Round up of the Ignite announcements for Power Apps!

Headshot of article author Clay Wesener

This was a huge week for Power Apps at Ignite and we want to thank everyone for joining us and continuing to engage in the community. If you haven’t already you should check out James Phillips’ Business Applications session, to see some of the amazing updates and demos across Dynamics 365 and the Power Platform.

With these updates, we’ve been focused on four key areas:

  • Enabling organizations to deliver flagship applications faster than ever, allowing key applications to be rolled out quickly to the entire organization.
  • Modern apps with unparalleled productivity for end users, leveraging the power of collaboration to enable end users to be more productive in apps, and in Microsoft Teams.
  • Turning experts into innovators across the organization, with continued innovation to the maker experiences, infusing AI, and enabling fusion teams to collaborate on apps.
  • And lastly, but most importantly, the safest way to digitally transform at whole-org scale, ensuring organizations can roll out applications with the right visibility, governance, and support.

Let’s take a look at some of the recent updates and announcements in these areas, you can also see all of these covered in our video tour of new announcements for Power Apps at Ignite.

Deliver flagship applications faster than ever

We are pleased to introduce a more flexible way to pay for Power Apps and related Power Platform services, Pay-as-you-go for Power Apps. Starting today in preview, customers can use an Azure subscription to cover their Power Apps based on actual usage. With the new pay-as-you-go plan, customers only pay for what they use, making it even easier to get started with low code with low risk and then scale their investments over time based on the usage patterns of their solutions. You can read more about Pay-as-you-go here.

Power Apps portal showing the Add your Azure subscription panel

To deliver a seamless app experience for users, Power Apps mobile apps (preview) will enable makers to easily package Canvas apps as Android and iOS mobile apps for corporate end users. Power Apps mobile apps will allow makers to deliver a completely branded, end-to-end experience for their mobile apps – distributed natively through popular tools such as Microsoft Endpoint Manager or similar 3rd party MDM solutions, and private enterprise app stores like Microsoft App Center, Apple Volume Purchase Program, and Managed Google Play. You can read more about Power Apps mobile apps here.

Three screens from a mobile app showing launching a branded app in Power Apps
Modern apps with unparalleled productivity

Access to data is key to productivity, to make sure users can find their data when they need it, users will be able to find data as part of their Microsoft 365 search results with Microsoft Search Integration (Nov ’21). In the same way a user can search across their Office data, we’ll now include results from Dataverse. This gives users a much easier way to discover their data, and apps where they are already working.

One of the most valuable resources an end user has is their teammates. In an upcoming release we’ll be enabling teams to collaborate directly in app, with Co-presence on Dataverse records (Nov ’21) and Embedded Teams chat (Spring ’22).

Users will be able to see who else is working on a particular Dataverse record with co-presence like how they would in a Word document today. Users can also launch directly into an embedded Teams chat linked to the record. The conversation can take place right there in the app.
Screenshot of Teams chat preview embedded in Power Apps
But sometimes, the conversation is already happening in Microsoft Teams, and I might need to paste a link to an ongoing chat. With Link unfurling for Microsoft Teams (Dec ’21), when pasting Power Apps links into Teams chats – you’ll automatically get a rich, useful summary card of information.
Screenshot of Microsoft Teams showing a pasted link from Dataverse with a card of data instead of a pasted link
Turn experts into innovators across the organization

Enabling everyone within an organization to innovate is core to the mission of Power Apps, and to this end we‘re continuing to simplify the authoring experience, accelerate development with AI, and empower fusion teams to collaborate.
Earlier this year we announced the ability to write code using natural language with AI assisted App development, we’ve now enhanced these capabilities to allow you to write code using examples. This allows you to provide the output you’d like over your real data, and the Power Fx formula will be generated for you. You can read more about Power Apps ideas, and generating Power Fx from examples here.

Power Apps Studio showing generating Power Fx code by providing examples
We’re also enhancing our AI Builder capabilities to enable makers to build rich, intelligent apps. We’ve made multiple updates to AI Builder, making it more flexible and consumable across the platform.

Now, more makers can quickly and easily get started with AI capabilities with AI capacity now included in Power Apps Per App and Per User plans. We’ve added 250 credits for Power Apps per App license and 500 credits for Power Apps User license. You can read more about it here.

Not only can makes get started with easy-to-use prebuilt AI models with AI Builder, but makers can now also bring their own AI model created outside of the Power Platform, import it into AI Builder and consume it as part of the low code development experience. We’ve also announced support to use Lobe with AI Builder. Lobe is a free, easy-to-use app from Microsoft that helps you build image classification models on your own computer. All you need to do is add and label images, and Lobe will automatically train a custom machine learning model for you. And now you can easily upload your model from Lobe directly into AI Builder to use in Power Apps and Power Automate. You can read more about bring your own model, and Lobe here.

Just like our end user experiences, we believe collaboration is key to enable more productive fusion teams. We want to ensure makers can collaborate with others while building apps, leveraging the skills of their team and those around them to build the best possible app. We are excited to introduce Collaboration with Comments in the modern app designer. Comments allow you to contextually add notes, feedback, and discuss with others directly while building apps, flows, or chatbots, just as one would in Microsoft Word, Excel, or PowerPoint. You can now comment on a page in an app, so a colleague can get engaged and help.
Screenshot of Modern App designer with an Office style comment added
In addition to commenting, we’ve also released Experimental Co-authoring, allowing multiple makers to work on the same app at the same time and merge their changes. This is an early experimental release to gather feedback as we continue to enable makers to work together when building solutions. You can read more about experimental co-authoring here.

Side by side of two studio sessions making updates to a single Power App

We’ve also continued to enable developers with low code, with the Power Fx open-source release. Microsoft Power Fx open-source release enables everyone to enhance their own apps and platforms with the same Excel-like, low code programming language used across the Power Platform. Under the MIT license, you can now freely download the Power Fx source code from GitHub, install pre-built NuGet packages, and join the community to enhance and grow this new language. You can read more about Power Fx open-source here.

The safest way to digitally transform at whole-org scale

A primary focus for our team is to support organizations with Power Apps at enterprise scale – through governance, controls, and visibility. We’ve recently released Power Platform Adoption guidance which includes a set of documentation and tools to help organizations deploy and adopt the Power Platform across the entire organization. You can get started with the adoption tools here.
In addition to guidance, new updates provide administrators with more control over app access and compliance. Conditional access policies on individual apps gives admins the right controls over apps and data. Admins can now apply policies to block guest access or require multi-factor authentication for a specific app. As well as the existing security and DLP controls which help admins manage the access to apps and the data within apps, admins can now quarantine a specific apps that doesn’t meet an organizations policy.

Conditional access policy being applied to an app and then showing the app being restricted

Get started with Power Apps today at make.powerapps.com.

Thanks,
Clay.

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