ServiceNow Orlando Release: Five special features

Last month, ServiceNow’s Orlando release was made available to all customers. We have been hearing about the major features, such as Artificial Intelligence and Machine Learning (branded as “Now Intelligence”), but those big-ticket items won’t affect most of us in our day-to-day development jobs. Here are a few highlights which will impact our work life in a positive way in 2020.

Jarod’s First Five Features

  • Script debugger logpoints
  • Enhanced instance clone features
  • New data import options
  • Test inbound/outbound emails (ATF)
  • Maturation in key growth areas

For the complete list, refer to the ServiceNow Orlando product docs for release additions, subtractions, and changes.

Script Debugger Logpoints

If you are still using a large number of temporary (or gs.log) statements in your code, be sure to take a look at logpoints, which are built-in to the Script Debugger. The platform Script Debugger utility was initially added in Istanbul, but in truth, I didn’t really take it seriously until around the London (or maybe Madrid) release. The Script Debugger helps quickly isolate coding issues during your development process and works with any code that runs in an interactive session (before/after business rules, UI actions, etc).

Developer (and Community) MVP Robert Fedoruk has a quick and dirty video, (less than two minutes), which explains how to¬†get up and running with this new feature: #ServiceNow One Minute M’Orlando – Logpoints

Reference: Product Docs

Instance Clone Features

Choosing the order in which post-clone scripts run has been a feature I have been waiting for… The wait is over. The ServiceNow Orlando release delivered! With this release, it is now possible to run the smallest, simplest scripts first, and the bigger data change scripts last. As an example, I generally recommend modifying task numbers in sub-prods after clones (e.g. INC2004 becomes INCDEV2004), but this action is quite time-consuming. Now, this action can be queued at the end of the script list. Alternatively, you can easily have your instance send a message to a Slack (or MS Teams) channel when the clone is completed. Put this code in a script with order 100,000 so it runs last.

Other cloning improvements to note:

  • Ability to preserve (global) update sets and clone profiles to speed up cloning in your various instances.

Reference: Product Docs

Data import options

After years of pushing the boundaries of the transform map model to optimize data import/export within the ServiceNow platform, I am eager to explore the new set of integration tools in this release. New data source options are available, such as pulling in JSON or XML directly via REST. Import set column names can be defined dynamically from your parsed JSON object.

The most intriguing data utility is the Robust Import Set Transformers. Although I have yet to use this first hand, it looks to be a powerful, data-driven replacement for transform maps which is able to handle multiple target tables and processing rules.

Other data import (ETL) improvements to note: CSV line parser, new scriptable APIs to create import set tables and transform maps, existing APIs modified to support scoped execution

Reference: Product Docs

ATF Email – Inbound and Outbound

ServiceNow’s Automated Test Framework (ATF) continues to see enhancements with every release. As much as we would like to cut email loose and work only on the platform, the business landscape isn’t there yet. We have been creating various inbound and outbound email configuration for years, and now we can create the ATF test suites to go along with them.

The ATF release notes also have a total of 17 items in the ‘new’ section and four in the ‘update’ section. This platform component continues to mature and grow, and regardless of our role in the SN ecosystem, ATF will likely have a feature to help. With every release, there’s at least one more reason to make ATF a mandatory part of every development story…

Reference: Product Docs

Maturation of useful existing features

If the following platform components were individual stocks, I would invest in them. I will be taking this summer to brush up on these platform gems. I expect great things from these in the Paris release, and beyond!

Now Experience

Agent Workspace is only the first capability powered by the Now Experience. And while I am primarily a back-end developer, this feature has me ready to brush up on my client-side skills. Do you have any pro-code full-stack developers on your team? They have been waiting for this!

Reference: Product Docs

Common Service Data Model

The SN Common Service Data Model (CSDM) version 2.0 was released in October 2019 (v1.0 was published in 2018). Has your organization ever engaged in a debate about the definition of an “application” or “business service”? This prescriptive guidance is a great supplement for ITIL and DevOps discussions, providing consistency. The CSDM is not all process talk, though. Each SN release has new fields and tables to help your “people, process and platform” conform with this standard.

Reference: Community Blog

See you online, or at a future SN Event!

~ JarodM

About the author

Jarod is a ServiceNow Developer MVP who specializes in custom application development, platform security (Edge Encryption), and integrations. He holds a variety of certifications in ServiceNow and IT security (CISSP), a master’s degree in Management and a bachelor’s degree in Business Administration.

Since 2013, Jarod has been responsible for the ServiceNow platform in a variety of roles for both ServiceNow customers and ServiceNow partners. He is active in the ServiceNow community, and you can find him on online as a moderator in the SNDevs Slack and on LinkedIn.