JavaScript learning path: From Zero to Hero

When I started as a ServiceNow admin, in 2011, I did not have any experience with JavaScript. I had to learn the basic, fast, and I choose to continue to progress along the way. I consider that continuous improvement is especially important to be applied to oneself.

I did a previous article on the learning path to become “ServiceNow Certified Implementation Specialist”, but this time I’ll focus on building your JavaScript development skills, via a selection of free or inexpensive courses available online. I’m in no way affiliated to any content linked here. I only want to share the amazing study materials that I found in the past years.

Knowing that 94.7% of all web sites use JavaScript should be a great incentive to learn more on the subject.

Continue reading “JavaScript learning path: From Zero to Hero”

Great UX Trick: Field decorations with 295 hidden icons

ServiceNow contains a hidden treasure of almost 300 icons than can be used to convey better visual distinctiveness to your users’ bookmarks, service portals and system info messages. This distinctiveness can be used to ensure that your contextual messages receive more attention and to facilitate navigation in your instance. Continue reading “Great UX Trick: Field decorations with 295 hidden icons”

Great UX Trick: 250 hidden icons to use with bookmarks

ServiceNow contains a hidden treasure of almost 300 icons than can be used to convey better visual distinctiveness to your users’ bookmarks, service portals and system info messages. This distinctiveness can be used to ensure that your contextual messages receive more attention and to facilitate navigation in your instance.

Those icons are dingbats characters grouped in a special web font included in your instance, and can be applied in your html content via CSS classes, applied to the italic or emphasis tag. Example: <i class=”icon-name”>i>.  This web font was compiled by ServiceNow, using the open source Grunt-Webfont project. As of June 2017, the version included in Jakarta is called retina_icons_2017_1_17.woff and contains 295 distinct icons.

You can access a nice preview with all the characters included in the web font via a hidden URL that is available in any instances, even HIhttps://YOUR_INSTANCE.service-now.com/styles/retina_icons/retina_icons.html

Continue reading “Great UX Trick: 250 hidden icons to use with bookmarks”

Great UX Trick: HTML Placeholders

As a software platform, ServiceNow has a great and modern GUI that works with any web browser. Yet there is one glaring missing UI feature from modern HTML: HTML Placeholders. Let me present you my ninj’admin trick to implement them in your instance.

What are HTML Placeholders?

Placeholders are the ghost texts present in many web sites’ input fields. They are an old trick, introduced with the HTML5 standard in mid 2011.
The most common usage is with Search input fields.

As soon as you type something in the box, the placeholder text will disappear, to be replaced by your own input. Used in the Service Catalog, or in your Forms, they can add useful information without being obnoxious for the users.

Continue reading “Great UX Trick: HTML Placeholders”

Preview of Jakarta changes

ServiceNow is soon to release a new version of ServiceNow, code-named Jakarta. This article showcases just some of the new features to be excited about in this new release.

If you are a ServiceNow Partner or Employee, you can learn all about the new features via several video presentations from the Jakarta Partner Release Curriculum available at the SabaCloud learning portal. For everyone else, here is a list of some of the new features to be excited about. I’ll add pictures once I have better ones, as the published ones are very blurry. Continue reading “Preview of Jakarta changes”

Istanbul automated testing

One of the most exciting feature of the ServiceNow Istanbul release, is the new Automated Testing Framework (ATF).

Why so excited over automated testing?

  • Custom test frameworks are very expensive to implement.
  • Most customers only do manual tests.
  • Every time customers upgrade their instance, weeks of works are needed to test against regressions. The time spent bug-fixing is often tiny compared to the large amount of time spent on manual testing. Anything that has automated tests will consume almost no resource at all and will benefit of better reliability.
  • Because of this resource burden many customers don’t upgrade their instance as often as they could. Instead of having a steady process of continuous improvements, they focus all their resources over testing and ignore new functionalities that could benefit their processes and users.
  • ITIL best practices recommend continuous improvements. Yet, customers don’t like to implement changes, or experiments with new features, because it is too heavy on costly resources when not automated.
  • Major UI changes tend to break documentation made for testers, or break tests implemented in custom test frameworks, like Selenium. Istanbul’s automated tests are UI agnostic.
  • We now have a free, out-of-the-box, automated test framework specialized for ServiceNow.

Continue reading “Istanbul automated testing”

When ServiceNow Express have better UI than the Enterprise version

I suppose you have heard of the Express version of ServiceNow. If you’re not familiar with it, it’s the young little brother of the Enterprise version: ITSM focused, no JavaScript allowed, almost no plugins, and mono instance. Amongst its advantages: it cost a quarter of the price of its bigger sibling, it’s very robust because you can’t implement dirty customizations without JavaScript, and a few elements of the User Interface are way more intuitive.

In this article, I’ll focus on those interface improvements, and show how to implement the same contextual feedbacks in your Enterprise instance.

Continue reading “When ServiceNow Express have better UI than the Enterprise version”

How to progress from ServiceNow Administrator to Implementation Specialist

As most new ServiceNow administrators that I meet, I started with the 3 days “ServiceNow System Administration Training” ($2100), that you can pass with ServiceNow or one of its official certified training partners. As an alternative you may also consider this Udemy 7 hours online course “ServiceNow 101: Administration” as an economic alternative.

Now, how do you improve on your technical knowledge of the platform, and what steps could you apply to assert your experience?

After this introduction course, you’re expected to gain experience on the field, while administering your instance. Many administrators stop their curriculum here, but you many opportunities to improve. Let’s me present you some possible next steps…

Continue reading “How to progress from ServiceNow Administrator to Implementation Specialist”

Financial Implication of Extending Tables

Did you know that extending the wrong table can multiply the cost of your implementation up to four times?

As an implementation specialist, you need to be aware that there may be some consequent financial costs when you extend ServiceNow tables.

A quick reminder of what are extended tables

I’m regulary amazed by the elegance of ServiceNow’s Object-relational database, where tables can be child of another table. Child table inherits all columns and properties of its parent.

The CMDB heavily uses this. At the root level the cmdb_ci table contains only the common fields used for all CMDB items, then it’s extended by the cmdb_ci_hardware  that adds fields relevant only to hardware, like a serial number. This is extended again by cmdb_ci_computer, that adds a layer of computer centric fields, like OS information or RAM amount. Continue reading “Financial Implication of Extending Tables”

All about sharing

This is my third year working full time as a ServiceNow implementation Specialist. During my day to day job, I was often able to found useful help on the ServiceNow’s blog and communities. It’s important to return the favour, so I’m starting this blog to share some ideas and experimentations.