Wave Hello to the 2024 Power Platform Release Wave

Another year, another release wave! This year I once again dive into what I think are the most interesting features. Reading these features will give us some insights on where the product team is investing in. Obviously the bigger and most game changing features will be reserved for a larger stage, nonetheless we can find some cool stuff coming our way!

Now I have to be honest, I am getting less excited about the release waves. Thinking of why I am less excited, I have 2 thoughts that might cause this. One is good and for the other the jury is still out. The good thing is that the Power Platform is moving towards a continuous improvement model. I also highlighted this last release wave. Lot’s of features are rolling out that are silently added to the release plan website. In fact my first highlight is that the monthly channel is coming to general availability in April 2024. Nice thing about this, is that you can set overwrite this on an App by App basis as well!

Shows the App settings where the release channel can be set per individual Power App
Monthly Channel Selectable per App

The second reason is that development of all the various Copilots. They kinda suck the oxygen out of the room. The investment made into building, refactoring and improving these features leaves less money for other product features. Frankly, some of these first iterations of these Copilots are lackluster. I do think they will eventually be really helpful, but sometimes I imagine a world where investments are made into further convergence of Canvas and Model Apps. I do hope it’s not my age turning away my passion from the product 😉

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Top 9 Waves to catch this Power Platform Release Wave

It’s that time of the year again, the second release wave of the year. We again get insights in the direction the product teams are taking in their continuous improvement efforts. In this post I will highlight a couple that caught my eye. I will tell you why and hopefully this is useful for your own digestion of all news coming your way!

Before we start I want to speculate if this is one of the last Release Waves as we know it. Recently Microsoft announced they will move to a monthly update cadence for Model-Driven Apps. This will move the product towards a modern cloud application with faster updates. Hopefully though, Microsoft keeps us informed of the direction they are taking with their various products.

In essence the Release wave already is on a monthly cadence as all Release Wave features are already released scattered throughout the year. However, for all you applications managers out there, it now is time to change your processes to a more iteratively approach. Especially if you can utilize the user level overrides to let your key users test and experiment before you roll out to entire teams!

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Use Template Tasks to separate data from logic

In today’s data-driven world, it’s becoming increasingly important to separate data from logic when building applications. This separation not only helps keep your code organized and maintainable but also makes it easier to manage and work with your data. In this blog post, we’ll explore how to use Template Tasks to separate data from logic and make your applications more efficient and easier to manage.

I will do this by expanding my previous blogpost where we generate Tasks using a Custom Page. In that blogpost I show how to generate Tasks to help the user in their work. However for simplicity it did not contain a Description, or even all fields. Thus the Power FX logic looks pretty clean. If we want to keep it clean we can separate the data by using Template Tasks. By storing the data in Dataverse and using template tasks to generate tasks based on logic inside the Custom Page, you can create a more scalable and flexible workflow.

Shows the Power FX code before we add all fields. It's relatively clean and readable.
Relatively clean Power FX
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Release wave time for the Power Platform again!

The first release wave of features for the upcoming year are available for us to look at! Always fun to digest what’s coming. And as always, it’s important to note that these plans are subject to change. Consider them as a general guide for what’s to come. Please remember that this is an evolution of the platform, not a revolution. Microsoft typically saves major announcements and game-changing features for their big events, so don’t expect any earth-shattering developments in this wave. Nevertheless, there are still some exciting updates upcoming that are worth taking a closer look at.

Now the first important announcement is about the planner itself. The Release Planner tool is now General Available and I encourage you to use it! Create your personal list of features you are exciting for and easily see what has changed since your last visit. Or you can create one to share with your team to keep track on new features you need in your solution. This is also an excellent example of dogfooding as it is build on top of Power Pages!

Shows an image of the Release Planner. This is now General Available to view all the planned feature releases.
Release Planner

I can categorize my highlight list in 4 topics; Improvements to the UI, Maker productivity, Application Lifecycle Management and Power Pages. And if you read more, I will address them as such in this blogpost!

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Create a Custom Page Dialog to generate Tasks

Sometimes you have a step in a process which is so complex you want to guide the user. You can guide the user by giving him steps of Tasks to do. But what Tasks do you present to your user? What if those steps of Tasks depends on variables that require human interpretation? We can create a Custom Page Dialog to Guide the user what Tasks to generate! That concept is exactly what I want to show you in this blogpost.

We will extend a process I have written extensively about. The Case of the Broken Screen. In one of the steps we sometimes have to coordinate repair work. And sometimes we have to coordinate sending replacement parts. All the while by personally informing the customer. To manage this we we will be using the Tasks set-up from this Blog post on our Case table. This allows us to relate Tasks to the case we are working on.

But what Tasks to work on? Let’s open the Generate Tasks Custom Page Dialog to create them!

Shows an animated gif of a Model-Driven App. The App shows a Case record with the Tasks tab selected. It opens the Custom Page Dialog - Task Generator and selects a few items. Corresponding Tasks are generated and related to the Case.
Dialog to Generate Tasks
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Embedded Canvas App – Exploring the OnDataRefresh property

It’s been a while since my last blog. Life took over, but I now finally got round to it. I want to share my experience with the OnDataRefresh property of the Embedded Canvas App. I will continue with my previous example of replacing a dialog with embedded canvas app.

Previous posts:

  • Click here for part 1. In this post I describe the task scenario and show how to set up the Embedded Canvas App and save the task.
  • Click here for part 2. This describes how to use Microsoft Flow to set the owner of the task as the CDS connector did not allow us to do so.

First things first, let me start by apologizing. I gave you wrong advice in part 1. If you want to use the OnDataRefresh property you need to use a “single line of text” field which is required, rather than creating a new field which I proposed first

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Embedded Canvas App – Replacing dialogs – Part 2

In my previous blog post I started making an embedded canvas app to replace dialogs. I started off by creating the app, the screen, some basic navigation and the form. Finally, I added patch logic to save the screen. If you have not read part 1, do not worry this video shows the functionality. The patch logic shows the Relate function, which is very useful, so I would recommend to check that first.

In this post I want to focus on setting the owner of the task. Setting the owner of the task is important because this allows us to distribute tasks to teams or individuals. An entire team could then process the task assigned to them and work them to completion. In this case the credit check that the finance team has to perform will help us resolve the case.

I wasn’t able to set the owner of the task using standard functionality. The PowerApps CDS connector does not allow for updating the owner field. Neither does the Relate function work after the record is created. But of course I have a solution, we can create a synchronous Flow!

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Embedded Canvas App – Replacing dialogs – Part 1

Embedded canvas apps are generally available since last month! This will be another way to create richer experiences for users using your model apps. Embedded canvas apps only work in the Unified Interface. In this blogpost I will show you how you can easily replace the deprecated dialogs with an embedded canvas app. In contrast to the PowerApps Component Framework, which I previously blogged about, this is a low code solution.

Dialogs were a great way to guide users through more complex decisions . Canvas apps are the Microsoft recommended way to replace dialogs. To showcase how you can replace your dialog I’ve created and implemented a fictive scenario.

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