April’s Favorite Things: Microsoft Business Applications Summit Edition
Good Morning PowerApps and Flow Fans! With the 1st Annual Microsoft Business Application Summit Keynote wrapping up, it’s time for another installment of April’s Favorite Things: The Microsoft Business Application Summit Edition. The MS Biz Apps Summit is focused on the “Power Platform”: Dynamics, PowerApps, Flow and PowerBI. The big announcements from the keynote revolves around all of the new features coming in the October 2018 Release. This release is going to be HUGE with tons of new features coming to the individual “Power Platform” apps. I’m going to try to narrow it down to my Top 3 PowerApps and Top 3 Flow feature announcements.
1. Changing the Size of your App and Creating a Responsive Layout
This has been a big pain point for me personally. Coming from a development background, I’m used to being able to design a form or application and apply a responsive style/layouts (meaning your data automatically responds and changes formatting based on screen size). With PowerApps you have to select if you want your app to be Mobile or Tablet compatible and it fits your content to look best in one of those formats. I can’t wait for October to come along so I can update my apps with responsive layouts to work across devices/screen types!
2. External Users Can Use Custom Forms in SharePoint
All my SharePoint peeps are probably raising a glass to this one. Most people who use SharePoint take advantage of the ability to share your SharePoint list with external users. Unfortunately, if you customized your SharePoint list form with PowerApps your external users weren’t able to take advantage of that because of the licensing requirements. I’m very happy to see that Microsoft is addressing this issue and allowing external users to consume SharePoint list customized PowerApps!
3. Formula Improvements
If you’ve been using PowerApps long enough you’ve inevitably struggled with trying to get a complex formula to work. Those of you (like me) that have been through this pain will appreciate this announcement. Looks like there are several improvements coming to help us in the Formula bar. First, they are releasing the ability to format the formula bar to make your formula’s easier to read. They are also making is easier to debug your formula’s by allowing you to select within items in your formula and see what’s going on with that particular piece.
1. SharePoint Remind Me
In my years as a consultant one of the most common workflows people request is the ability to send out a reminder for something based on a date in SharePoint. For example, I have a list of contracts and 30 days before the contract expires I need to send a reminder to update. It was a tedious process to create that in SharePoint Designer. Thankfully, Flow is bringing us a template for this very use case. Thanks Flow!
2. Microsoft Teams uses Flow as a Bot
Is anyone else on the Microsoft Teams wagon like I am? I pretty much live in Teams in my day to day job. I’m totally sold and drinking the Teams kool-aid. So, of course I was excited to see the integration with Flow and Teams Bot. With this integration you can launch your Button Flows directly from the Teams Chat Bot.
3. Design Flow’s in Visio
This one is definitely going to make Visio fan’s happy. Remember the old SharePoint Designer days where you can import your Visio business process in to create your workflows? That feature is now coming to Flow!
I’m just skimming the surface of the new features coming in the October release. If you want to see more, Microsoft has released a 239 page document listing out all of the Dynamics, PowerApps and Flow features coming in the October Release which you can read here: