Each month, Dell Boomi release new updates for the Boomi platform. These updates normally take the form of new features, connector releases, updates or improved background functionality with some major improvements being made recently. In this blog I will take a look at two of these changes in more detail, and suggest some areas for improvement over the coming months.
Improving user experience and increasing build space
My biggest bug-bear with the Dell Boomi interface was always the size of the old canvas. Whilst the user could always use the sliders to move in all directions, it still felt like the amount of space you could use was being limited. This wasn’t a problem when building a small integration that didn’t consist of many shapes but when having to build a large one, moving around the canvas became a little frustrating which led to me trying to keep the shapes as close together as possible.
This has now all changed with the simple removal of the big blue bar at the top of the page that only held the process name and description. These have now been moved down and combined into the options panel and the extra space is great! It frees up the build canvas so developers can now build much larger integration processes without having to move around the page.
As you can probably also tell from the screen comparison above, extra canvas space has also been created through making the logic and execution panel collapsible and on the other side of the page. This adds to the page looking cleaner and was the correct thing to do as the old logic and execution panel on the left hand side served no purpose when not in use.
A search feature has been added to this new panel to help eliminate the frustration of not being able to find the shape required straight away. One enhancement to this feature that I would like to see in the future is this logic and execution button freely movable, similar to an iOS or Android button. Allowing the button to be moved around the page will eliminate the current issue of the expanded panel blocking the right hand side of the canvas if you are working on it.
Ideas for future improvements
Whilst these changes to the interface have been great and made the user experience significantly better, it is important to note that there are more changes that could be made in the future to further improve the interface. Firstly, whilst I do not think it needs to be changed back to the old style, the inclusion of the grid background was a little redundant. Its inclusion was so shapes can be more easily aligned on the canvas but in my opinion the connection lines do this job and I have not found myself using the grid background for alignment once since the release.
A simple fix for users suffering alignment issues with their integrations would be the release of an auto-alignment button, similar to that in Microsoft Office products. Another area where Dell Boomi could be improved is by including more automation in order to help it be more user-friendly.
One form this could come in is shapes inheriting the profiles that are passed in to them by the previous shape. For example, if a data process shape is followed by a map shape, the map would automatically have the source profile populated with the output profile of the data process step. Or a list of profiles used within the process could be shown when selecting profiles, to avoid navigating through the Component Explorer to find the correct profile.
Overall I feel that the changes that have been made to the Boomi interface have been a great success as a whole. They make the platform cleaner and simpler to use whilst also showing that Boomi are striving to improve an already ease-to-use interface. I eagerly anticipate further enhancements not just to the UI but also the functionality of the platform in order to reinforce its position as the leader in the Gartner iPaaS magic quadrant.
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