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May 2019 updates for Microsoft PowerApps

Here is a month roll up for all the new features we have shipped in PowerApps for the month of May.  If you don’t want to wait for this blog 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 

To see what was new in April for PowerApps be sure and check out:  April 2019 updates for Microsoft PowerApps

ConfirmExit for canvas apps

Now there is a way to prevent losing unsaved changes.  The App object has two new properties:

  • ConfirmExit:  A Boolean that when true will show a confirmation dialog before exiting the app, preventing the accidental loss of data.
  • ConfirmExitMessage: A custom text message to display in the confirmation dialog.  A generic message is provided by default.  Use this to direct your users to the data that hasn’t been saved yet.

For more details, we’ve expanded the App object documentation.

For example, here I have a simple gallery and form over the CDS Contacts entity.  The formula App.ConfirmExit = Form1.Unsaved is shown.


Enable Common Data Service connector to select an environment

Canvas apps now support changing the environment within the Common Data Service connector. The default behavior hasn’t changed and existing Common Data Service connections will continue to use the canvas app’s current environment. When adding a new data source, we now display the environment at the top of the list of entities. The default appears as (Current). The Change button appears when tabbing or hovering on the environment and clicking allows picking another environment.


ALM at scale: new features and automation capabilities

You can now package all related apps, Flows, logic, schema, and other components and move them together across environments. As an added benefit, you can also manage your canvas apps and Flows in source control and fully automate your build and release pipelines.


Announcing the general availability of the new view designer

The new view designer directly addresses all these problems faced by makers and a lot more. It displays data up front and center to help makers instantly see the effect of the filter conditions applied and change them as needed. Adding and reordering columns is quick, easy and intuitive via drag and drop or single-click column selection. Filter conditions can be quickly changed inline without having to bring up the advanced expression builder dialog and cascading sort using multiple columns can be easily applied.

New features in the most recent update include the ability to drag and drop fields from the field pane directly onto the view. Makers can select the field that they want to add and drag it to the desired location in the view header row.


Time zone independent fields for Canvas apps

Canvas apps now fully support CDS time zone independent fields.  In the CDS preview connector we had blocked them until they were working properly.  All the work required has now been completed and fully deployed.

Our mission was simple: Canvas and Model-driven apps should show and edit date/time values in the same manner.  Entering a value in one app, of either variety, should display the same value in all other apps.

For example, here is an entity with two time zone independent fields:


Dual Write Preview

Dual Write provides a tightly coupled near-real time and bi-directional integration between the Dynamics 365 for Finance and Operations and the Dynamics 365 for Sales. Once an entity is enabled for Dual Write, any create, update change in Dynamics 365 for Finance and Operations results in writes, in near-real time, to the Common Data Service and vice versa. Ex: A change in the Customer entity in Dynamics 365 for Finance and Operations is reflected in near-real time in the Account entity in the Dynamics 365 for Sales and vice-versa. While all this happens with minimal setup, we also provide an advance user interface for all your customization needs.

Dual Write allows our customers to not think about these applications as different systems to write to independently; rather, the underlying infrastructure makes it seamless for these apps to write simultaneously.


Import components from cloud apps

Components just go better!  With this update, you can share components using cloud apps.


https://powerapps.microsoft.com/en-us/blog/import-components-from-cloud-apps/

Improved provisioning and administration

Now you have a single place to manage and visualize the storage of your organization. Check your organization storage capacity here. Read more here.


https://powerapps.microsoft.com/en-us/blog/provisioning-and-administration-is-getting-easier/

Owner, Customer, and Regarding for canvas apps

Common Data Service polymorphic lookups are now available from canvas apps.  You can now:

  • Access, set, and filter on the Owner field of any record.
  • Access and set the Company Name field (a Customer data type) of the Contacts entity.
  • Access and set the Regarding field of activity entities such as Faxes, Phone Calls, Email Messages, etc.
  • Access the list of all Activities for a record.
  • Access the list of Notes for a record.


https://powerapps.microsoft.com/en-us/blog/owner-customer-and-regarding-for-canvas-apps/

On-premises data gateway May 2019 update

The On-premises gateway now features monitoring gateway usage and performance. Traditionally, for monitoring performance, gateway admins have had to depend on manually monitoring performance counters through the Windows Performance Monitor tool. This feature is an out of the box feature which includes additional logging regarding queries and system counters along with a Gateway Performance PBI template file to visualize these. This would insights into gateway usage and allow troubleshooting slow performing queries.


https://powerapps.microsoft.com/en-us/blog/on-premises-data-gateway-may-2019-update-is-now-available/

PowerApps Canvas App Accessibility Guidelines


This white paper is for the enterprise application developer (maker) responsible for designing, building, testing, deploying, and maintaining PowerApps in a corporate or government environment. This white paper is a collaborative effort of the Microsoft PowerApps team, Microsoft IT, and industry professionals. Adherence to the guidelines and standards in this document will assist developers in making their PowerApps canvas apps accessible to all app users.

https://thriveproduct.blob.core.windows.net/thrivedocs/PowerApps%20Accessibility%20Standards%20and%20Guidelines.pdf

Performance enhancements to the PowerApps portal

PowerApps portal is now using a new UI framework that significantly reduces the number of calls and download size of PowerApps.


https://powerapps.microsoft.com/en-us/blog/the-powerapps-portal-is-now-significantly-faster-to-load/

Add new fields while creating your canvas app

While creating apps using the Common Data Service, makers select an entity as the data source and bind it with data controls. This allows them to add fields in the selected data source to a gallery, data table, or form. This is good for fields that are already present in the data source. However, if there is a need to add an additional field, the maker would need to save the app, switch to the entity designer to add the additional field before returning back to the app. This results in unnecessary deviation from their original goal of making an app.


https://powerapps.microsoft.com/en-us/blog/add-new-fields-while-creating-your-canvas-app/ 

Extend the power of WYSIWYG form authoring to quick create and quick view forms

The new form designer now supports authoring quick create and quick view formsAll the beneficial features of the new form designer such as WYSIWYG preview, enhanced fields pane, quick-access property pane, tree view and more now extend to quick create and quick view form authoring to help enable a rich and productive experience.


https://powerapps.microsoft.com/en-us/blog/extend-the-power-of-wysiwyg-form-authoring-to-quick-create-and-quick-view-forms/

Announcing general availability of Model based Apps Solution Checker

To deliver on complex business requirements, model-driven app makers often can end up with highly advanced solutions that customize and extend the Common Data Service platform. With advanced implementations comes an increased risk where performance, stability, and reliability issues become introduced, which can negatively impact the user experience. Identifying and understanding how to resolve these issues can be complicated and time consuming. With the solution checker feature, you can perform a rich static analysis check on your solutions against a set of best practice rules and quickly identify these problematic patterns. After the check completes, you receive a detailed report that lists the issues identified, the components and code affected, and links to documentation that describes how to resolve each issue.


https://docs.microsoft.com/en-us/powerapps/maker/common-data-service/use-powerapps-checker 

 To see what was new in April for PowerApps be sure and check out:

April 2019 updates for Microsoft PowerApps

https://powerapps.microsoft.com/en-us/blog/april-2019-updates-for-microsoft-powerapps/