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General availability of “Improve data source experience and Common Data Service views”

This week we are happy to announce the general availability of the “Improve data source experience and Common Data Service views” feature.   At the same time we are also retiring the “Relational data, option sets and other new features for CDS” preview feature as that functionality is now superseded with this release.  This feature is available now in the preview regions and will be in all regions next week.

With this feature, applications have the benefit of the improved user experience with access to Common Data Service views.  See the Experience details section below. Additionally, customers will see a 2x+ speed improvement and greater reliability as well.

We recommend that customers migrate their applications with existing connections to the Common Data Service.  This includes applications that use the Dynamics 365 connector.   Expect us to continue to add new features and improve speed and reliability based on this feature.

As part of this general availability release we are also defaulting the preview Explicit Column Selection (ECS) feature to be “On” as well.  This will provide additional speed benefits.   Finally, this feature is not supported on the Windows Player.  For more details on upgrading your application, see the Upgrade your app section below.

Experience details

New data sources pane

The sidebar now includes a Data sources panel icon and pane which replaces many of the data panels that open over the right edge of the canvas area.  This panel allows adding data sources into the app or creating new connections without inserting a control.  It provides an easy way to see the data source in your app and perform actions like refresh or delete.

Entity view selection

When a Common Data Service entity is used as a data source, a view 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.

A big benefit of working with Common Data Service views is that the query for the view is run on the server – not locally on your device.  This means you avoid delegation issues with the core query.  In addition you have the flexibility to append other filter conditions that are delegated if supported.  For more advanced queries just nest the Filter function within other functions using the formula bar.

Combo box data source selection

The combo box control also supports the data source selection call out and view selection. This is the same as the Gallery and Data Table controls.

Change Common Data Service environment

Data source selection call out can change the environment to get a Common Data Service entity from another environment.  This works within the same tenant.  The Current environment is app’s environment and changes when the app moves to a new environment.  Other environment selections stay the same when the app moves to a new environment.

Improved data field defaulting

When a Gallery or Data Table control is bound to an entity, the fields are defaulted using the Default Public View.  This improves the initial fields used and can be controlled by editing that view.  Field defaulting only happens when the entity is set as the data source and after that fields are managed with the data panel.

Other improvements

In addition to the general experience improvements, this feature provides significant performance and stability improvements for working with the Common Data Service.   Customers will find that all of the functionality enabled with the “Relational data, option sets, and other new features for Common Data Service” preview switch is also enabled with this new feature along with additional bug fixes and improvements.

Upgrade your app

The “Improve data source experience and Common Data Service views” feature option now appears in the Advanced settings section.   The “Relational data, option sets, and other new features for Common Data Service” now appears in the Deprecated features section.

Converting apps with older Common Data Service connections

Upgrade your application by inspecting the settings of the options and then following the directions below.

“Improve data source experience and Common Data Service views” is already “On”

If the “Improve data source experience and Common Data Service views” feature is “On” then you’ve previously converted your application to use this new feature or you started an application when the default setting for this feature was “On.”  You’re already there.  If it isn’t already,  you may want to turn on the “Explicit Column Selection” feature “On” as well.

Note that as this feature is not supported on Windows Player, authors working with Power Apps Windows Player will need to turn this feature “Off.”

“Relational data, option sets and other new features for CDS” feature is “Off”

If the “Relational data, option sets and other new features for CDS” in your app is “Off” then use the steps below as a first step in the conversion.  If you can’t see this option or if it’s already “On”, proceed to the next section.

  1. Turn “On” the “Relational data, option sets and other new features for CDS” feature option.  This may result in some formula errors as there were a number of improvements for this option that authors need to deal with manually.
  2. Resolve any formula issues.  See this article for details on how to handle issues you might encounter as you convert your data source connections.
  3. Once you have resolved any formula issues proceed to the next section below.
  4. Save your application.  Once your application is saved, this option will no longer appear in the Deprecated features section.

“Improve data source experience and Common Data Service views” is “Off”

If the “Improve data source experience and Common Data Service views” in your app is “Off” then use the steps below to finish the conversion.

  1. Remove your existing Common Data Service data source connections.
  2. Turn the “Improve data source experience and Common Data Service views” “On.”
  3. Re-add your connections to your data sources to the Common Data Service using the new data source selection experience.
  4. Save your application.

Note:  If your application is extremely large, adding your data source connections back may take a while.  Please do not close the application during this process.

Converting apps with Dynamics 365 connections

To convert your application that currently uses the Dynamics 365 connector you will need to drop and re-add your connections to your data sources.  Use the steps below to convert your connections to your data sources.

  1. Ensure that the “Improve data source experience and Common Data Service views” feature is turned “On.”
  2. Remove your existing Dynamics 365 data source connections.
  3. Re-add your connections to your data sources to the Common Data Service using the new data source selection experience.
  4. Save your application.

Please give us feedback at Power Apps Community.