Building reliable & maintainable business applications on the Now Platform

Blog Building reliable & maintainable business applications on the Now Platform

Every Now Platform implementation project team or product owner will at some time consider if certain functionality is built according to best practices. Is it built to specification and can the team maintain the functionality in the future? Is it scalable and does it not impact other components of the platform in a way where it might have unnecessary impact on future development or even upgrades of the platform? How can multiple teams work on related functionality in a single platform without slowing down development?

Preferably, these are questions answered before starting any development on the platform and as such these fundamental development practices are vital to achieving success. Scoped Applications enable teams to build highly reliable, scalable and maintainable business applications on the Now Platform.

Scoped vs non-scoped
There are two different types of development approaches available on the platform. Building an application in the global scope or in an application scope.

  1. Global scope development
    The first option gives the freedom to change anything in the platform, this also includes out of the box functionality that from a best practice perspective should not be changed. It enables the development team to build applications quickly and does not have any restrictions on application deployments. Deployments are performed with update sets, a mechanism to transport changes from one ServiceNow instance to another.
    The drawback from this approach is that update sets sometimes lead to errors and there is no guideline on what should and what should not be done in the application development. In the global scope, there are no added security features meaning all functionality in the global scope has the same level of access to data and business logic. In order to protect data or logic the development team needs to create its own safeguards and access controls. Eventually, this cascade of changes to the global scope might cause issues with upgrades or other active development on the Now Platform.
  2. Scoped development
    The second option is known as scoped development or scoped applications. The scoped development strategy enables access to all relevant platform functionality that is also accessible to the global scope. With the exception that out of the box data or configuration cannot be modified from the scoped application. It can however be extended and reused in the scoped application. This combination preserves the out of the box state of the platform while enabling the developer to still quickly build a powerful business application within application scope. Deployments are performed using the internal repository linked to all customer ServiceNow environment using the upgrade engine. Scoped development ensures that the security and integrity of data is guaranteed by providing run-time and access level separation between scoped applications. Applications downloaded from the ServiceNow Store have the added benefit that they are checked for security, quality and best practices by the ServiceNow Store team. Upgrades on applications are automatically made available on the customer instances where the customer decides if and when an upgrade will take place, providing a possibility to enforce change control on the application lifecycle.

Scoped application development is the best method to create reliable, scalable and maintainable business applications on the Now Platform. It enables you to quickly build applications that extend and utilize out of the box platform features and data without impacting the platform or any other development. The ServiceNow Store provides a channel for certified scoped Applications that have been tested, checked and approved by ServiceNow.

Critical success factors for application development and deployment on the Now Platform

  • Enable architectural compliancy with ServiceNow best practices;
  • Loosely couple scoped applications using API based design;
  • Adopt a formal lifecycle process for application development, testing and deployment;
  • Utilize store applications as they are validated by ServiceNow and the ServiceNow Store provides a superior distribution mechanism;
  • Train your developers to comply with best practices and scoped application guidelines;
  • Use delegated development to separate and/or delegate scoped development for your teams;
  • Utilize out of the box functionality over customizations on the platform.

About Plat4mation
At plat4mation we have extensive experience building scoped applications that are distributed through the ServiceNow Store, or build specifically on a customer’s platform instance. We enable customers to create valuable business applications by advising them on best practices, development approach and deployment strategies. We also co-create applications with customers to deliver best in class results, within the shortest possible time, taking into account the constraints of the environment.

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Contact person

Thijs Daemen Thijs Daemen
Chief Technology Officer (CTO)
+31 (0)30 76 02 670 Get in touch

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