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Introducing the ALM Accelerator for Power Platform

Historically, getting started with Application Lifecycle Management (ALM) for the Microsoft Power Platform came with a learning curve and lots of time investment setting up ALM. Based on our own learnings setting up ALM for the Center of Excellence (CoE) Starter kit, we’re excited to introduce you to the public preview of the ALM Accelerator for Power Platform – a new reference implementation that is now also part of the Center of Excellence (CoE) Starter Kit. What is the ALM Accelerator? The ALM Accelerator for Power Platform includes a canvas app that sits on top of Azure DevOps Pipelines and Git source control. The app provides a simplified interface for makers to regularly export the components in their Power Platform Solutions to source control and create deployment requests to have their work reviewed before deploying to target environments. The ALM Accelerator for Power Platform is a complement to the ALM guidance available under the Overview of application lifecycle management with Microsoft Power Platform. It was originally developed to facilitate ALM for the CoE Starter Kit team. We are now sharing what we’ve built for our own use and open sourcing it to help you understand how you can apply ALM patterns & practices with the Power Platform. You can use the ALM Accelerator as-is, customize it to meet your requirements, or as a reference implementation to see how we’ve addressed ALM scenarios. To learn more, you can watch an overview video of the ALM Accelerator for Power Platform below. We also have documentation to Set up ALM Accelerator for Power Platform components, Use ALM Accelerator for Power Platform components and videos of ALM Accelerator for Power Platform Walkthroughs (Preview). Who should try out this component? The ALM Accelerator provides a solution for setting up an enhanced ALM experience for both code first and low code developers. Within this single accelerator, we have provided both a simplified experience, for those who want to get started with ALM, as well as more advanced experiences for people who want more control over the ALM process. We expect the ALM Accelerator to be used by the Power Platform maker who is comfortable with using Power Platform solution management. For advanced makers with experience using Git, Azure DevOps, and basic ALM concepts (e.g., source control, pushes, pull requests, branching, merging, and CI/CD), we offer capabilities to allow them to work the way they want. To use the advanced maker capabilities, there is an expectation that you have foundational knowledge about those capabilities. What is different from ALM Accelerator for Makers? Originally, we announced ALM Accelerator for Makers, which makers can use to apply source control strategies by using GitHub and move solutions from development to test and production environments. It abstracted away some of the complexities of ALM, to help make it more approachable to low code developers new to ALM. Since then, we have been working on improvements to bring experiences from that accelerator into a unified accelerator. We have also heard from customers who use Azure DevOps that they want a simplified experience as well. Whether you are planning to set up ALM for basic or advanced scenarios, the new ALM Accelerator for Power Platform aims to help you with your ALM strategy. For now, the unified experience supports only Azure DevOps using pipelines using Microsoft Power Platform Build Tools for Azure DevOps. However, we have plans to add support for GitHub workflows using GitHub Actions for Microsoft Power Platform in the future. As part of this unification process, we will no longer be providing new enhancements to ALM Accelerator for Makers. If you have any issues or bugs with the older accelerator, please post them on GitHub; we’ll continue to address them. Getting started You can get started by going to ALM Accelerator for Power Platform “ALM Accelerator for Power Platform” section in Microsoft Docs. You can learn more about our backlog of issues and enhancements in on GitHub . We have also turned on GitHub Discussions and would encourage you to ask questions there. We would love your feedback! Prior to this announcement, we’ve been building the ALM Accelerator out in the open on GitHub since March 2021. We’ve had several customers participate in our previous preview releases to help gather feedback. The feedback helped us evolve the accelerator to be more generic and flexible beyond how we were initially using it. We’re eager to get more feedback. We’d like to invite you to try out our public preview, help us make it even more flexible, and evolve it to meet your needs! If you have any new ideas, feel free to post them in GitHub ! Disclaimer Some of the underlying features and components used to build the ALM such as Canvas source code tool integrated with Power Platform CLI are in preview, and the kit itself represents sample implementations of these preview features. Our customers and community can use and customize these features to implement ALM capabilities in their organizations. However, note that this kit is also under preview until the dependent features are also generally available.

EY Nordic Tech Hub transforms annual salary review process with Microsoft Power Platform

Sameer Bhangar, Principal Program Manager, Thursday, December 16, 2021 EY is a global professional services firm with over 300,000 employees across 150 countries. With specialties in assurance, tax and transaction, and advisory, they have delivered client solutions to 1 million users worldwide. EY is also a global leader in providing digital solutions. Most recently, the EY Nordic Tech Hub team transformed their annual salary review process with Microsoft Power Platform. The solution uses Power Apps, Power Automate, Power BI, SQL, and is connected to SharePoint online. With this new technology, a process that once took four months, now takes only two.  Power Platform solution – EarnEY EY Nordics (which includes Denmark, Norway, Sweden, and Finland) conducts annual salary reviews. A project was in-flight for a new global compensation solution to improve the high-volume process; however, it was a few years away from completion. To reduce complexity sooner, EY Nordics leveraged Microsoft Power Platform to rapidly develop an interim, scalable solution within four months. The solution was built by EY Nordic Tech Hub, an internal digital transformation team that defines and develops cutting edge solutions for the Nordic region. Emil Hovgaard, Leader of Nordic Tech Hub, stresses how EarnEY was developed with an agile fusion development approach which incorporated an agile team of Pro Developers, Human Resources, Business Analysists, End-Users and more.

Power Platform Developer Tools: November Refresh

Right before the holidays, we are happy to announce the release of our November refresh for the Power Platform CLI. In addition, we have some good news as well. So let us start with that! Deployment settings support for connection references is now Generally Available Earlier in August, this year, we had announced Public Preview for connection references and environment-variable support as public preview. I am happy to announce that the capability, based on popular demand, is now Generally Available. So, we are looking forward to hearing your feedback on the matter. What is new in Power Platform CLI 1.10.4? As you are aware that Power Platform CLI is multi-platform, we were informed of an interactive login issue on Linux and macOS, which has now been fixed. In addition, we announced support for Windows Services for Linux and GitHub Codespaces in Preview capacity at Microsoft Ignite this year. We can’t wait for you to try this capability out. We also fixed the “non recoverable error” issue with Canvas pack. Both the Canvas pack and unpack are still preview capabilities, until we declare them as “Generally Available”. We have also introduced two new commands, and they are: pac solution delete — solution-name pac solution online-version –solution-name –solution-version pac solution delete finally allows users of the command line to delete the solution from the command line interface or Visual Studio Code extension, just like within Studio interface. pac solution online-version now allows users to set version numbers based on their version management strategies. We provided this capability, because if in case users do not set their versioning strategy with pac solution version, they have this fall-back capability to increment the versioning number post import. This one of many use cases for the online-version command under pac solution. Figure 1 : Example of how pac solution online-version works pac admin comment now takes both the environment url or the environment id with a new flag called –environment, this will allow us to deprecate –url and –environmentid flag and simplify the overall interaction for the user and for scripting. Pac solution unpack in the earlier versions would delete the solution zip file without giving the user the option to preserve the solution zip-file. We changed the default behavior to not delete the zipfile and given a new parameter –AlllowDeletes. Only when then AllowDeletes flag is provided, that is when the solution zipfile will be deleted by solution unpack command. And there are many more of such capabilities to explore within the November refresh. You can download the standalone CLI or Visual Studio Code extension based on the instructions from the following url: Microsoft Power Platform CLI – Power Apps | Microsoft Docs I know 2021 has been a challenging year, we can’t thank you enough for your support, and as always please provide your feedback at ISVFeedback@Microsoft.com or in the Powerusers community. Happy Holidays everyone!!
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