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Power Apps 2020 Wave I updates are out now!

Headshot of article author Ryan Cunningham

April is a big month for Power Apps, with 2020 Release Wave I updates rolling out in full swing. In addition to the major announcements of Mixed Reality coming to Power Apps and AI Builder becoming generally available for many scenarios, we’ve been busy improving the core Power Apps offering across the board as well. This post rounds up many of the latest updates available now or very soon.

If you haven’t already seen the Virtual Launch Event, you can view it here. This event provides a great overview of the updates across all of the Power Platform and Business Applications. You can also see a lot of these updates in action in our recently released Emergency Response Solution.

Before we step into the details, here’s an overview of some the key priorities for us in these updates :

  1. Power Apps ♥ Microsoft Teams. Teams is increasingly the workplace for millions of users, and Power Apps keeps people productive in context. Now you can bring your apps to Teams mobile and leverage context from within Teams.
  2. Common Data Service is the most powerful platform for low code. We continue to focus our investment on the Common Data Service as a robust platform for apps of any scale. Now you can easily work with large images and files from CDS in any Power App.
  3. Power Apps mobile has all your apps. The new Power Apps mobile app now allows you to open canvas and model driven apps together from a single launching point, and the model-driven experience has been tuned for mobile users.
  4. Higher Quality apps with testing and debugging tools. We’ve continued to invest and roll out tools that help makers build faster and more reliable apps and deliver higher quality experiences to their end users. 
  5. Unified Interface provides a great experience out of the box. We’ve continued to upgrade the Unified Interface to make working with grids, forms and lookups easier for end users.

Power Apps ♥ Microsoft Teams

With the latest updates for Teams, makers can now build apps that use the context of the Team they’re embedded in. With this functionality, you can build apps that respond to your Teams theme (i.e. default, dark, or high contrast), filter your app based on the channel you are in, or even deep link into a particular record inside of your Power Apps app embedded inside of Teams.

Additionally, personal Power Apps apps are coming to the Teams mobile client later this month. With this functionality, you can pin your app to the bottom of the Teams navigation bar and open them directly within Teams. This is particularly helpful for front line workers who need immediate access to their mobile apps while they’re collaborating with others.

Improved CDS capabilities for images and large files

We announced the public preview availability of the new Image data type for use in Canvas Power Apps in concert with the the availability of a general Image data type for CDS entities.  This is in addition to support for File that we announced in December.  This CDS feature is in addition to the existing entity image functionality (which allows for a single thumbnail image per entity.)  It allows an entity to have  multiple fields on an entity with a image data type.  It also provides the option to store a full image in addition to the thumbnail image.

Power Apps mobile app has all your apps

We are excited to announce the public preview availability of the new Power Apps mobile app that runs both canvas and model-driven apps in a single mobile app. Today, using both canvas and model-driven apps together on a mobile device is a painful experience since it requires two different mobile apps to be installed on your device. With the unified Power Apps mobile app, you will be able to easily discover and access model-driven apps. Learn more

Model-driven apps have an upgraded, responsive UX within the Power Apps player, designed specifically with mobile scenarios at heart. Usability enhancements to some of the core components of Unified Interface bring your model apps to life on mobile with a native look and feel, gesture supportupdated animations, and interaction patterns that are intrinsic to mobile. With subtle differences in UX for iOS and Android phones, model-driven Power Apps look and feel like any other mobile app on that platform. Learn more

Higher quality apps with testing and debugging tools

Debug apps and improve performance with App Monitor. Sometimes apps can be difficult to debug and diagnose.  App Monitor now provides you a running log of all activity in your app and it helps you understand how formulas are doing their work. You can drill into details on the network calls occurring, the specific formulas associated to the requests, how long they took, view the data returned along with any errors that may have happened helping you identify any performance bottlenecks and diagnose issues for your apps.

Maintain app quality by building end-to-end tests with Test Studio. Even a small defect can have a significant impact on your business process, and identifying and fixing these issue before your app changes are deployed is critical. With Test Studio, you can build low-code tests using a recorder or with familiar Power Apps expressions, and repeatedly run and validate your app functionality.

Improved data-driven decisions with app telemetry.  With your app connected to Azure Applications Insights, you can now gather detailed information and telemetry for your apps. Answer questions on how many people are using your app, where are they located, what devices they are using and much more.

Command checker for model driven apps. For each button on a given ribbon, the tool will show its calculated visibility status, the evaluation result of each enable/display rule attached to the button, and the command to be executed when clicked.  In addition, we have built the ability to see solution layers contributing to the final set of rules and buttons.

Improvements to the Unified Interface

Open a main record in a dialog. Using the Main Form Dialog (MFD) end users no longer need to navigate away from a main form. You can now open a related record entity on a parent or base form without requiring the user to navigate away, your end users can stay in context and edit an existing record or create a new one.  The record will open in a modal dialog and end users will have access to the command bar, header and tabs that you defined for the records main form.

Grids in unified interface have intuitive and intelligent column filtering options that puts insights at your fingertips. Excel-like filtering experience helps you analyze your data on the fly quickly, with a powerful set of filters and operators. With a deep understanding of the underlying data type, the filtering experience is tailored for different column types. Learn more

As an extension of the column filtering capability on grids, comes advanced filtering, with which you can create powerful filters and expressions to dissect your data and save them as personal views. The advanced filtering panel allows you to create a wide spectrum of simple to complex expressions with grouped and nested conditions to help you apply the right lens and granularity to your data. This capability brings a lot of Dynamics 365’s Advanced Find from classic web to unified interface, with a more responsive and contextual set of tools to help you be more productive. Learn more

Lookups in the Unified Interface now support the enhanced filtering capabilities found within Web Client which include for only my records and related records.

These are just a small set of the updates as part of 2020 Wave I across Power Apps, you can see all our release plans here for April and the coming months.

As always, your feedback is one of the most valuable tools we have as continue to build and improve Power Apps. Please continue to reach out through our Power Apps Community.