Power Apps Preview Program

Microsoft has released a new PowerApps Preview Program.

build-on-platform_33This is a welcome idea, as there are certain to be more and more new capabilities and features that Microsoft would PowerApps developers (people like us) to start working with – both to allow the developers to get a headstart with new applications, and for Microsoft to get an idea about how the new features are performing.

Why do we need a Preview Program? Can’t Microsoft just ship the features?

While tempting to have Microsoft ship everything immediately, and many features are shared with us this way, there are also large features that may have an impact on earlier features, that may require that your code and app be re-designed slightly, or that the code be built in a different way to take advantage of the newer capabilities.

In a run-time interpreted app like PowerApps, it is also easy to understand how the first versions of related features may be working together, and can be exposed to public PowerApp developers, but all of the safety code to ensure that features work reliably well with previous features, may not be complete. So, this means we need a Sandbox environment to test the Preview capabilities in. For PowerApps, what do we use for sandbox environments? Environments.

env3Microsoft has created a new Environment where they have published the preview capabilities. For now, this means all you have to do is to build your new or updated PowerApp in the “Preview (United States)” environment. I’m sure that as the Preview capabilities find traction and usage increases, that there will be environments in other geographies.

The new environment works with a new PowerApps web portal, a new PowerApps web player, and there will be new capabilities in the preview version of the PowerApps admin center.



So, what are the new features?

It will be interesting to see which features and capabilities Microsoft determines are worthy of the preview environment and which get deployed directly into the mainline application, or if even the simple features will take the side journey through the preview environment. Of course, if all the features go through the Preview environment, then who’s to say how many flavors of preview environments we may end up with in the future? 🙂

In today’s announcement, the new features and capabilities weren’t specifically mentioned. PowerApps will publish a list of these as they roll out, titled, “What’s new in PowerApps.”  Other places to watch are the the PowerApps Blog, as well as this O365 Toolman blog.

Other Important Items

  • There is no preview for the Desktop version of the studio. (Use the Web Studio)
  • Preview not available for mobile devices (have to wait for released capabilities)
  • Common Data Service databases not supported in Preview yet (working on this)



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