Can Copilot for PVA build a Card with Vertical Buttons?

Now not to pad myself on the back too much, but I am somewhat of an expert when it comes to Vertical Buttons for Power Virtual Agents. Both for the classic designer using Bot Framework Composer and for the new authoring experience of Power Virtual Agents. And with the new prompt engineering feature Copilot coming to Power Virtual Agents I am wondering if my blogposts are now obsolete!

This post is of course about my first impressions using Copilot for Power Virtual Agents. It is also an excuse to quickly play around with it. I want to put this technology to a quick test as I did with Boost Conversation for Power Virtual Agent. I am very much an enthusiast of this technology and the productivity it can bring. So let’s put it to the test!

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Boost conversation for PVA – When should you use it?

ChatGPT and OpenAI has taken the world by storm. Now almost everyone is talking about AI and especially generative AI. First DALL-E shows us we can generate images and art just by prompts then ChatGPT shows we can generate entire blogpost by doing the same. I find these AI models thoroughly impressive but what I find even more so is how fast Microsoft and other tech companies are incorporating these models into their products. Today I want to focus on one small piece of these announcement and give it my thoughts by asking myself the following question: When and how should you use Boost Conversation for Power Virtual Agents?

Let’s start off with a brief description of what Boost Conversation is for Power Virtual Agents. Boost Conversation allows you to wire up your PVA to a website of your choosing. Meaning it will read the content of that website and index it. And then tries to answer the questions a user ask to your Chatbot with data found on that website. For this it uses Azure OpenAI services paired up with Bing to access and index that website. So instead of using ChatGPT 3.5 to try to answer the question with the knowledge of the entire internet it will narrow it down. Is this a brilliant decision or a flaw by the product team?

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Adding Vertical Buttons to Power Virtual Agents – Revisited

Wait? Didn’t I already have a blogpost about vertical buttons for Power Virtual Agents? Yes, I do, but it is time to revisit! I will show you how to add Vertical Buttons to a Power Virtual Agents question. I will use the new advanced authoring canvas to do so. As you may know, previously we had to use the Bot Framework Composer for this and export the dialog back to Power Virtual Agents. In fact, I describe this solution in my most popular blogpost of the last year.

The new authoring canvas now is in preview. The authoring experience is rebuilt from the ground up. Now we can use a lot of great new features in the authoring canvas directly such as: posting Adaptive Cards, adding rich media like images and videos and even use Power FX throughout! I am excited about this direction. And in my humble opinion, it stays easy to use despite all these new functionalities! Keep in mind all functionality is still in preview and should not be part of your production Bots yet.

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My 7 Power Platform Picks for the wave 1 release plan

Twice a year the Power Platform team gives us insight on where they will focus on for the next 6 months. They do so in a so called release plan. This is not the same as release notes as on any given time these plans might change, post-pone or even scrapped altogether. So please always look at the actual release plan when you want to look at what’s coming!

In this post I give my 2 cents on features that caught my eye. These are not necessarily the most anticipated / shiny new feature. It might be the ones I have personally experienced as a pain point or have some more thoughts about.

a person holding a notebook
Photo by Mikael Blomkvist on
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Extend Power Virtual Agent with vertical buttons and make this reusable

Sometimes you just want something different then what is possible out of the box. We have a requirement where a client wanted the choices in Power Virtual Agent presented vertically instead of horizontally. Luckily we are working on a platform which helps us achieve such requests. We use the Bot Framework Composer to create a dialog. And with some engineering we can even make such a dialog reusable for the entire bot!

With the new authoring canvas now in preview the steps below are soon no longer necessary. See how to add Vertical Buttons in this blog.

Shows the test window in Power Virtual Agent and how vertical buttons create a nicer user experience inside a chatbot dialog.
Vertical buttons make for a better user experience
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