Everything You Need to Know About the Power Platform – January 2021

What a fun month. Why? Because there is no theme. (My 3rd grader has been asking for help on his writing work and they are discussing themes) All of the topics are quick little wins, instead of those months where everything is about one topic. We got stuff for pro developers, kids, Power BI lovers, and of course Teams users. I hope you enjoy it.

Start them early!

10-year-old twin sisters became the youngest Microsoft Power Platform Certified professionals. How cool is that? Proof once again Power Platform is for all makers whether your background is tech, business, or even elementary school. Check out Zara and Zenubia’s smiling faces here.

Developer Rejoice Source Code for Power Apps

As a non-developer, I am not excited but if you are a developer I sure you are. The idea is Microsoft has started experimenting with being able to open Power Apps source files with Visual Studio Code and manage them in Github. I must stress this is still very experimental and not something you should be planning your project around quite yet but it shows you what is coming. To learn more and to give it a go check out this blog post from my buddy Greg.

Power BI Premium now has XMLA endpoints

My Power BI friends tell me this is super cool. The idea is not only can you expose your Power BI datasets (read) but you can also update them (write). This opens a richer set of data stories and moves closer to a unified data set across your environment. The feature is now general availability but does require Power BI premium. Learn more here.

More Connectors

Eleven more to be exact this month. Most notable is Adobe PDF Tools. Creating and manipulating PDFs is a very common thing in Power Platform. And while most people start by creating them with the free tools, they often push the limits and need a 3rd party. There are lots to choose from today and with Adobe joining that competition expands.

The other big connector is Power Query Dataflows. If you haven’t used Dataflows, they are an engine for pulling data into the Power Platform; typically on a schedule. Now you can write Power Automate flows that trigger and react to these activities.

Approval Workflows in Teams Finally Rolling Out

If you are like most people, you spend a lot of time in Teams. To make it easier to stay there, Microsoft added a built-in Approvals app for Teams. Click on Apps over on the left and search for Approvals and you are up and running. It feels a lot like the engine built into Power Automate, just front ended into Teams, but I haven’t dug in deep enough to know for sure. Either way, to learn more about what licenses include this feature and more check out Brad’s article on Approval Workflow in Teams or for more tech details give this a read.

Power Apps Maps

The map and address components have gone to general availability. Finally letting you get address input validation and mapping controls into your apps without jumping through a thousand hoops. Hooray. I have a video walk-through coming soon but until then you can get an overview of these from the blog post. Reminder, you need to turn them on at the tenant level before you can use them.