Power Platform Summary – Ignite 2021

My highlights from Microsoft Ignite 2021.

Power Apps – co-authoring

Finally Microsoft have announced a way that we can co-author a canvas app. This should mean that an app can have more than a single editor at a time. As an architect this has always been a limiting factor as a single person working on an app is slower than multiple. At current this is an experimental feature so it has the potential to change significantly over the coming months / years.

https://powerapps.microsoft.com/en-gb/blog/experimental-co-authoring-for-power-apps-studio/

https://docs.microsoft.com/en-us/powerapps/maker/canvas-apps/git-version-control

Power Platform consumption based licencing

Possibly the most interesting announcement from Ignite was the addition of a pay as you go licence option. If you are familiar with Azure then this will be very similar as it replicates the consumption based options in Azure. This licencing option is a huge option as it avoids some of the many pitfalls in Power Platform licencing:

  • Providing the option to trial Power Platform solutions using consumption costing to understand the uptake,
  • Provides the ability for an organisation to create org-wide apps that may not be used regularly and don’t warrant every user needing a Power Apps licence.
    • Examples for these types of apps; Desk Assessments, Annual Appraisals, Health and Safety Logs, Entry Logs ect…

https://powerapps.microsoft.com/en-gb/blog/low-code-with-low-risk-announcing-pay-as-you-go-for-power-apps-public-preview/

Create Mobile apps with Power Apps

This announcement means that you are able to package canvas apps as iOS or Android apps. This means that they can be deployed via Microsoft intune.

https://powerapps.microsoft.com/en-gb/blog/create-mobile-apps-with-power-apps-preview/

Power FX Open Source

Microsoft have released a preview of Power FX as open source under the MIT licence. This means that you are able to make use of it in other projects. Power FX is the language that is used within Canvas Apps when creating formulas.

Power FX can now be used in a two different places such as:

However, Microsoft plan on releasing Power FX out into more areas early next year. However, as Power FX has been open sourced you are now free to utilise this in projects of your own. Take a look at some of the code samples to see what has already been achieved.

https://github.com/microsoft/Power-Fx

https://powerapps.microsoft.com/en-gb/blog/power-fx-open-source-now-available/

AI

During ignite there were several announcements around AI and how the Power Platform is now going to enable a more direct integration with AI. Some of the key announcements were:

  • Bring your own AI model
  • Use AI in Power Apps with Power Fx
    • Previously the only way you could use AI in Power Apps was through the 5 in-built models. While this worked it did have limitations. Now Microsoft have updated how we can use AI models. This now gives the ability to access custom or pre-trained models on any control in the app.
  • Enhancements to Forms Processing
    • One of the most requested features was to be able was to process information from check-boxes. Microsoft now have announced that forms processing will enable check boxes to be scanned by the AI models.

https://powerautomate.microsoft.com/en-au/blog/enhancing-ai-for-low-code-development-with-ai-builder/

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