Axure to send and receive data to an external source

Hi,

Can the following be included in Axure 9 please?

  1. connect Axure to Database backend or to send and receive data from an external source, and

  2. to load data from database (or Google sheets, or a flat file) to Axure frontend,

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Bump. Anyone? Any suggestions?

Hello! It sounds like you’d like for Axure RP 9 to allow connecting to databases. I’ve filed this on our end with the product team for consideration, though at the moment it’s not a built-in feature.

Thanks Alyssa, actually I am more interested in being able to send and receive data from an external source. Connecting to an external database would be nice, but even something simple like retrieving and supplying data to a flat file, or to a Google spreadsheet would be amazing.

Note that many of us have been requesting this feature since Axure RP 6, 7, and 8… Now we are requesting it for version 9. There are some hacks available but this is not good for Axure.

If you implemented this feature and opened it up for the lay person to use, it would greatly enhance what is possible with Axure in the design development lifecycle and make it the best tool ever!

Would you mind following up with your development team and letting us know whether or not they would even consider including something like this in Axure 9? We have been avid supporters and promoters of Axure for many years, and it would be good to know one way or the other.

Cheers!

3 Likes

Hi dav123456,

No news yet on this feature, but I’ll bring this up in a meeting with our product/dev team to let them know users are still interested in the ability to send/receive data from an external source. :slight_smile:

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Thanks. Keep us posted. :grinning:

Hi Jane, do you have an update from the meeting you raised this with?

Hi dav123456,

I escalated this in a meeting with our product/development team, and they’ve let me know that connecting to an external database is not on the roadmap for Axure RP 9, though we’re continually evaluating use-cases and new/old feature requests as they come in. As such, please feel free to let us know any additional details about your workflow and how you’d use the feature of connecting to an external source with Axure RP, along with any information you’d like to provide. :slight_smile:

Hi Jane,

Thanks for following through with the development team. I need to point out that connecting to an external database would be fantastic, but as I said in my original post, the request is to make it easy for “something simple like retrieving and supplying data to a flat file, or to a Google spreadsheet.”

Would you mind going back to your development team and make it clear that an API to an external database was not what was being requested, but instead something very modest, ie a simple way to receive and put data to, say, an external flat file, etc. It would really make Axure RP a standout product and be an incredible and flexible tool. This is something that has been requested since before Axure RP6, and it would seem that Axure 9 is the perfect time to implement this functionality.

Would you mind doing that for us please and then give us their feedback?

PS I am happy to give examples of how it could be used, eg from allowing a flat-file to define the original start state of a prototype that can be changed by simply changed the flat file, to providing an output data set (flat file) based on the users actions within the prototype. The possibilities are limitless and would open the door to many creative solutions.

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If you need to export data from a prototype you can make GET requests with query params by setting the URL of an invisible iframe. There are obvious limitations but it could work.

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Thanks nkrisc,

Any chance you could send an rp file as an example as I don’t really understand. Also is there a way to import data into Axure and populate the values into Axure variables?

These workarounds would be great. The main aim for my feature request is for Axure to include basic input/export in a simple way for non-programers to be able to easily include in an Axure project.

I don’t have an example as really 99% of the work is writing a server that receives the request and processes the data, which is nothing to do with Axure. This is also export only. If you need to import dad’s you’d need to write a script to do that. This is all theory though. Personally I think it’s all more trouble than its worth.

Exactly my point… and therefore the motive of the feature request in this post and since Axure RP 6.

Cheers.

I’m going to throw in my thoughts on this. I’ve been using Axure off and on almost since it was born, and have hacked the document and spreadsheet exports to help improve workflows, but it’s never satisfied my needs. Ultimately, Axure needs to have an import/export layer that has some ability to receive data from an external source and write data to an external format that can be easily used elsewhere. I remember asking Victor for this in a personal conversation in 2011.
The use cases are so plentiful, but the biggest one is that I want to be able to manage the content of my digital product through multiple streams without the giant overhead that it takes now. I make an Axure prototype and my content designer or copywriter writes a separate copy deck in Word. I either take their copy and put it back into Axure or (worse) the visual designer uses both Axure and the Word doc to merge the two into a visual artifact in Sketch. Then the developer takes that Sketch document and the word doc and tries to impelement it in Angular, which means that they’re editing a flat file (YAML or JSON or some other abstracted thing) that’s all key/value pairs.
Axure knows key/value pairs (it has widget labels and internal IDs). Sketch has named layers. I would love to be able to maintain a single file that can be updated from both and/or feed both programs. That single file could then be programatically converted to JSON or whatever by smart people. So much less copy pasting! Since content is such a key piece of design, having such poor interoperability with content sources is unfortunate.
The other thing that Axure needs to be able to do to hold my interest any longer is to allow for content to flow in easily from an outside object. Sketch has gone a long way towards this (and Figma takes it further) but even just being able to connect to a JSON based API endpoint to build a repeater, or grab placeholder content from a Lorem Ipsum generator or image generator like PlaceKittens would go a long way. It doesn’t have to live update, but as a baseline content import or an optionally updatable source, it would be amazing.
The world of prototyping has changed so much since Axure was born. This tool made me look awesome in my early days as a designer, but with every new version I keep hoping I’ll see some energy around plugging Axure into the broader ecosystem, and it’s just never there.
:disappointed:

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Exactly right.

And your point hits the nail on the head! Well said. From my perspective you sum it up very nicely by saying that “content is a key piece of design today”.

I just hope that Axure comes to the party as this is technically not difficult to implement if the desire is there. Also it is an appropriate and ideal time to include it in this next major release of Axure.

It just seems that the strategy of the Axure management team is NOT to go there for some reason and therefore not to put this functionality into their development roadmap. I certainly hope that that is not the case, however their lack of constructive engagement and response to this request over the years - and even now - indicates a complete lack of interest in this functionality for some reason that they have not explained.

I should point out that I did receive an email reply years ago from someone who used to work in the Axure team saying that they believed that Axure was not the appropriate platform to connect to external data sources (even flat files) as it sounded to them as application development and Axure wanted to stay in the prototype arena. But as you say content is critical for design.

I am just waiting for Jane_Axure to reply to my latest request above in this thread.

If only we could arrange a meeting and speak directly with the Axure management team to convince them off the value to Axure and their customers in get this happening and really raise the bar of the Axure offering!

8 Likes

Exactly what I was just looking for.

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