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The good and the bad of using Copilot in the Power Platform

Copilot is everywhere within Microsoft technology nowadays. But it is really helping or is it just a step in the wrong direction. In this post the good and the bad of using Copilot.

Copilot in Power Platform

Within the Power Platform there are Copilots all over the place. In this post I will focus on one area within Power Apps offering us Copilot options.

Describe the new table using Copillot

In the above screenshot you will find the Describe the new table. Microsoft is doing their best to not say Copilot here but the little logo is giving it away.

Do I like Copilot?

Auch, that is a bit of a loaded question. But I’m not going to avoid it.

Copilot (and any other similar AI based tool) can be very impressive, but do I like it? Well I will answer that question in a bit.

Creating a table using Copilot

Using the earlier mentioned Describe the new table option we will get to the point where we can create a table. Adding columns to a table manually can take a bit of time. So this may work quite well. Let’s put the tool to the test.

The good and the bad of using Copilot in the Power Platform Copilot, Microsoft Power Apps image 51

We have to enter out requirements in the Copilot dialogue box.

I’m going to enter “Create a table to register recipes”

The good and the bad of using Copilot in the Power Platform Copilot, Microsoft Power Apps image 52

Once we have entered that Copilot is going to give us a table.

And the result is actually

The good and the bad of using Copilot in the Power Platform Copilot, Microsoft Power Apps image 54

And when we look at the details of the Instructions, I’m getting hungry already.

The good and the bad of using Copilot in the Power Platform Copilot, Microsoft Power Apps image 56

But is this really what we want?

Taking better look at the Copilot generated table

I’m going to have a look at the table that we just generate. As a software developer, I find it important that the right standards are being used. Best practices are there for a reason. Is Copilot a best practice?

If we first look at the table then we will see that the ingredients column is a plain text field. Is this really what we want? Most likely not!

The good and the bad of using Copilot in the Power Platform Copilot, Microsoft Power Apps image 57

Then the trained eye will tell us that the internal names aren’t great either. crd6e_ is the prefix on the internal names as we created a table outside a solution and there was no prefix to be fetched from a publisher record.

The active recipes view has been created view has been created and also a basic form is there. So that part is ok.

When I tried this again, I ended up with some data validation issues.

The good and the bad of using Copilot in the Power Platform Copilot, Microsoft Power Apps image 59

So should we be using Copilot?

There is a time and a place for Copilot. Initially Copilot and other AI tools really do impress me. But when it gets to development, does it really help anybody?

Time to give Copilot a second chance. I’m going to ask a second question. Increasing the length of the Instructions column. Well the column got renamed.

The good and the bad of using Copilot in the Power Platform Copilot, Microsoft Power Apps image 60

I’m sure that Copilot will get there at the end ( I gave it some feedback at the end so it should learn!), but software development is still an art.

Attempt 3 – Create an app with Copilot

I’m starting to get really hungry, so I really want to create an app that can give me some recipes.

We go to https://make.powerapps.com and go to the Apps option. The Start with Copilot link is there straight in front of us.

The good and the bad of using Copilot in the Power Platform Copilot, Microsoft Power Apps image 61

This is one of my biggest frustrations with Copilot. Ideally the Apps option should be removed all together as all apps, flows etc should be created as part of a solution. This way beginners are told to do the wrong thing without being told that it is the wrong thing.

We are at the same spot as before, other than that there is now the title “Create an app”

The good and the bad of using Copilot in the Power Platform Copilot, Microsoft Power Apps image 62

I’m going to enter my next request: “Create a canvas app to register recipes that I can use on a table or mobile phone”

The good and the bad of using Copilot in the Power Platform Copilot, Microsoft Power Apps image 63

Then as we press the Create app button, an app is created for us.

The good and the bad of using Copilot in the Power Platform Copilot, Microsoft Power Apps image 64

As long as the above app is what you actually want then that is great. Looking at the general setup of the app, it has been developed quite well as it is using containers. However not many of the controls have been named properly.

The good and the bad of using Copilot in the Power Platform Copilot, Microsoft Power Apps image 65

The above template for apps is used for all of the single table apps.

Copilot generated app

So far I would see the Copilot generated apps as a good way of learning how to create a basic apps. A bit like templates used to do in Power Apps, however the real art of developing a good app is still done by a developer who know what they are doing. If you have developed a great app ( with or without Copilot) then please share your successes below in a comment.

Further thoughts

If you need help setting up any of the following feel free to contact me:

  • Setup of Environments
  • Setup of pipelines
  • Development of solutions that work and follow best practices

This post was originally published on this site

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