Book Image

Mastering ServiceNow - Second Edition

Book Image

Mastering ServiceNow - Second Edition

Overview of this book

ServiceNow is a SaaS application that provides workflow form-based applications. It is an ideal platform for creating enterprise-level applications giving requesters and fulfillers improved visibility and access to a process. ServiceNow-based applications often replace email by providing a better way to get work done. The book steps through the main aspects of the ServiceNow platform, from the ground up. It starts by exploring the core architecture of ServiceNow, including building the right data structure. To add business logic and control data, and interactivity to user interaction, you will be shown how to code on both server and the client. You will then learn more about the power of tasks, events and notifications. The book will then focus on using web services and other mechanisms to integrate ServiceNow with other systems. Furthermore, you will learn how to secure applications and data, and understand how ServiceNow performs logging and error reporting. You will then be shown how to package your applications and changes, so they can be installed elsewhere and ways to maintain them easily. If you wish to create an alternative simple interface, then explore ways to make ServiceNow beautiful using Service Portal. By the end of the book, you will know the fundamentals of the ServiceNow platform, helping you be a better ServiceNow System Administrator or developer.
Table of Contents (18 chapters)
Mastering ServiceNow Second Edition
About the Author
About the Reviewer

Making the most of the UI

ServiceNow is constantly improving the user interface to help you use the platform more effectively. The version used for fresh instances in Helsinki is UI16, and it takes advantage of modern browsers to provide a clean look while giving some really useful features, some of which are touched on here.

Old browsers (such as IE 7 and 8) can't use UI16 and default back to UI11. Instances that were upgraded from an older version must activate the plugin manually. The product documentation has much more information:

Finding your way around the interface

Do you lose things? Me too. I lose my hotel key all the time. Perhaps you are writing several difficult scripts that you want just a couple of clicks away, or you need to quickly navigate to a User record. Tags are a way to collect arbitrary records together, making them easy to find, while favorites let you save links very easily. History follows you about, so you can easily go back to where you were.

Adding a favorite

The All Applications view of the application navigator is very busy, with lots of modules. Start building up some the items you use often so that you can access them quickly. Just click on the start icon next to module you use a lot in the All Applications view (Tables in System Definition is a good one!), and it gets placed in the favorites list. Then, view it by clicking on the star icon in the Application Navigator. You can edit your favorites and change colors and icons through a link at the bottom.

Even better is the ability to drag links (usually from a list) onto the favorites panel. This saves them for one-click access.


Your favorites are displayed front and center when using your instance through the ServiceNow mobile app.

Since ServiceNow is a real web application, you can obviously add bookmarks through your browser. As you navigate through the platform, you might see the URL change in your browser change. However, you can right click both form headers and list breadcrumbs and choose Copy URL to get a cleaner, more precise link.

Seeing back in time

The history list tracks where you have been. Access it through the clock icon in the application navigator. A useful list of records and lists is shown, letting you jump backwards quickly and easily.

Defining a tag

Tags collect records together. To create one, go to a record form. Click on the "more options" button (three dots), and click on Add Tag. Type in a label, and hit enter.

Find your tags by navigating to Self-Service > My Tagged Documents. You may want to add this to your favorites!

Tag configuration is possible by going to System Definition > Tags. This includes global tags (which show for every user) and dynamic tags (which try to automate the selection of labels for you-for example, the most recently used records or records that meet a certain filter criterion).

Tags can be shared between multiple users and used for filters and in reports. There are also many ways other ways you can add tags, such as through the list context menu and inline editing. The product documentation provides more information:

Connecting with people

Connect is the way to be social with ServiceNow. It provides a real-time chat and messaging system that lets you send files, mention users, and get work done together. The idea of user presence extends even to the form, to encourage collaboration rather than conflict.

Connect uses the HTML5 notifications API to alert you about new messages, even when you aren’t actively using your browser. The method depends on your browser and OS, but typically, a little message appears in the top-right corner of your screen. This means that even if you have switched tabs away from ServiceNow at that moment, you can still be alerted that your colleague has found a new cat video.


ServiceNow has released an app for Android and iOS, available in their respective stores. This is very useful for Connect, since chats will use native notifications. So the cats can follow you even up Everest. You can control the notifications you get per conversation:

Chatting over records

Opening the Connect sidebar is the first step. Click on the Connect icon near your name in the top right to see the sidebar. From here, you can add people from the user table and start a conversation, adding more people to make group chats. If you aren't around when someone starts chatting to you, ServiceNow can alert you through your browser or send an e-mail notification.

While Connect, and instant messaging, is freeform by nature, chatting about the recent political scandal won't help Gardiner Hotels serve guests better. To focus on the topic, you can use Connect in association with records that exist in the database. The staff at Gardiner Hotels love to discuss the peculiarities of the unique rooms, so let's enable conversation recording for the Room table. This is done by setting an attribute on the Room table's dictionary entry.

  1. Navigate to System Definition > Tables (you set a favorite, right?), find the Room entry and open up the record.

  2. Then, use the Menu button, and click on Show Dictionary Record.

  3. Under Related Links, click on Advanced view.

  4. Edit the Attributes field as follows, and Save.

    Attributes: live_feed=true (If hasLabels=true is already there, append with live_feed=true, separating the two with a comma.)

To see Connect in action, navigate to a Room record. There should now be a Follow button. Interested employees at Gardiner Hotel can now follow a room and chat about it.

Live record updates

The idea of working together extends to UI16's ability to show live record updates when two users change details at the same time. This incredibly powerful capability lets users identify whether they are working together and, if not, to start a chat conversation to work things out.

To see how this works, you need two sessions open. The easiest way for a single person to do this is to open a new browser window in private browsing mode(might be called Incognito) and log in again. If possible, and for maximum realism, use another user account, perhaps even another computer!

In both browsers, navigate to the same record-perhaps Room 101. When both of you are there, you should see the profile picture of the other user in the record header at the top of the form. Instantly, you'll know someone else is viewing the same record. In the screenshot below, David Loo is viewing the same record as me.

Next, in one of the browsers, make a change to a field in a record, such as altering the floor number, and click on Save. In the other browser window, a little blue circle will appear and the value of the field will be updated, giving them the latest data. Wow!

If the two users disagree on the update, a Connect chat session is the perfect way to resolve it!