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Automate your application lifecycle management (ALM) with PowerApps Build Tools (Preview)

We are delighted to announce the public preview of PowerApps Build Tools available here. As the deployment of PowerApps expands across the enterprise, so does the requirements for being able to automate the lifecycle of the Apps and Flows, manage them through source control and generally rub a little DevOps on deployments. After all, if I am a developer, why do I have to treat the lifecycle of my low code apps any different than I do with my custom code? – I want it all in the same place, which is in Source control and with proper versioning.

This initial release is the first step towards a more comprehensive, yet simplified story around ALM for PowerApps. A story we will continue to augment by adding features based on feedback, but equally important – by continuing to invest in more training and documentation with prescriptive guidance. In other words, our goal is to enable our customers and partners to focus more on innovation and building beautiful, innovative apps and less time on either figuring out how to automate or perform daunting manual tasks that are better done automated.

What is the PowerApps Build Tools?

The PowerApps Build Tools preview is a collection of PowerApps specific Build Tasks for Azure DevOps. Some of these tasks are outlined below, but a list of all available tasks is available here.

PowerApps Checker: This task enables you to run solution checks outside of the PowerApps Maker user experience in an automated manner. This means you can run static analysis check on your solution(s) against a set of best-practice rules to identify any problematic patterns you might inadvertently have introduced when building your solution.

This enables traditional developers to continuously validate their code and to do so much earlier in the development lifecycle. They can take advantage of both the standard set of rules used by the Solution Checker introduced earlier this year and, if you are an ISV, additionally run the rule set required to pass the certification test when publishing an app to AppSource.

For ISV’s, this means no more packaging everything up, submitting it for certification simply to wait for the results before you can start fixing any issues and start all over. This task is taking advantage of the PowerApps checker PowerShell Module announced in previous post

PowerApps Import Solution: No more manual imports. The import solution automatically imports your solution into a target environment.

PowerApps Export Solution: As above, just the other way around. This task automatically exports your solution from a source environment. No more waiting around for an export to complete before choosing where to save it, only to move it to a share location somewhere or into a repo as a .zip file.

PowerApps Unpack Solution: Want to get your solution metadata to source control? This task takes a compressed solution file and decomposes it into multiple XML files so that these files can be more easily managed by your source control system.

PowerApps Pack Solution: Packs your solution represented in source control into a solution.zip file that can be imported into your target environment.

We are truly excited to announce this preview and encourage everyone to submit ideas and provide general feedback through the PowerApps Forum