Dynamics 365 for Power Platform: PowerApps and Flow | Business Applications October 2018 Release
So. I'll be doing a little bit deeper dive into power apps and flow then Richard was just talking about, just. The kind of level set I hope everybody knows this by this point today with all power apps and all the different keynotes and sessions but. Power apps is all about making it incredibly easy to build mobile and web experiences, from, UI to data that, can really change the business processes, in your company and a big part of that is you can actually now embed that development, right inside the business just like we heard with J&J Pepsi, and Arriva just, a few seconds ago if. You were to go drill into the, major areas. And really the the long-term vision of power apps it kind of comes down to just six different things the, first is going, all back to that easy creation, to build apps and we say low code or no code that combination, is important, because low code means that there's actually a place for developers, to come in and contribute and amplify. The abilities, of the apps and no, code means that you can have people who can never write code being able to actually go create those applications, another. Key element is that you can connect to over 230. Different data sources right, out of the box with power apps this, makes it incredibly easy to pull down information from other business, applications or, databases whether, it be something like sequel, or db2, or s AP you can all leverage that right inside of power apps without, having to write any code and in, the case where we don't have one of those connectors, available out of the box and, we do ship new connectors almost every single week you have the ability to create what's called a custom connector and that's a way where a developer can go register an API or an endpoint so, it shows up as a building block inside, power apps for, all the non developers, or citizen developers in your company to leverage in their apps as well as in their flows another. Core element is that we have the common data service for apps this. Underpins, the entire platform, this is where Dynamics, 365, natively, stores all of its data it's, also where you can store your business, data that you want to create or you want to use as part, of your custom, business applications. Or even an application, that integrates natively with all your other office applications as, well, and, the common data service for apps is way, more than just a database has, a whole bunch of rich logic, and capabilities, inside of it things, like plugins, which allow you register code in response to events as well, as business rules which is an easy visual, way to create like validation and defaulting, all that's, packaged up in CDs for apps and that's a major area of investment for us going forward another.
So We can actually make sure we govern and manage what's, being built and what's being created additionally. We have new end-to-end. Application lifecycle, management, this. Is one of the topmost ass features, from our customers it's, all about making it easy for say, a large project, that multiple, developers, or, power users, to collaborate on an application or solution, and manage, its release from say test environments, to user acceptance, testing to production you can now do all of that everything. Is what's called solution aware so you can bundle your canvas apps your, flows your data entities, your plugins all that together and, very easily move it between environments, so you can actually have a full, continuous, integration continuous deployment strategy. With power ups just like you would if you were say we're connacher if you used to that as a developer, another. Big element is the ability to bring canvas apps into model driven apps so, if you're a dynamics, admin, or you're familiar with model driven apps that, this is really important because it brings things like the 230, connectors, as well as the on-premise data gateway as well as a pixel perfect design all together, in a single screen you, can use you can generate most of your UI from the data that's what model driven is all about and you can go tog in the canvas app so you can actually have incredibly visually, appealing. Experiences. The. Next wave is all about our SharePoint enhancements. I'm sure there's lots of SharePoint admins in the crowd here and, we've dramatically. Improved the performance of power app twins embed inside of SharePoint we have added a bunch of new capabilities to the connector associated with SharePoint and a new controls, and data awareness, as well as attachments, which was probably the number one requested. Feature and I know if we came back to ignite without this I probably have been forced off the stage so a whole, bunch of big improvements, for SharePoint, and, lastly custom. Controls it's, now very easy for developers to go create a, UI component, which you can go register and. Reuse, that control in your model driven apps to actually get a visual experience specific.
To What your company requires and. Talk. About the admin experiences, there's a new unified management portal, which makes it easy to go look across all the different apps and flows and connectors, and connections and entities and databases use within your company we, also have powerful. Outer box admin analytics, so you can quickly see how much each of those are being used you can go find the apps that are kind of virally grown within your company if you're an IT and take control or even just have an idea if you're getting the return on investment that you expect by enabling power apps within your company and lastly. There's, rich PowerShell. Support so. Now when you're looking at say a thousand, apps or in, your company you don't have to go click through the UI to do attacks and actions you can actually write a PowerShell script to automate it which is the tool that people know. And love in terms of actually managing that type of deployment so, all together these really bring a significant, step forward to, really make power apps have much more potent app creator experiences, as well, as the ability to go manage and administrate, it from a central location now. Turning to Microsoft, flow, flow. Is all about making. It easy to, automate those, work and tasks as well as to standardize the business processes on top of your apps data, and services and. It does this via a visual, creation experience, just, like power apps where you click together based, on triggers or events you can then take a bunch of different actions and this, set of capabilities is a really key compliment to power apps because very frequently apps are all about the experience of end users whereas flow is how you can actually operate and automate in the background and in the backend and if, we go back to the core, points of Microsoft flow just like we talked about from, power apps which, is what informs, our roadmap and vision going forward flow. Flow again just very simply automate, those business processes take, away manual activities, respond. To events without having to have a human in the middle we, also have a great experience around the more advanced capabilities whether, it be things like branching.
Like If-else switch. Statements, or loops like for each or do until are all capabilities. That you would expect from an advanced workflow engine and even though you can start very easily visually. With flow you can actually keep going deeper and deeper to build a very complex, workflow, using, this piece of technology, additionally. It supports the same set of connectors that power apps does over, 230, different connectors whether, they're on premise, or in the cloud you can go integrate, with them and it has the same custom, connector framework so if you actually register a custom connector which, connects your internal line of business systems you can go expose that easily through both power apps and Microsoft. Flow and. Of course just like power apps flow has that strong enterprise, security and also, a great, story for professional, development customization. Whether, it be through logic, or custom connectors, or in the future the ability to go drop in more code snippets right inside the workflow so all these come together really. Drive where, we're investing in the future for flow and, aligns very closely with the other items in the power platform, just like we heard in the case of power apps so, if we go to what flow is actually releasing. In, the imminent future just like we talked about power apps there's three main areas the, first is around improving the the flow maker tools to make it more robust and more capable, the second is deeper, integration, into. All the different technologies and services you already use in your business and the, third is increasing. The enterprise, grade the strength of the platform, so you can truly bet your business on it if, you look at the maker tools we. Can see flow checker just. Like we talked about with the app checker and the solution checker there's also something, that will analyze your flow and make performance, and reliability and. Quality recommendations. Based, on the rules that we've seen operating. A hyper scale worldwide. Service, with Microsoft, flow and instead of having to learn the hard way in production, you can actually use the flow checker as you're, developing the flow or before you go live we. Also have power. Query integration, so people who are familiar with power query from say power bi they're able to actually create rich data experiences, right inside the flow designer where you can mash up data you can collapse that out you can fold it all. Without having to write any code and, this is available right integrating, the flow design experience, between, these two things it's easier than ever to actually have, rich. Data flowing through your flow as well, as the ability to go check it and make sure that you're not, going to run into any issues when you go live, additionally. If you talk about integrated experiences, there's, a more. Robust and a more comprehensive teams integration, the, app now can be installed the team level is at a personal level this, comes with a whole bunch of new actions and commands, as well as the ability to go author and, view your flows right inside of Microsoft teams, whether, it's on the web or, in the desktop client and you, can even use flow to, actually execute commands, and actions, using the power bar in, teams and and this capability, allows, you to actually make use of the 230, different connectors and power apps and flow as a command. Inside, of teams so if you want to go connect to something or take an action in the system but, you can't because, there's not team's integration, for it you can actually go look at using flow or power apps to go extend that a ton. Of great capability, is there in, the case of onedrive for business flow. Also now appears in that list so just like when SharePoint, doc libs you can go in and actually trigger a flow either based on an event like a file appearing, or in response to a user selecting, a file and executing, a flow say. Requesting for approval, or sign-off that now all natively, works in onedrive as well and again these, two things reflect the, increasing, investment, across of Microsoft, on the, power platform, to, be what drives. Customization. And creation, for. Power users and developers alike and this. Is going to be a consistent, theme for us going forward and that if you want to go customize, a Microsoft. You can go look to power apps flow or power bi as a way to go do that and. Lastly we have the enterprise grade platform, so. Just. Like we were talking about in power apps where you can go see what the usage looks like for a power app you can also do that for a flow you, can see how many times it's running an interval how many errors there are whether.
Or Not a user is accessed, it recently who, the owner is all that information, is exposed. Easily. To admins and it makes it incredibly important. When you think about flows that end up becoming mission-critical. That maybe weren't originally mission-critical. And. This ability is what allows flow to allow. And empower, your entire employee base you'll create a bunch of automations, while, at the same time maintaining control in. The same application, lifecycle management, that we talked about with power apps where you can actually take all these different components of your solution together from, the data to the logic, to the UI to the workflow you. Can also include Microsoft, flows inside. That same solution so, you can actually move them together with power apps and they all natively integrate, from top to bottom and. Again this is really important because if we think about say, dynamics, which. Has a really hard need for application, lifecycle management, you. Can start to move your, asynchronous. Workflows to use flow because it integrates with the same ALM system but brings with it a more, modern stock higher scalability, in over 230, different connectors and lastly. Across, both flow Empire apps we have announced, support for the government cloud is coming, later this year so you'll be able to host in the dot-gov domain, in a fully managed and compliant way and this is a great complement, to all the thirteen different certifications. We already have for power ups and flow which make it ready to be used in all kinds of mission-critical. Or highly regulated industries, and situations, which. Again go back to the enterprise great you don't have to check over your shoulder when you're using these tools as, your citizen developers nurses and creators and these, things all together really reflect not only where we are from. A product perspective from. Where we're investing what we care about but, also we're going to keep investing going forward we're going to invest in more diagnostics, more guidance, tools like the checkers we're, going to keep investing in more professional power. User scenarios, so you can graduate, from an app with five people working on to a hundred people working on it that's, where the platform is heading in the future. And to do a good, demonstration. Of that the. Best way is usually actually just to look at the thing so. I'm going to switch over to a phone over here. Let's. See which. Graph, I got the right phone so, earlier. Keith talked about the scenario he was working on with. His power app where they actually had the repair runners these are people who go out to the buses and will repair them when, they break down but they'll repair them on the route and that's, a really important, detail because, you don't want to go take the bus back to the depot and take it offline for multiple. Hours this, is really important to have a great customer experience, and before. That was all pen and paper that was phone calls text, messages emails, with Excel files things like that that's how you actually manage the process but, with power apps he was able to build a powerful mobile application, that managed the entire business process so, this first screen what we're looking at here the gray box is the, currently, pending repair, and the, white the right section below which I'm scrolling through right now is previously.
Completed, Repairs the. Gray box is highly, on the top and you can actually see there's some tight integration there around lea bridge Clapton, pond things like that those, are actually the next stops for the bus and this, is important, because the repair, runner if the bus is still operating, they don't want to stop the bus they, actually want to go meet it at the next stop and repair it there so, they can easily pull up that information and that's actually done by coming from traffic for London and a bunch of other data sources to go pull that information so say if I click through into, this pending repair we can see there's all kinds of great information here around what, is the license plate of the bus I'm going to repair what route is it running think, of what what is the next stop where I should be trying to meet it things like that and I can actually go fill out the information right in here about what's wrong so in this case say the defect, category, I want to say is body damaged and I can say there's a big dent something. Like that and. I can say hey I'm going to repair. This thing and as, part of that I'm gonna take a picture and. I'll take a picture of you guys. Great. Crowd. And, then. I can take another picture you can take a bunch of different pictures crowd - the idea, being that before. With, pen and paper or. Things like that you actually would have to do a whole bunch of. Just as impossible there's no way to take a picture with pen and paper unless you're gonna go sketch it out but, you can now do that with power apps you can actually leverage, those device capabilities, natively. We also have a map which, as I complete the repair, records, where I was so, I don't actually have to enter what stop or what location I actually did the repair and I can also say use a barcode scanner so. Say if I want to say what. Parrot, item did I actually drop in there it'll. Look it up based on the barcode which is have here on a piece of paper and. It'll, say okay I don't know what there's a fuel filter or something if I want to go drop it in this are matically can be taken, out of inventory and things like that which makes it very easy for me to track all this information, together and power. Apps brings together all these different data sources something, like ten different data sources into a single mobile experience, which they can take with them in their pocket with their own devices, and this is built by.
A Non developer, that, that's what was so special about it someone actually from the business and if, I go and say I click-through repair history I can actually go see all the repairs trees associate, with this particular bus as well because, if I go check here and hey we fixed the brakes five times in the last week maybe, it is time to take it to the bus depot maybe, we actually go in for a bigger repair all this information, kind of can click through and actually go look okay this is what was fixed before just, an incredibly rich experience, end to end many different screens and not that hard to build and to. Prove it will actually go build it so. I'll switch over to the computer. Okay. There. We go so, what we're looking at here is power app studio it's. Just like PowerPoint and that's very easy for, you to actually go off there what you want your application to collect visually we can see on the left hand side we have a whole bunch of different screens just like you would see slides in PowerPoint we, can see in the center area right here this. Is actually the screen that we were just looking at on the app and that's what's incredibly, powerful, about power APS's as you, build the app you're actually looking at the app run itself, with real data with real logic evaluating, this, makes an incredibly, productive to go build fairly complex applications, so, say if I switch over to a view I like to use more. Frequently we, can see I have, a gallery here this is just a collection of different things and these are the repair items I've actually done before and we can see the items is a fairly complex expression, up here but, it's actually not that complex, it's basically just pulling down all the pending repair requests, that. Have a repair, information already, recorded which means it's done or, been completed, and showing, it right here in this display and the way I bound that data is just right inside this simple experience where I can go choose a data source I've chosen the common data service because, that's where I actually choose to store my information, in the case of this power app I also, have the ability to go change my fuel layout it's pretty easy right here you can see all the different information being, pulled out and displayed right in that simple grid so, that that's just a very easy snap.
It Together type experience, and you can go tinker, with different elements inside that gallery to make a little more complex and if, I go up here I actually have a different piece. Of information which is the gallery of pending, requests, that's what's in this gray box and it has a similar expression up here which. Is basically saying hey I want to take from the repair request table in the common data service I'm going, to do a filter based on the fact that there's, been no repair action taken I want, to sort by the ones that are most recently done that's, what sort by does and take the first five so, a very very easy way to snap these things together on these screens but that that's not super interesting necessarily, right just to go review the different information what. I may want to go do is actually, take an action so. If I say click through into one, of these repair items so when I'm actually on-site, looking, at an item that I'm repairing I want to have that same type of rich information automatically. Bound so, you can see I have an edit form which, is actually allowing me to edit that same repair request entity, right, inside the context, of, the of the application, without having to go leave it or anything like that and again, it's pulling the schema, and feels, automatically, from the common data service so I can very easily edit. That particular record or go create new records if I need to and, there's a whole bunch of other great device capabilities, down here like taking a photo taking, the bar code things like that and. The one thing I do want to call out while I'm on the screen is the data sources so. Power apps like we're talking about one of the key things having, tons of connectors you have over 230, connectors, today we're going to keep building connectors, until we have basically the whole world covered, but. This power app alone uses. Four different entities in the common data service uses a Transport, for London API, uses, as your blob storage uses, Bing Maps, speech-to-text. All kinds, of different capabilities just. All integrated again without having to write, you can if you think about what you could build this entire app in just a day it, would take you a day to figure out on Takei Shinto those many services, so, even if you come from a developer background there's a lot of agility and speed available for you and if you come from a non developer background it would just be impossible otherwise, so. If I go over here and say I want to go out on one last, screen remember the, the. Repair history screen we, can actually go drop that on right here so say I just drop, on a gallery, which. Is just again that collection a list of items so that I'll drop that on right there and if. I drag this down I can then bind to the data source so this is just a simple list it's a bunch of place a little text right now if. I want to I can go to add data source this, is going to pull up all the different data sources that are inside, of this particular, app and maybe I want to create a new connection if, I look this is these are all the connectors just tons and tons and tons of them all. Available out of the Shelf off the shelf I don't want to use that actually I'm gonna use a data, source of already configure which is a repair history item so, I'll come here and say repair of requests, this, will go pull down that information not very beautiful at first right that's, not a big problem I can, then say from, a layout I don't want image title and subtitle I actually, want title subtitle and body that's, just three text fields and still not really pretty but it's very easy for me to say drop in here choose a title I can say hey what what, cat whatever I do I want to defect category, label and, see that's brakes brakes engine air system things like that automatically, binds just refresh is in real time don't.
Have To compile don't have to publish anything like that I think, an go to the subtitle, I like created on so I'll keep that I can then go to the body and for, body maybe, I want to defect details because that probably makes more sense right like brake safety light coming on alright that could be an example of what the what that looks like and if I click through in here maybe, I don't want the Chevron. So. Just very easily click, click click bringing a sync together and if you think, about it maybe I want to actually hey I want the rows a little bit bigger so. I'll. Drag this bigger you can see it gets bigger so on and then maybe I want to drop on like. An image so I'll drop on an image right here I, got. No image right now that's defined but I'll choose some simple so, maybe I'll do what. Image do I want I'll, do something like if, the. Defect. Category, label. Is equal, to. Brakes. I, want. To use. This. Arriva one that. I have. Break. Down otherwise. I want to use sample image and if you think about this just very easy Excel like expression, language I'm able to do basic logic right in the power app and again the logic just evaluates, immediately, I can quickly see this image comes up so in the cases where the value is breaks, up. There for the label I can, actually see that we have this. Triangle. Icon and where it's not I have a sample image and I just, for, time sake, I won't actually go create all the different images but you can see how easy it starts to get really to create this this, app so I can come up here say and also maybe, increase the size of. The of this of the particular, label I have all kinds of different capabilities that, I can do very, very easily right inside the power apps context, and if you think if you fast forward kind of like the Easy, Bake Oven what comes out in the end maybe it looks something like this a little bit nicer if, you have a few more minutes, but. The, one thing I do want to call out before I leave the power app studio is the. App checker we talked about this this is now available, and it's getting better every day of additional, logic that's right up here this little stethoscope, there, to go help you in your app and if you see the app checker is run and that's identified one issue with my formula and 83. Issues with accessibility so, say screen readers to work on my app so I got a lot of work to do if. I click on the formula, we, can see hey we have a delegation warning, and. What this is basically telling me is this particular, filter I've written this, doesn't happen on the server it actually happens on the client and we, have a whole great article explaining delegation, if you go look it up after seeing this error and. This can tell you that you need to go change your filter or potentially. Change how you do you're down a layout because if you don't when, you actually end up a lot of data on the back end your app is gonna start running dreadfully, slow so these, types of things we can go catch during authoring, time automatically, by intelligently, providing, guidance. So. That that's the app studio the, one other thing I want to quickly show is flow, so, if we go, back to the app there's a little, button here which is take, 24-hour offline, we, see right here and you do that when something, is horribly broken with the bus you just can't fix it on the side of the road you gotta bring it back to the depot and that's something that should be used only as a last resort, and to make sure that's the case you. Can actually use Microsoft Flo and what. The flow does is it looks and says when, the when there's an update, inside, the repair requests, entity. Which is where we're storing that information and we're.
Updating The request 24-hour sheet field so, we're scoping, this flow to only rum and that field changes, which is a brand new preview capability, I then, actually want to run this, particular workflow. You can see hey if it hasn't changed so it's true that's great and I actually want to start an approval process and, the, approval process is gonna generate an email and track who actually has approved this request, all. With, the same context, that came out of the common data service and that's done by something called dynamic, content, so you see these little tokens that are inside the designer the email, for this approval, will actually include this information hey, there's a request for 24-hour repair for, this route at this, station and that actually comes all the way up from the trigger so, really tight integration just, like power apps you can flow all kinds of information in this, case there's, another condition so we have conditions and conditions and conditions to kind of keep going all the way you want and we say hey if the approval, is approved, then. I want to send an email letting the manager know. With. The same contact using the same dynamic content and I also want send a push notification to. The PERT to tech who actually requested, it and this way you can just have that very quick feedback loop through, the mobile experience, and. If you reject it you actually want to go back to kamidana service and mark it as no saying this is not a good reason so they look back on their phone it will say 24-hour, requests. It'll actually show no and, that's what we're doing right here about requesting in 24 hours sheet saying, no so this, whole end-to-end, flow can be automated without, having to have humans, being involved via email or text or anything else like that very, very standardized, and for the person doing the approval they'll actually see a tile like this in addition to an email and various other sources which they can click on and say hey yes. The, bus needs repairs they, can just do this very easy experience and this is actually capturing the comment out of service and. Will show up later on in terms, of the history of the approval and things like that so. With. That we've, kind of gotten a whirlwind, tour of a, real mobile app they'll buy a real customer, that. Actually, goes and, pulls. Information from. The common data service and from a bunch of different connectors.
And This, makes, an incredibly powerful for. People like Keith to go build rich, experiences. And really transform the business and deliver, tons of great value without having to write huge amounts of code and. That kind of goes back to that overarching, guide, and principles, around power absent flow of being, about no, code to low code simple, to more complex you can do it all with that same platform with professional, developer extensibility. You.