a “service log” is a centralized repository of interactions with a service, in this case, an API. The Service Logs Dashboard is a debugging tool that simplifies the visibility and searchability of API logs. It takes information and data that would traditionally be viewed within a separate tool, such as the network requests tab of a browser, and centralizes it within a more user-friendly dashboard in Unqork.

By reviewing, saving, and even sharing their service logs in the Service Logs Dashboard, Creators can build and debug their API integrations faster than they could when using a traditional code-based development approach.


Test

In the Test phase of the SDLC, you look for and remove errors in your application to ensure your software meets your quality standards.

In Unqork, a workflow is a series of steps that link modules together. When testing workflows, Creators often use the Signal Start Node. The Signal Start node is a popular tool to perform a test run of a workflow. Creators use these test workflows to experiment and review their applications’ behaviors and automate testing activities such as initiating a QA ticket or interacting with an external testing framework.

Creators can use the Signal Start Node to integrate with external CI/CD testing frameworks.

Another feature that supports software testing is Unqork’s Test Harnesses. In Unqork, test harnesses are most commonly used to test a specific component: The decision component. Decisions components are logic-type components used in if/then scenarios. To test a decision component, Creators enter dummy input and output data into their test harnesses which ensures the design logic is properly configured by comparing the results of the decision to the outputs provided by the Creator. 

These Development Life Cycle tools also enable you to create tests using an external framework of your choice, such as Selenium or any other CI/CD tools. If you have a testing framework you want to leverage within Unqork, you can do so with and orchestrate your testing via API. 

Want to learn more? Click here to read more about how Unqork has developed a robust test framework that moves at the speed of no-code.


Deploy

Once an application passes through QA, it’s ready to meet the world—first through deployment into a testing environment and then, when it’s ready, into production. Unqork can help you efficiently organize and manage these crucial processes.

Release management

Release Management is the series of processes that handles application deployments. Unqork’s Release Management Dashboard supports the deployment of applications by enabling Creators to create a release with one or more applications. This functionality is critical because Creators often promote multiple apps together, increasing productivity and reducing the risk of error. 

This dashboard also helps Creators make informed decisions about which applications to promote, allowing Creators to search and sort for the specific applications. 

The platform also supports RBAC for Release Management, so administrators can set custom permissions to allow designated Creators to execute application promotions.

Lastly, the Release Management tool enables rollbacks as well, so Creators can efficiently revert their applications to previous stable versions when necessary.

Quality assurance

Quality assurance is the series of processes tech teams use to prevent mistakes and defects in their software. We’ve created the Config Analysis Tool to automatically check for configuration that doesn't abide by Unqork’s best practices.

This tool helps ensure that only the highest-quality applications are deployed to production. For many of our clients, performing a Config Analysis is a requirement before deployment.


Maintain & Operate

After a product is released, either Production Support, DevOps, or Creators make occasional improvements as needed. The Maintain & Operate phase ensures applications remain relevant and of high quality.

Change management

Submissions” are a simple concept in Unqork. An end-user creates a submission any time they save or submit their data in an Unqork application. 

The Submission Revisions Dashboard provides a complete audit trail for submission changes and allows Creators to input a submission ID and see when a submission has been updated or the differences between two specific submissions.

Submissions Revisions Dashboard

Performance

There are two key features that provide Production Support and DevOps with additional functionality for the performance monitoring of an Unqork environment:

  1. The Logs Dashboard helps Production Support personnel ensure environments are running correctly by surfacing any abnormalities that may merit their attention

  2. The Metrics Dashboard displays the most critical performance metrics of an environment, including CPU, Memory, Network Traffic, and more


Conclusion

By opting for a configuration-based, no-code development approach, Unqork can help your team build better, more secure software 3x faster and 3x more economically than traditional approaches.

These new Development Lifecycle Capabilities help you balance your speed to market with proper governance and security protocols, ultimately accelerating your company’s digital transformation.

Taken together, as you can read about here, applications built using Unqork are decidedly less buggy and more reliable than those built using a traditional code-based approach.

Want to learn more about how no-code can be used at your organization? Schedule a personalized demonstration with one of our in-house experts. Also, sign-up for the Unqork newsletter to keep up-to-date on the latest in the world of no-code.