Top Power Platform Announcements at MBAS
The Microsoft Business Applications conference kicked off this week with an action packed keynote. I’m going to break down and highlight what I feel are the top Power Platform related announcements from the conference.
AI Builder in Preview
The new AI Builder functionality was revealed in all it’s glory. Now you can take advantage of the power of Azure Cognitive Services AI capabilities directly from the PowerApps maker portal without needing to do any configuration other than training your model.
There are 4 types of AI Models that you can use: Binary Classification, Form Processing, Object Detection and Text Classification. I did a quick demo of how to use the Object Detection Model to scan and update your inventory. I walk through setting up and training the model and using it in your app. You can find that video below:
There’s also a built-in Business Card Scanner which will recognize the text from a business card for you that requires zero configuration. If you want to see this business card scanner in action check out my YouTube video which walks through that:
Canvas App Testing
Alright, if you know me then you know my background is in development. So you can imagine being in the PowerApps development world, the lack of true unit testing capabilities drives us developers bonkers. In fact, this has been one of the sticking points for people to argue that PowerApps isn’t an enterprise-ready platform. Well, looks like that is all going to change come Octoberish when the new Testing studio is released. Developers and Citizen Developers alike rejoice!
Ability to Cancel Flow Approvals!
Approval processes have never been easier thanks to Flow Approvals. Like any tool, there are some things that I’ve been wishing they would add to the approvals. One of my biggest asks is the ability to cancel an approval which has been sent out. I know I can’t be the only with that need right? Well sounds like that functionality is coming in or around the October release cycle!
Flow Approval Attachments
This is one that I’ve seen a lot of requests for on user voice and from clients. Right now, if you want to reference a file in your approval emails, you would have to store that file somewhere and hard code a link in your approval email. Coming soon, for Flow Plan 1 subscriptions or higher, you’ll be able to attach files natively in the Flow Approval action.
These are just a couple of the new features coming to Flow. If you want to read up on more of the features coming in the wave 2 release check out the Flow blog: https://flow.microsoft.com/en-us/blog/2019-release-wave-2-plan-and-may-updates-for-microsoft-flow/
Native Responsive Pages
So we all know that you can create responsive apps in PowerApps today. But let’s face it, the way to make it work currently is not particularly intuitive or user-friendly. So, it’s nice to see that they are working on creating native responsive pages.
So the list wouldn’t be complete without talking about one of the biggest announcements, PowerApps Portals. If you look at user voice or social media, you’ll find that hands-down, the biggest requested capability for PowerApps is external sharing. PowerApps Portals is Microsoft’s answer to that need.
PowerApps Portals will be released in the coming month. It will surface up in your tenant as a new app type called “Portal”. With the portal app type you can create an app that connects to your CDS data which you can share either anonymously or through a login provider like Microsoft, LinkedIn, Google, FaceBook, etc.
Wait, just CDS only? That’s the biggest comment I’ve been seeing on social media about Portals. Yes, you read that correctly, you can only connect to CDS data for your Portal apps. So, that means this will require at least a P1 license to set up.
What if you want to show data from your other data sources like SQL or SharePoint? Well, you can always utilize Flow to sync that data up to CDS so keep that in mind. Another option if you don’t want to use Portals with the CDS requirement is to take advantage of the Guest Access capabilities that will be rolling out.
Guess Access will allow you to utilize Azure AD B2B or B2C to set up external users and allow them access to your canvas app. This functionality will also work for PowerApps which are embedded in SharePoint lists. Of course, this will require that every guest user has an appropriate PowerApps license.
Alright, that’s a wrap! Those were my top picks for new features announcements. Do you agree? I’d love to hear what you think the top feature announcements from the Microsoft Business Applications Summit were. Please send me a tweet and let me know @aprildunnam