At its developer-focused Build 2022 conference today, Microsoft has shared news about a host of updates coming to its low-code Power Platform.
The highlight of this domain is a low-code development and hosting platform called Power Pages. This will allow businesses to quickly get their websites up and running, and customize them for various form factors. It is important to note that Power Pages isn't exactly new, it was previously present as a feature in Power Apps and called Power Apps portals. This release makes it a standalone platform.
But this is more than just a rebranding, Microsoft has also revamped the experience with a Design studio, Templates hub, integration with development tools like Azure DevOps and GitHub, as well as more security and governance tooling. All of the aforementioned capabilities are currently in preview. The only generally available (GA) feature is integration with Microsoft Dataverse.
A very powerful tool that is now available for all customers of Power Apps is Express Design. Authors can simply upload design files from Figma, PowerPoint, PDF, a screenshot or a hand-drawn picture and Power Apps will leverage object detection models in Azure Cognitive Services to convert it to a functioning UI and data schema within seconds.
An upcoming update to Power Virtual Agents will also merge the platform with the Azure Bot Framework Composer and enable low-code and pro-code developers to build experiences collaboratively in the Microsoft bot building studio.
Power BI users haven't been left out of the fun either. Datamart, currently available in preview, is a self-service capability that will enable developers to get actionable insights across multiple datasets. Customers will be able to build centrally managed datamarts for data up to 1TB in size. This is a major step in building a turnkey data warehousing solution directly in Power BI.
Finally, Power Automate customers can leverage unattended robotic process automation (RPA) and hosted virtual machines in Windows 365 to manage RPA flows and scale them accordingly. Some new analytics associated with flows are in preview too. Developers will soon be able to embed Power Automate flows inside their software-as-a-service (SaaS) solutions through a new pay-as-you-go plan too.