PowerApps and Microsoft Flow target – part 2

In my previous article, I’ve introduced the most important features of PowerApps and Microsoft Flow platforms, basing on examples of three different organizations. In this part, I will present who these platforms are addressed to. Moreover, I will also explain what are the reasons for the growing popularity of Microsoft Low-Code platforms. Let’s start with the basic question.

Who can build solutions in PowerApps and Microsoft Flow?

Ever since these platforms have appeared on the market, they tend to be described as Low-Code or even No-Code platforms. There is no full accordance regarding its naming. Similarly, there is no agreement whether all people or only technical persons can work on the platforms mentioned above. Do people outside of IT as sellers, traders and managers can benefit from these platforms? To answer these questions I will discuss 2 issues:

  • Is PowerPlatform a No-Code platform?
  • Is PowerPlatform for everyone?

There is no No-Code

By definition, No-Code concept does not require writing ANY code. The whole process of building the solution is based on the use of a special wizard where it can be built using the drag-n-drop method. It would imply that the above-mentioned tools are so simple that ANYONE could use them to build solutions. In this case, the application developer does not even have to be a programmer. Then such a person starts using one of the platforms mentioned and surprisingly it turns out that:

  • platforms use a specific function language with syntax
  • they have IF condition blocks
  • they have loops
  • they use the concept of variables and collections.

For those of you who first time see above items, I’ll explain – these are universal concepts that characterize all programming languages. Below a conclusion of one of my favorite influencers, Jon Levesque:

PowerApps and Microsoft Flow are not a No-Code platforms.

DISCLAIMER:
Of course, I do not mean that Microsoft does not have any No-Code platforms. They have quite a lot of them, and in order to not looking far enough, I’ll give an example of Microsoft Forms (an interesting review of this platform was written by Tomasz Poszytek on his blog). But certainly, PowerApps and Microsoft Flow do not belong to them.

Now let’s deal with the second, hotter issue, whether anyone can create solutions on these platforms.

ANYONE can’t do programming

Since we already know that PowerApps and Microsoft Flow are not No-Code platforms, can we still recommend them to everyone? I intentionally used the word ‘programming’ rather than ‘coding’ in the headline . To build solutions, you do not have to write code, but still you use programming skills. It is enough to build a solution based on the fact that it is:

  • a repetitive process (not necessarily a business one)
  • based on the capabilities of a specific platform or platforms
  • implements a repetitive sequence of cause-and-effect events
  • a complete solution carries the marks of uniqueness (ie not the functionality out-of-the-box platform)
  • (probably you could add something more, but it’s enough for my needs).

In this perspective, even No-Code platforms require programming skills. Both Microsoft Forms, SharePoint, MailChimp and WordPress etc. need a certain degree of understanding of knowledge (often technical) and learning about the capabilities of platforms. I would like to put a special emphasis on “UNDERSTAND”, because this is often an overlooked aspect. Please note that with increasing complexity of solutions increases the likelihood of errors. And then the skill of the so-called debugging, the process of finding and repairing errors, will be needed. Unless you want to run every time to your IT department with a request such as “DO NOT WORK HERE! REPAIR!” … but I guess it’s not that the whole idea of No-Code / Low-Code platforms. I will not mention that sometimes much more sophisticated skills, such as reverse engineering, are also useful.

To illustrate the issue even better, let’s look at what Bob Reselman, a programmer, architect and journalist with many years of experience says about it, in one of his articles:

For example, imagine using a low-code visual composer to bind data from a poorly written SQL query to a UI. All should work fine, right? That’s the promise. Everything should be peachy keen, except that the app is slow as molasses in February. Why is it so slow? DB? UI code? The network?

Most likely, the low-code software developer won’t know. He was not hired to know. He was hired to drag and drop components to create business forms, not to do data performance debugging.

TechTarget, Bob Reselman

And although I do not agree with everything that Bob wrote in the whole article, this piece has some truth in it. Low-code software developers are not software developers. But all in all … is not that just the point? Because…

Not everyone can create solutions based on the Low-Code platform, but definitely more people can do it than just developers.

Did you wonder why the ideas of Citizen Developers (programmers of Low-Code platforms) and the possibility of easy building solutions are propagated so intensely? It seems to me that there are 2 reasons for this.

1. CREATING IT SOLUTIONS IS EXPENSIVE

I have already written about the problems on the developers’ market in my article ‘What are Low-Code platforms‘. Huge staff shortages (it is estimated that in 2020 there will be a shortage of 500,000-600,000 programmers on the European market), which means that developers, as befits luxury goods, have a high price. Implementation of IT solutions is often an extremely expensive undertaking (requirements analysis, architecture, infrastructure, licenses, programmer’s hour of work, adoption, maintenance, etc.). To make matters worse, the work of programmers is not effective, because they repeatedly implement the same parts of the application (login layer, permissions, data link layer, etc.). This raises the following conclusions:

  1. Developers need relief in simple tasks. More vividly, to replace a wheel in a car, you do not need rocket engineer services.
  2. Ideally, if we would only once create a given functionality. Do not reinvent the wheel. Let us use parts of solutions repeatedly.

And with this in mind, Low-Code platforms were built. In particular, PowerApps and Microsoft Flow emphasize the following:

  • maximum coverage of repetitive parts of the application (login layer, permissions, data link layer, etc.)
  • integration support by using a wide range of “connectors” (not only for Microsoft platforms)
  • extensibility (the ability to build your own connectors based on generally accepted IT standards)

2. IT KNOWS IT ON

When in 2018 along with a friend for almost a year we were conducting a start-up after hours, life gave us a valuable lesson. We had an idea for solving a problem of the HR industry, and more specifically for career counseling. It seemed to us that we had everything to get from the so-called side-hustle to build a real value wrapped in a scalable product:

  • We had an idea of what effect we want to achieve
  • We had technologies: me and my colleague worked in IT, programming and machine learning algorithms were not a problem for us.

Our plan was to obtain funding, but investors’ doors still did not want to accept us. When finally came time for reflection, we understood what was missing. Technical skills and the target effect are not everything. You still need to know HOW. In our case, there was no specialization in the field of career counseling – we did not have a person who would be able to develop an appropriate psychometric test and interpret its results.

Many companies have a similar problem. They have IT that can implement everything but does not know what. They also have non-IT departments who know what they need, but they do not know how. It is enough to combine both, right? Exactly – and then suddenly it turns out that IT is expensive (see the previous paragraph).

Screen from  http://www.fressadi.com/blog/the-art-of-building/design/what-the-client-wanted/
Screen from http://www.fressadi.com/blog/the-art-of-building/design/what-the-client-wanted/

SUMMARY

The whole concept of Low-Code platforms in the PowerApps and Microsoft Flow area is designed to solve the issue of high costs of IT projects and to eliminate problems resulting from narrow specialization.

Microsoft’s Low-Code platforms reduce the costs generated by IT solutions and support the interdisciplinary work environment.

Thanks to PowerApps and Microsoft Flow, non-IT people who have technical skills (a necessary condition!) can easily show and even build what they need. On the other hand, developers and administrators can support them in more difficult areas, help in integration and even expand the capabilities of platforms (through Custom Connectors).

PowerApps and Microsoft Flow developers = Low-code developers = Citizen Developers
PowerApps and Microsoft Flow developers = Low-code developers = Citizen Developers

You’ll be surprized at how many people outside of IT in your organization are doing great with technical topics. All you have to do is help them get started.

It’s all in this part. In my next article I will discuss issues related to the security of PowerApps and Microsoft Flow solutions.

Stay tuned!

Target dla PowerApps i Microsoft Flow cz.2

W moim poprzednim artykule pokazałem na przykładzie 3ech różnych organizacji najwazniejsze cechy platform PowerApps i Microsoft Flow. W tej części wytłumaczę Ci do kogo kierowane są te platformy. Objaśnię także jakie są moim zdaniem przyczyny rosnącej popularności platform Low-Code Microsoft. Zacznijmy więc od podstawowego pytania.

Kto może budować rozwiązania w PowerApps i Microsoft Flow?

Od kiedy tylko tytułowe platformy pojawiły się na rynku, mówi się że są one platformami typu Low-Code, a nawet No-Code. Tutaj nie ma pełnej zgodności. Tak samo nie ma zgodności czy z w/w platform mogą korzystać wszyscy czy tylko osoby techniczne. Czy osoby spoza IT jak sprzedawcy, handlowcy i managerzy mogą czerpać korzyści z tych platform? Aby odpowiedź na te pytania omówię 2 kwestie:

  • Czy PowerPlatform jest platformą typu no-code?
  • Czy PowerPlatform jest dla każdego?

There is no No-Code

No-Code, to pojęcie zgodnie z którym narzędzie nie wymaga pisania ŻADNEGO kodu. Cały proces budowania rozwiązania opiera się o korzystanie ze specjalnego kreatora w którym za pomocą metody drag-n-drop można zbudować rozwiązanie. To miało implikować, że w/w narzędzia są tak proste, że KAŻDY może z nich korzystać do budowania rozwiązań. Wystarczy, że chce – twórca aplikacji nie musi być nawet programistą. Wówczas taka osoba uruchamia którąś z wymienionych platform i ku zdumieniu okazuje się, że:

  • platformy korzystają ze specjalnego języka funkcyjnego posiadającego składnię
  • posiadają bloki warunkowe IF
  • posiadają pętle
  • wykorzystują koncepcję zmiennych oraz kolekcji

Dla tych z Was którzy pierwszy raz widzą na oczy powyższe pozycje wyjaśniam – są to uniwersalne pojęcia cechujące wszystkie języki programowania. Trafnie ujął to swego czasu jedej z moich ulubionych influencerów – Jon Levesque

PowerApps i Microsoft Flow to nie są platformy No-Code. Kropka.

DISCLAIMER:
Oczywiście nie chodzi mi o to, że Microsoft nie posiada platform No-Code. Ma ich całkiem sporo, a żeby nie szukać daleko wystarczy podać za przykład Microsoft Forms (ciekawe review tej platformy napisał swego czasu Tomasz Poszytek na swoim blogu). Ale z pewnością PowerApps jak i Microsoft Flow do nich nie należą.

Teraz zajmijmy się drugą, znaczniej bardziej gorąco kwestią czyli czy każdy może tworzyć roziwązania na tych platformach.

ANYONE can’t do programming

Skoro już wiemy, że PowerApps jak i Microsoft Flow nie są platformami typu No-Code, to czy nadal możemy je polecić każdemu? Nie przypadkowo w nagłówku celowo użyłem słowo “programowanie” a nie “kodowanie”. Żeby budować rozwiązania wcale nie trzeba pisać kod, aby wciąż korzystać z umiejętności programowania. Wystarczy, że buduje się rozwiązanie w oparciu o to, że jest ono:

  • reprezentacją powtarzalnego procesu (niekoniecznie biznesowego)
  • oparte o możliwości określonej platformy lub platform
  • implementuje powtarzalny ciąg zdarzeń przyczynowo-skutkowych
  • kompletne rozwiązanie niesie znamiona unikalności (czyli nie jest funkcjonalnością out-of-the-box platformy)
  • (pewnie jeszcze można by coś dodać, ale na moje potrzeby to wystarczy)

W tym ujęciu nawet platformy No-Code wymagają umiejętności programowania. Zarówno Microsoft Forms, SharePoint, MailChimp jak i WordPress itp. do budowania na nich rozwiązań potrzebują pewnego stopnia zrozumienia wiedzy (nierzadko technicznej) i poznania możliwości platform. Szczególny nacisk chciałbym położyć na “ZROZUMIEĆ”, bo to często pomijany aspekt. Należy pamiętać, że wraz ze wzrostem złożoności rozwiązania rośnie prawdopodobieństwo wystąpienia błędów. A wtedy obowiązkowa będzie umiejętnośc tzw. debugowania czyli procesu odnajdywania i naprawiania błędu. Chyba, że chce się co chwila biec do swojego działu IT z prośbą typu: “TU NIE DZIAŁA! NAPRAW!”…ale chyba nie o to chodzi w całej idei No-Code/Low-Code paltforms. Nie wspomnę o tym że czasami także przydają się znacznie bardziej wyrafinowane umiejętność jak np inżynieria wsteczna.

Żeby zobrazować jeszcze lepiej opisywaną przeze mnie kwestię spójrzmy jak na ten temat wypowiada się Bob Reselman, programista, architekt i dziennikarz z wieloletnim stażem, w jednym ze swoich artykułów:

For example, imagine using a low-code visual composer to bind data from a poorly written SQL query to a UI. All should work fine, right? That’s the promise. Everything should be peachy keen, except that the app is slow as molasses in February. Why is it so slow? DB? UI code? The network?

Most likely, the low-code software developer won’t know. He was not hired to know. He was hired to drag and drop components to create business forms, not to do data performance debugging.

TechTarget, Bob Reselman

I choć nie zgadzam się ze wszystkim o czym pisał Bob w całym artykule, to ten fragment ma w sobie trochę prawdy. Low-code software developers, to nie software developers. Ale w sumie…czy nie o to właśnie chodzi? Bo…

Tworzyć rozwiązania w oparciu o platformy Low-Code nie może każdy, ale zdecydowanie może więcej osób niż tylko programiści.

Czy zastanawiałęś się czemu tak instensywnie propaguje się idee Citizen Developers (programistów platform Low-Code) i możliwość łatwego budowania rozwiązań? Wydaje mi się, że są 2 powody takiej sytuacji.

1. Tworzenie rozwiązań IT jest drogie

O kwestii problemów na rynku programistów pisałem już w swoim artykule poświęconemu zagadnieniu “Czym są platformy Low-Code“. Ogromne braki kadrowe (dla przypomnienia szacuje się, że w 2020 na rynku europejskim będzie brakować 500.000-600.000 programistów) powodują, że programiści, jak przystało na “towar” luksusowy, mają wysoką cenę. Wdrożenie rozwiązań IT to często niezwykle drogie przedsięwzięcia (analiza wymagań, architektura, infrastruktura, licencje, godzina pracy programisty, adopcja, utrzymanie itp itd). Na domiar złego często praca programistów nie jest efektywna, bo wielokrotnie implementują oni te same fragmenty aplikacji (warstwa logowania, uprawnienia, warstwa łącza danych itd). To rodzi następujące wnioski:

  1. Programiści potrzebują odciążenia w prostszych zadaniach. Mówiąc bardziej obrazowo do wymiany koła w samochodzie nie potrzebujesz usług inżyniera rakietowego
  2. Idealnie by było, gdyby tylko raz tworzyć daną funkcjonalność. Nie wymyślajmy koła na nowo. Korzystajmy wielokrotnie z powtarzalnych części rozwiązań.

I z tą myślą zbudowane zostały platformy Low-Code. W szczególności w PowerApps i Microsoft Flow jest kładziony nacisk na:

  • maksymalne pokrycie powtarzalnych fragmentów aplikacji (warstwa logowania, uprawnienia, warstwa łącza danych itd)
  • wsparcie integracji za pomocą szerokiej gamy “connectorów”(nie tylko do platform Microsoft)
  • rozszerzalność (możliwość budowania własnych connectorów bazujących na ogólnie przyjętych w IT standardach)

2. IT zna się na IT

Gdy w 2018 roku wraz z koleżanką przez prawie rok po godzinach prowadziliśmy start-up życie dało nam cenną lekcję. Mieliśmy pomysł dotyczący rozwiązania pewnego problemu branży HR, a dokładniej doradztwa zawodowego. Wydawało nam się, że mieliśmy wszystko by z tzw. side-hustle zbudować realną wartość opakowaną w skalowalny produkt:

  • Mieliśmy pomysł jaki efekt chcemy uzyskać
  • Mieliśmy technologie: ja i koleżanka pracowaliśmy w IT, programowanie i algorytmy uczenia maszynowego nie stanowiły dla nas problemu

Chcieliśmy pozyskać dofinansowanie, ale drzwi inwestorów wciąż nie chciały nas przyjąć. Gdy w końcu przyszedł czas na refleksje zrozumieliśmy czego nam brakowało. Umiejętności techniczne i docelowy efekt to nie wszystko. Trzeba jeszcze wiedzieć JAK. W naszym przypadku zabrakło specjalizacji z zakresu doradztwa zawodowego – nie mieliśmy osoby która byłaby w stanie opracować odpowiedni test psychometryczny oraz zinterpretować jego wyniki.

Podobny problem posiada wiele firm. Mają IT, które umie wdrożyć wszystko, ale nie wie co. Mają też działy nie-IT, które wiedzą co potrzebują, ale nie wiedzą jak. Wystarczy więc połączyć jednych i drugich, prawda? Dokładnie – i wtedy nagle okazuje się, że IT jest drogie (patrz poprzedni akapit).

Screen from  http://www.fressadi.com/blog/the-art-of-building/design/what-the-client-wanted/
Screen from http://www.fressadi.com/blog/the-art-of-building/design/what-the-client-wanted/

PODSUMOWANIE

Cała koncepcja platform Low-Code w wydaniu PowerApps i Microsoft Flow ma za zadanie rozwiązać kwestię wysokich kosztów projektów IT oraz niwelować problemy wynikające z wąskiej specjalizacji.

Platformy Low-Code Microsoft zmniejszają koszty generowane przez rozwiązania IT i wspierają interdyscyplinarne środowisko pracy

Dzięki PowerApps i Microsoft Flow osoby nie-IT mające jednak zdolności techniczne (warunek konieczny!) mogą w łatwy sposób pokazać, a nawet zbudować to co potrzebują. Z drugiej strony programiści i administratorzy mogą wspierać je w trudniejszych fragmentach, pomagać w integracji a nawet rozszerzać możliwości platform (poprzez Custom Connectory).

PowerApps and Microsoft Flow developers = Low-code developers = Citizen Developers
PowerApps and Microsoft Flow developers = Low-code developers = Citizen Developers

Zdziwisz się jak wiele osób spoza IT w Twojej organizacji świetnie radzi sobie z tematami technicznymi. Wystarczy tylko im pomóc zacząć.

To wszystko w tej części. W moim następnym artykule omówię kwestie związane z bezpieczeństwem rozwiązań PowerApps i Microsoft Flow.

Stay tuned!

PowerApps and Microsoft Flow target – part 1

In this article, you will understand the context for PowerApps and Microsoft Flow. You will learn examples of implementations and whether those platforms are safe. You will also find out what are the advantages and disadvantages of the solutions built based on them. Finally, I will present you with a simple set of rules: When to use the PowerApps and Microsoft Flow applications, and when to not.

Disclaimer: it will be honest.

This article is also available in Polish 🇵🇱

Understand PowerApps i Microsoft Flow

Two weeks ago I published an article about what the Low-Code platform is and when you may need it. In the mentioned article, apart from the title issue, I briefly outlined what the purpose of the Low-Code platforms is and what the future is waiting for. The article went to the group Microsoft 365 User Group Poland, and there a very interesting discussion was initiated by Nataniel “nExoR” Zieliński.

nice article, I understand your approach as a fanboy … but personally I think it’s a small niche (I’m talking now about flow + PA) due to the performance of solutions, gruesome debugging and quite a lack of control over the entire process, depending on the connectors, and mass of intermediate elements. imho for a long time it will be only for small, frontend solutions, support processes or hobby applications. A bit like Access or even Excel instead of a normal database. which ‘biggest’ application did you have the opportunity to see? And out of curiosity – what is your opinion on the possibility of writing such a Low-Code application in the finance or security sector? (…)
For a long time I have been wondering what is the target for flow + PA. (…) On the one hand, there are simple templates for some end-user automation, on the other hand are connectors for serious systems that can be hurt in production systems. if I imagine an end-user who tries to connect the service logic and hooks to databases, CRM systems or something … I see the problems right away. I know how much time I sometimes take to write an IFa and add to this error service that I would not accidentally hurt myself … and here is such a powerful tool open to everyone and * giving the impression * of a simple. honestly – I have a serious problem if clients should be advised to take a flow license or not, because what end-user is, everyone knows. On the other hand, the tool is too weak (ok, I have little experience, only subjective assessment) for ‘serious’ use.

Nataniel “nExoR” Zieliński

First of all – nExoR, thank you very much for the extremely interesting perspective. Seriously. If the technologies were built by enthusiasts themselves, such as me, we might have ended up surrounded by insecure technologies. Only different views give the “upper light”. It allows everyone to get a full picture of the technology / solution / name it as you like. And in this context, your comment was like a bucket of cold water – as enthusiasts we haven’t had enough clear and honest communication.

PowerApps and Flow explained

A few issues have been raised, which I have grouped and I’m going to discuss as follows:

  • Examples of PowerApps and Microsoft Flow implementations
  • Who can build solutions in PowerApps and Microsoft Flow
  • Security in PowerApps and Microsoft Flow
  • When to use and when to use PowerApps and Microsoft Flow

Examples of implementations

As I mentioned in my previous post, the Low-Code platforms from the Microsoft stable bring measurable benefits to companies:

1. 70% less application development cost and effort
2. 362% return on investment over 3-year term
3. <3 months payback

Data from “The Total Economic Impact of PowerApps and Microsoft Flow” published by Forrester Consulting in June 2018(source)

In fact, there is no citation of actual implementations. Something that appeals to the imagination and shows that “actually you can”. Will PowerApps and Microsoft Flow prove themselves in solutions for really large clients? Are they suitable for solutions with greater responsibility than the “application for scanning business cards“? Let’s look at three examples.

Story logo

The first example is Virgin Atlantic. VA is an aviation company with over 10,000 employees. Manuela Pichler, Business Systems Development Manager and Microsoft MVP have already implemented several PowerApps solutions in VA. One of them is an application supporting engineers during the security audit of machines (more about the solution). The target group is modest and affects about 100 people, but it’s perfect for my needs (VA also has applications used by the entire organization).

Story image 4
Source
Story logo

Another example is the AutoGlass company dealing with the repair and replacement of car windows. Thanks to Martin Lee, the company currently has over 40 applications implemented in production (other sources already provide more than 50) and are used by over 3,000 people! (read more about the solution)

Story image 3
Source

One of the largest banks in the financial sector has built an application targeted at over several thousand sellers and managers responsible for customer relations. The application was to verify the actions taken by the user in terms of the legislative law prevailing in the area. The app currently operates in more than 10 countries.

REAL Support for the business

As you can see in the above examples, we have 3 different companies operating in 3h different industries and in each of them the use of PowerApps is different:

  • What distinguished VA was undoubtedly the fact that PowerApps were used in areas related to security or a critical factor in the aviation industry.
  • In AutoGlass, it was a scale: 40 applications and over 3000 users, an absolutely amazing result.
  • The last of the examples was characterized by a specific industry which is the banking sector (in this place, you must forgive me that all is shrouded in secrecy, but I’m sure Microsoft will soon send official information on this subject. I do not want to do this by myself)

The above examples prove that, however, PowerApps and Microsoft Flow can really support business. The following thing should be noted here: PowerApps and Flow are not solutions in themselves. What does it mean? What are they?

1. Integration

The purpose of PowerApps in the above examples was mainly to collect data from users and send them to another site (or database). For this purpose, standards such as HTTP protocol, REST API and data format in JSON are used. They are supported by each newly created SaaS service (if it allows integration). And that’s what it’s about building solutions with PowerApps and Microsoft Flow – for integration based on generally accepted and trusted standards! PA and MS Flow are not used to replace specialized applications f.e.: Azure, Microsoft Teams, LinkedIn, WordPress, Magento, Mailchimp, Clickfunnels, Leadpages, Jira, Github to name a few. In the same way you shouldn’t try to use PA and MS FLow for integration with protocols like SIP or POSNET.

In building PowerApps and Microsoft Flow solutions, it’s about integration different services based on generally accepted standards

2. Scale over complexity

The applications themselves did not carry out operations with high risk of error and with high computation cost. They were displaying or collecting data and sending it on – little can go wrong here. These are universal platforms for communication with the user and automation of business processes.

To use a simple analogy, imagine that a company is a human. The brains of such a “man” are his employees. Then PowerApps would be his senses: eyes, hearing and voice. These senses receive signals or allow them to be verbalised. MS Flow, in turn, would be a nervous system: it sends signals between the decision center (brain) and specialized units (muscles, organs, receptors). Human eyes do not interpret what they see, and the mouth is not to plan what to say. The brain deals with all this. He makes decisions. Following this analogy, PowerApps in the company is not used to process the collected data – its only task is to collect this data or display it.

But let’s leave the analogies on the side and let’s get back to the main topic – what is PowerApps for? PowerApps works well in applications, where it’s not about complexity as such but about saving time on frequent need. Build 10 forms, each with other fields, and the scrolling list of results can be not only in PowerApps, but also using C #, JavaScript or PowerShell. But thanks to the use of PowerApps, you save time needed to build something very similar once again. This feature does not diminish the efficiency of the platform – I can bet that 80% of processes in all companies are very similar simple cases only differing in a few names, field types and application design. In fact, Facebook, Twitter or LinkedIn could be built on the same platform. What distinguishes them is mainly destiny (enforced by rules such as short messages on Twitter), not the engine that runs them. Of course Facebook is far more advanced than any PowerPlatform solution but I’m sure you know what I mean.

The effectiveness of PowerApps and Microsoft Flow results from time savings on creating solutions

Conclusion

Low-Code platforms, in particular PowerApps and Microsoft Flow, are used to:

  1. Integration
  2. Time savings

And that’s how much in the first part. And in the next part you will learn who can and should build solutions in PowerApps and Microsoft Flow. Is anyone or maybe just programmers? Is the use of Low-Code platforms free of charge or is it a compromise?

STAY TUNED!

(Featured Image taken from http://pngimg.com)

Overview of Microsoft Build 2019

In this article I’ll put short glimpse of what has been announced on Microsoft Build 2019 conference.

flow PowerApps

  • Develop custom components for PowerApps

    This is going to be a big thing for PowerApps. From now on PowerApps apps can have embedded custom controls that have been built using code. Currently only model-driven apps are supported but canvas apps are on the roadmap!

  • Solutions 

    Ok, this is nothing new int terms of platform capabilities but it’s great to know Microsoft is continuously investing in CDS Solutions user experience.

  • PowerApps checker

    When it comes to the CDS Solutions it’s worth to mention that a great tooling comes along with it – a PowerApps checker which that analyse a CDS Solution and identifies potential performence and stability risks across all the assets in the solution.

flow Microsoft Flow

  • Import Azure Function / Logic Apps as Custom Connector 

    Until now this was possible but requires some work on Azure platform and then on Flow studio. Because of such context inconsistency  in the result for some of the users and devs the whole process of publishing azure function as a custom connector and using it in a Flow or PowerApps wasn’t clear enough. And this has been improved!

  • Improved Application Lifecycle Management for flows using CDS 

    Flows that are part of the CDS Solutions can now be automatically activated on solution import to a new environment!

  • Integrate your Azure Blockchain Service with anything using Microsoft Flow 

flow Microsoft Teams

  • Message actions

    One of my favorite things in Microsoft Teams is how it’s greatly integrated with other SaaS. I was already very satisfied but Microsoft Teams does not stop in surprising me – this time with context actions so from withing a conversation you can click on a message and create a task based on it!

  • Link unfurling

    Whenever someone paste a link to a chat message it will be previewed as an image. Simple and useful. Keep in mind that you can also integrate it with your app.

  • Low code teams app templates

    If you read my blog you should already know I’m a big fun of Low Code solutions. I think they will fill a great gap between end-users and IT world with developers on the lead. My favorites LCDP from Microsoft are of course PowerApps and Flow but Microsoft Teams is few steps behind them

flow Fluid Framework

A new feature that is going to revolutionize the way how people collaboratively work on the same document with each other. Long story short: Digital workplace besides being an advocate of working wherever you are it also states a very important rule – consistent context of all tools you use in your office. In Microsoft such tool that allows you to integrate with anything but keeping the same context is Microsoft Teams. Fluid Framework bring this idea to a higher level so i.e. you could work on the same document directly from a chat seeing only a part of the document that is the most related to your conversation.

flow Microsoft Search

Bing + AI + Microsoft Graph = Microsoft Search. The new search from Microsoft not only takes the best from the above but also is everywhere! It’s integrated with Office, Outlook, SharePoint, OneDrive, Bing, Windows etc. One Search to Find Them All. It will serve you best then ever.