Work at Lightspeed: ServiceNow's Plan for World Domination

I'm excited to be participating in Knowledge17, learning about the transformational past and future of the ServiceNow platform. A software tool developed by a single individual, Fred Luddy, only fourteen years ago has grown into a comprehensive enterprise solution which topped a billion dollars in revenue last year, and plans to grow that stream to four billion dollars by 2020.

John Donahoe (Chairman of the Board at PayPal and former CEO at eBay) joined ServiceNow as their new CEO only 45 days ago, and today he demonstrated how a tool which was previously so IT-centric is evolving to facilitate amazing customer experiences across departments throughout any organization. He's helping drive that innovation by spending a great deal of his time listening to ServiceNow's customers and inviting them to collaborate with ServiceNow's team in strategic discussions. John's decision to invert ServiceNow's organizational chart, placing his square at the bottom, soundly illustrated his commitment to provide outstanding servant leadership.

The technological innovations we saw today transcend the traditional boundaries between HR, IT, Finance, Security, Compliance, Legal, Customer Service, and other 'siloed' business services. That seamless integration allows us to accomplish our work with dramatically improved efficiency. This is possible not solely because we have the information we need, but because we can aggregate, breakdown, visualize, and react to that enormous wealth of information in real time, and we are continuously improving the tools and processes we use to do so.

We also heard from Dr. Scott Mason, COO at Novartis and Ashley Haynes-Gaspar, VP at GE Digital about the revolutionary changes ServiceNow is enabling in their organizations. Scott and Ashley each bore witness to the reality of these benefits. For example, Ashley spoke about how she and her team selected ServiceNow to replace 95 legacy systems at GE Digital, allowing their people to share information and cooperate like never before. She predicted a savings of trillions of dollars over time.

Ashley also devoted a significant portion of her presentation to addressing the massive gender inequality we see in the technology industry, sharing the importance of enabling girls to begin developing technical mindsets from a young age. As a father, I am committed to ensuring that my daughter has even more opportunities for success than I've enjoyed, and it's personally inspiring to see the progress Ashley is driving in this area.

Dave Wright, Chief Strategy Officer at ServiceNow took the stage to give a truly mind-blowing presentation about the future of the platform, explaining how the advent of machine learning in the operations management space is going to streamline organizations in every industry in ways we can barely fathom today.

He demonstrated the power of this AI by coupling it with event management to detect precursors to upcoming problems. This allows us to proactively solve incidents before they even occur!

Whether it's medicine, power generation, sales, insurance, government, or anything else you can imagine, our ability to collaborate and innovate will increase exponentially as we learn to maximize the benefits we gain from technology. When that technology is coupled with inspiring leadership and cohesive teams, there's no limit to what we can accomplish together.


Avoiding Pass-By-Reference Using getValue() & setValue()

Server-side GlideRecord objects contain an element for each field in the table that the record is in. These elements are not primitive values (strings, numbers, booleans), but Objects. The type of object is GlideElement, and the GlideElement API is available. However, since JavaScript is a "loosely typed" language, you can reassign a variable of one data-type (such as an Object) to another type (such as a string) without any hassle. Thus, setting a GlideRecord (gr) element's value to a string will overwrite the reference to the GlideElement object itself. This bad-practice example would look like:

gr.short_description = 'New short desc.';

Primitive values are stored on the stack, and are accessed directly by variable name. You might say that they are "contained within" a variable. A reference value on the other hand, is merely a pointer (or, you might say, a reference!) to an object which is stored on the heap. The difference between the heap and stack isn't important here, but it is important is that they're different. An object variable in JavaScript does not technically contain an object, but rather it contains a reference to that object. Consider what might print out, if we run the following in a background script:

var parent = {
prop1: 'val1'
var child = parent;
child.prop1 = 'new value';

In the above example, we declare an object: parent...

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"Learning ServiceNow" is Now Available for Purchase!

We are pleased to announce that our new book, Learning ServiceNow, has been published and is available to purchase on Amazon, as well as on the publisher's website. Simply navigate to to pick up a copy for yourself!

This book is geared toward new ServiceNow administrators and developers, who have less than a few years of experience managing the platform, but everyone should get something from it.
We take a ground-up approach in this book, and include advanced pro-tips along the way. We even have a whole section dedicated to things that expert developers wish they'd known when they were first starting out. There's something for everyone! 

All you need to know to get started, is basic JavaScript syntax, so head over to and get your learn on! 

reCAPTCHA in ServiceNow CMS/Service Portal

There are a multitude of reasons that one might want to verify that the person submitting a form, is indeed a person, and not a robot. Perhaps you've got a public-facing CMS or portal page, or perhaps you just want to verify that users can't just script their way through auto-ordering loads of computers, especially if their accounts are compromised. 

Whatever the reason, if you need to verify that a form submitter is indeed a person and not a robot (AKA: "CAPTCHA"), read on to find out how, and even get a downloadable update set that you can deploy into your instance to enable this functionality straight away (with a few minor setup-config tweaks). Click "Read more" below, to see the full article and download link. 

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Pro Tip: Use updateMultiple() for Maximum Efficiency!

Although most of our free time has been spent focusing on writing the Learning ServiceNow book, we wanted to post a quick Pro-Tip to address an issue we've seen impact performance on nearly every instance we've worked on: The use of loops to update a single field on a large number of records in the database. 

Let's say you've got a client who wants to run a scheduled job that'll auto-close Incidents in "In Progress" status, that haven't been updated for 30 days, by setting their state to a custom value, "stale" (or, since State is an integer field, 10). Let's see what a script for that purpose might look like, as it's usually written...

Click below to read more! 

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We're Writing a Book!

You may have noticed that we haven't posted a whole lot in the last few weeks. This is because I (Tim Woodruff, Owner/Founder of SN Pro Tips & The SN Guys) write the majority of the articles that show up here, and I've been directing my writing efforts elsewhere recently... 

We're Writing a Book! 

That's right, in case the title of this post didn't ruin the surprise, we are writing a book on ServiceNow Development and Administration in partnership with Packt Publishing, which has just been announced. This book is called "Learning ServiceNow" (ISBN 9781785883323), and it is geared toward the zero-to-medium-experience ServiceNow developer, and is meant to serve as both a complete guide to getting started with ServiceNow development and administration, as well as a knowledge-boost for any newer developers (say, devs with less than a couple of years of experience). 

I also intend to include a "pocket reference" type of document with some of the best Pro Tips you'll find in the book, as well as from this site! 

I just wanted to make sure our readers don't get the idea that we're going anywhere since we haven't released an article in a while. Once this book is published, we'll have some great new content coming your way, including some features from the book if we can! In the meanwhile, we hope to post a few quick Pro Tips here and there, but we hope you'll subscribe to stay tuned for our bigger, deep-tech articles, several of which we've already got lined up on the back-burner, including: 

  • The best way to perform a query in a nested loop
  • Creating a unique/one-to-one relationship in ServiceNow
  • A debugging series, including:
    • How to debug field visibility/mandatory/read-only state
    • client-side, and server-side javascript errors. 

In the meanwhile, feel free to check out our archive to review some of our other articles. As always, don't hesitate to contact us if you have a question or want to discuss how we can help your business with any ServiceNow-related needs. Thanks for reading! 

SN Pro Tips is owned and written by The SN Guys, ServiceNow consultants. If your organization could benefit from our services, we humbly welcome you to schedule some time to chat and share your goals with us, so we can help your business Grow With Purpose

Chrome Extension: Load in ServiceNow Frame

Over a year ago, when I first launched this website, I posted some free versions of my earliest tools. One of the first little tools I posted, was the SN Frame bookmarklet. As with all tools on this site, we put it out there for free and without any advertising or other nasty stuff. Today, we've just released the latest version of this tool as a Google Chrome Extension. Read on for more info, or click that link to download the tool from the Chrome extension store. Alternatively, you can search for SN Framerizer on the Chrome extension store

I often find myself middle-clicking a link or otherwise opening links in ServiceNow in a "new tab" or "new window". This means that I often get pages that load just the content frame, without the ServiceNow frame...

Click below to read more! 

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Force-Include Any Record Into an Update Set

While most of the records in ServiceNow that you might want to track in an update set are already tracked, due to a dictionary attribute called update_synch, you might just be surprised at how many types of records are not tracked in update sets! For example, scheduled jobs and scheduled script executions are not tracked in update sets, so you either need a tool like this, or you'll need to move these records over manually! Skip to the bottom of this record for a link to the download page. 

Since manual work is for Peons from Warcraft III and not for developers, let's build a better solution while we laugh at the mere mortals that export-then-import their records as XML. 

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GlideRecord Pagination - Page through your GlideRecord query

Perhaps you've got an exceptionally long query you'd like to run. 
Perhaps you need to gobble up large amounts of data via scripted REST API.
Or, perhaps you're building a neat little UI to display an arbitrary number of records. 
here are a dozen reasons why you might want to "page" through a list of records in a script, but unfortunately there hasn't been a good way to accomplish this. There are nigh-undocumented APIs like "saveLocation()", but they don't tend to work consistently, or quite accomplish our goal of pagination. 

Instead, we've decided to write our own GlideRecord page-turning utility, and make it freely available here along with our other free tools. Read on for more info! 

Pro TipIf you haven't checked out our other tools yet, hover your mouse over the Tools option at the top of this page. You'll find highly useful and FREE tools, such as the Update Set Collision Avoidance Tool, the Better One-Click Approvals Tool, the Update Relocator Tool, and the Temporary Permissions Utility
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Granting Temporary Roles/Groups in ServiceNow

In today's article, we're going to build some new functionality around granting temporary permissions. This will give us the ability to grant users temporary permissions by either directly granting a role, or by adding them to a group temporarily from a user's profile. 

We're also going to create the ability to bulk-add users, temporarily, to a given group. This could be an assignment group, or a security/permissions group. It could also be a group created specifically for temporarily granting a specific subset of roles. 

We're also going to allow an Administrator to set a specific expiration date for these temporary permissions. 

Finally, for security purposes, we're going to make it so that users who have temporary versions of the higher permissions roles (admin/security_admin) cannot add the admin or security_admin roles (temporary or permanent) to themselves or other users. 

So now that our project requirements are laid out before us, let's begin! 

Note: If you're feeling super lazy and just want to download an update set containing this functionality so you can deploy it into your instance already, scroll to the bottom of the article for a link to the Tools page, or find the Grant Temporary Permissions tool under the Tools section in the nav-bar at the top of this page! 
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