4 New Power Apps Features & Fixes

From Microsoft's 2022 Release Wave 1

TL: DR

Microsoft’s 2022 release wave 1 plan for the Power Platform includes upcoming changes and fixes we can expect between April and September 2022. We’ve delved into this updated and selected our 4 picks for Power Apps updates you need to know about, from better access control to native mobile apps

1 - Native Mobile Apps Within Power Apps

To date, Power Apps for mobile devices have been delivered through the Microsoft Power Apps mobile launcher app for iOS and Android devices. From April 2022, canvas Power Apps can be published as native apps without the need for the Power Apps launcher.

This has some great benefits for businesses and organisations that overcome some of the previous limitations, including:

  • Creating a unique and branded app icon and app name, which would appear on your phones home screens or app library/drawer
  • Visibility on the Apple App Store and Google Play Store, so users can more easily find and download your app
  • Fully branded and easier navigation to launch the app. When a user first loads the app, they can be greeted by a branded splash page and login page. They can then view a loading screen before the app home screen loads in place. This method is much more cohesive and attractive and should be a welcome change for users

2 – Conditional Access Policies to Secure Apps

Designed for enterprise solutions, this April 2022 update will leverage Azure AD’s Conditional Access to apply different access requirements based on user, location, app and more. This will help organisation restrict access to apps that require a higher level of security, such as finance/hr, without impacting apps that don't need this level of security.

The update will include:

  • Specifying whether apps will require multi-factor authentication or not. MFA is a great tool to help secure a device, but can slow down access for some apps that just don’t require this level of security
  • Choosing whether an app requires a local intranet connection. This will ensure that the app can only be accessed whilst the user is connected via the local network for enhanced security, great for the most sensitive information, or apps designed to be used only whilst on-site
  • Specifying whether the app requires a user’s device to be compliant with the organisation’s device management policies

3 – Filter Data in Power Apps Using Modern Advanced Find

From April 2022 you will be able to use the modern advanced find toolset to search and filter any table and data set within model-driven Power Apps. This will help change how you can view and interpret data through Power Apps, including:

  • Using structured search and filters to refine the data presented in any table. You can edit the columns and filters to create custom views that can help you see the exact information you need
  • You will be able to change views with a new view selector tool. You will also be able to create sets of views, hide and order views and control which lists of views you see across all apps and devices
  • Views can be shared with colleagues and team members to ensure everyone is seeing the same dataset

4 – Massive Upgrades to Power Fx

Across April and May 2022, Microsoft is planning to release a series of significant upgrades to the Power Fx toolsets, to improve performance, ease of use, features and more. Some of the highlights include:

  • Intelligent formula repair in Power Fx. Using AI, Power Apps will suggest fixes and errors in formulas to help speed up debugging and highlight issues earlier. Sometimes these issues might be small, such as an erroneous comma, but others might be more complex. Fortunately, the Program Synthesis using Examples technology will help debug many issues and will continuously improve over time
  • Command designer with Power Fx, which will enable Power Apps makers to easily create custom command bars and buttons in model-driven and converged apps. This includes using low-code Power Fx formulas for visibility and actions
  • Power Apps speed improvements using Power Fx named formulas. A common issue with many Power Apps is a slow initial load time. This is often caused due to the way variables are handled. This new method will use a named formula approach that creates a dependency and single source of truth between a name and a formula. This will also help improve development efficiency by simplifying the code used when specifying names formulas

5 - More Improvements & Changes Worth Noting

In addition to the above features we focused on, there are many other improvements, new features and changes worth mentioning:

  • In-app notifications will be supported for Model-driven apps from April 2022. These notifications feature a variety of configuration options, from multiple actions to custom icons, frequency and controls
  • A new share button will make it easier to share records from Power Apps. This feature will roll out from April 2022 and is a small quality of life change that will benefit many regular users
  • Users will be able to collaborate on the same app by merging changes. The Git method is an industry standard approach and will be supported in Power Apps as a public preview from June 2022. This change is going to help improve the workflow for many development teams across the world, who work on Power Apps
  • Power Apps will soon support dynamic schema in data sources, which creates very flexible and powerful new opportunities within Power Apps. This will also lead to support in future of SQL stored procedures
  • More speed boosts with data prefetch and cache management. Developers will soon be able to use declarative data prefetching and caching, which will optimise data access and improve app load times

These are just a few of the new Power Apps features we are looking forward to in Wave 1 2022. For the full list of Power Apps updates, view Microsoft’s update.

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