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August 2019 updates for Microsoft PowerApps

The PowerApps developers have definitely made up for lost time being at the Microsoft Business Applications Summit shipping over 19 features this month! While all the PowerApps developers went above and beyond the Unified Interface team really delivered the goods with 8 suites of enhancements (with each suite containing multiple features!).

If you aren’t familiar with the Unified Interface, it provides a consistent and accessible user experience across devices—whether on a desktop, laptop, tablet, or phone. The apps scale by reflowing the components on the screen. The responsive design adapts to your environment based on screen size, so the more available space that you have, the more information can be displayed.

If you don’t want to wait for the end of month post you can always can view a roll up of the upcoming features here: https://aka.ms/businessappsreleasenotes and more fine grained PowerApps weekly release information here: https://aka.ms/PAWeeklyReleaseNotes 
Don’t see a feature that you want in PowerApps? Navigate to https://ideas.powerapps.com and let us know! If you are interested in having a hand in the development of PowerApps and want collaborate with the design team in shaping the future of the product, please sign up for our research panel at: https://aka.ms/BecomeAResearchParticipant

New PowerApps Updates and Features for August:

  1. Preview PowerApps October release wave updates!
  2. Publishing changes to PowerApps Portals
  3. The PowerApps CLI exciting new features
  4. Faster data entry with the SetFocus function
  5. Provisioning and administration updates are now live in the Power Platform Admin center
  6. Simplify formulas with the With function
  7. Inline navigate to all of our modern model-driven designers
  8. SharePoint delegation improvements
  9. Preview for Improve data source experience and Common Data Service views
  10. Share canvas apps with guests in your organization

New PowerApps Unified Interface Features

  1. Preview for usability enhancements to lookups in Unified Interface
  2. Unsaved Changes Dialog in the Unified Interface
  3. View inline images when reading Emails in the Unified Interface
  4. Quick Create Save and Create New in the Unified Interface
  5. Always show important information on the form header in the Unified Interface
  6. Activities Timeline Wall Improvements in the Unified Interface
  7. Error Notification Navigation in the Unified Interface
  8. View email threads as a conversation in the Unified Interface
  9. Enhanced functionality in Unified Interface grids

PowerApps October release notes unveiled

While it seems strange to list this as an August release, it is worth calling in out that in August the team added videos to our release notes show casing upcoming innovations so in addition to reading about upcoming features you can also now watch them!


 

Publishing changes to PowerApps Portals

PowerApps Portals uses the selective entity caching approach to improve reliability and performance of your portal. With this update, you can new see changes immediately reflected on the portal. Find out more about this and other clear server-side cache options.  

 

 

The PowerApps CLI exciting new features

PowerApps component framework can now see changes in the test harness as they are made and push components directly into an org using the CLI. These innovations will greatly speed up the development inner loop!

The push
capability will make you more efficient because it bypasses the custom component versioning requirements and does not require you to build your solution in order to import into your development environment. The watch capability removes the need to reload your test harness after every change is made.

For more information about PowerApps component framework please see PowerApps component framework forum.

 

Faster data entry with the SetFocus function

 

The SetFocus function gives a control the input focus. The user’s keystrokes are then received by that control, allowing them to type into a text input control or use the Enter key to select a button. The user can also use the Tab key, touch, mouse, or other gesture to move the input focus themselves.


There are directions for creating these examples and more details on
SetFocus
in the documentation.

 

Provisioning and administration updates are now live in the Power Platform Admin center

August saw several improvements being added to the Power Platform Admin center.

Summary of changes

  • Provisioning environments is now available in the Power Platform Admin center.
  • Provisioning in Power Platform Admin center based on available capacity.
  • Administrators can use the Power Platform Admin center to view all environments.
  • License requirements to administrator environments have been simplified.
  • Top table trend is now available in the capacity report.

 

 

Simplify formulas with the With function

Simplify large formulas by dividing them into named sub-formulas, eliminate redundant sub-formulas, and easily work with functions that return records.  All while staying declarative and automatically responding to dependency changes.


 

Inline navigate to all of our modern model-driven designers

To reduce the amount of clutter within your browser while building apps, we’ve introduced an option to open the modern view and form designers inline. To get back, you can simply press the back button in the designer.


 

SharePoint delegation improvements

Delegation of SharePoint complex objects and Query / filter operations on objects such as Person and Choice are now supported.


See the  SharePoint connector article for more details.

 

Improved data source experience and Common Data Service views

New data source experience and Common Data Service views that allow adding data sources into the app or creating new connections without inserting a control and enabling a Common Data Service entity view that can be selected in the property pane and the Items property is updated.  The property pane will update the Items property to add the Filter function taking the the view name as the filter.


 

Share canvas apps with guests in your organization

A public preview feature that enable canvas apps to be shared with guests of your organization! This enables teams of individuals made up of different organizations participating in a common business process to access the same app resources that may be integrated with a wide variety of Microsoft and third-party sources. While in preview we look forward to hearing your feedback and would appreciate posts in this PowerApps forum topic.  

 

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Unified Interface Enhancements

 

Preview for usability enhancements to lookups in Unified Interface

 

Unified interfaces lookup dialogs have been updated. Specifically, the updated lookup entry, browse a lookup, record type images, and record selection list. Now Whenever you click on either the magnifying glass or the text box you’re presented with the same list of most recently used records.


 

Enhanced functionality in Unified Interface grids

Unified Interface grids are more productive with several improvements. The improvements span increased density, updated styling, remembering state, standard browser hyperlinks, loading indicator and improved filtering.

In addition, two commonly requested fixes are coming soon for editable grid error messages and for browser open in new tab.


 

Unsaved Changes Dialog in the Unified Interface

The new unsaved dialog actions have updated the wording to be more clear and it will take you to the record or page you want to go to without additional clicks.

  • Save and Continue will attempt to save your information and open the page you wanted to go to.
  • Discard will not attempt to save information and discard the changes and open the page where you want to go.
  • The “x” in the upper right will close the dialog and keep you on the page so you can continue working on the current record.


 

View inline images when reading Emails in the Unified Interface

Now view images inline when reading emails.  In the previous versions they were only available as an attachment when reading emails. With the October 2019 release, images will now be rendered inline. There is no need to open up attachments to see images and you will no longer lose context of where an image has been included in an email, it will be part of your email message.


For more information on how to add activities to the timeline, see Add an appointment, email, phone call, note, or task activity to the timeline.

 

Quick Create Save and Create New in the Unified Interface

Now quickly save a record and create a new one directly from the Quick Create Form. This new button action will make it much easier for users to quickly add a record, save it and start working on another record of the same type directly from the Quick Create form.

When you open a quick create form and enter all of the information in the fields, simply click on the “v” on the “Save and Close” button on the bottom of the form. This will display the option to save and create a new record. Click on that action and the record will be saved and you can quickly add another record directly from the new quick create form.


 

Always show important information on the form header in the Unified Interface

Admins and makers will be able to choose a style of a form header that fits the needs of your customers.  The new headers allow an admin or maker to choose up to three options to render data:

  • High-density with read only fields
  • High-density with a flyout to support different types of components including editable, custom controls or web resources (default experience)
  • Low-density header


High-Density Header with read only fields – Wide Screen Size

 

Activities Timeline Wall Improvements in the Unified Interface

Added new activities in the Timeline Wall that make it simpler and easier to use while giving your applications a better user experience:

  • See more activities and Icons are more visible
  • On-hover activity commands
  • Activity expand/collapse, additional actions
  • Filtering updates and simplification


You can see this activity makes it to easy quickly expand or collapse an activity to view the full content and take additional actions on the record.

 

Error Notification Navigation in the Unified Interface

Now navigate directly to an error from the notification bar at the top of a form. The latest changes, you can now quickly fix issues by simply clicking on the error in the notification bar at the top of the form. This support multiple errors and will set focus to the field across multiple tabs on a form.

  • When an error occurs the notification bar will be displayed at the top of the form.
  • An error is indicated by a red circle with a line through it in the form notification bar at the top of the page.
  • Select the notification bar and click on the error. It will take you to the field on the form where the error occurred.
  • After fixing the error, the notification will go away. If there are multiple errors, you can click on the next error which will set focus to the appropriate field. Once all errors are corrected the navigation bar will close if there are no other form notifications in the bar.


 

View email threads as a conversation in the Unified Interface

Now list emails in a conversation thread, like many email applications work when viewing emails in a conversation.

To enabling emails in a conversation thread on the activities timeline wall, see Set personal options and Add email activities to the timeline.

Once enabled, you can open any form that has a timeline and your emails will be grouped into conversation threads. Emails will be shown with your latest email at the top.


See what is coming next for PowerApps; attend the Microsoft Business Applications October Virtual Launch Event

If you are interested in the new innovations for PowerApps, October 2019 Microsoft business applications release and want to share the highlights with you. Please join us for the Microsoft Business Applications Virtual Launch Event on October 10, 2019 from 8:00 AM – 9:30 AM Pacific Time. This free event offers an in-depth look at the new capabilities and features announced in the 2019 release wave 2 across Dynamics 365 and the Microsoft Power Platform. Sign up for the live stream today for reminders, agenda updates, and instructions to tune in live.