PowerApps 2021 Release Wave 1 – What’s New?

We are excited to see that Microsoft are releasing new updates and capabilities to PowerApps this year that are going to add significant improvements across the board. In this post today, we are going to explore all the features, new and planned.

Improved mobile accessibility for business process flows

This feature was released for general availability in April, and allows you to view important information about your business process flow on mobile including the name and time active.

The benefit of this new feature is that it provides a more seamless experience across your devices, and ensures you know which business process flow you are working with if you switch processes.

Global relevance search improvements in model-driven apps

Major improvements have been made within the search functionality for model-driven apps. These enhancements include:

  • Prominent and easily discoverable search bar at the top of all your pages
  • A personalised experience that contains your recent searches and recently accessed rows
  • Suggested results are displayed as you type that includes quick actions command – helping you complete tasks without navigating to the row
  • Intelligent results for all English language environments in the public cloud including synonyms, semantic parsing, abbreviations support and common world knowledge support
  • Redesigned results page that is easy to read and provides better ranking and grouping of your results

Simply turn on Relevance search and all these features will be on by default. These are some great improvements which help to personalise the search experience and allow you to find information easily and quickly. This feature has been released and is available for users.

Search Quick Actions

You can now see search results as you type, and have quick actions appear next to your search results. These will enable even more productivity in your work, as you can call, assign or share a contact row quickly without losing context.

Improved apps discovery and selection in Power Apps mobile

Microsoft have made the Power Apps mobile list experience more modern and intuitive in this new release. You can now discovery apps quickly to access, and new gestures will enable you to add apps to favourites, or pin apps for quick access.

More details about new features:

  • Apps are now organised into relevant categories such as favourites or recents and presented in a single view for better discovery
  • More relevant apps, such as favourites are presented front and center centre for quick selection
  • Newly introduced swipe gestures allow for you to pin apps to your home screen or add to favourites without the need for multiple clicks

Duplicate detection Unified Interface experience

Released in April, this setting is now the default user experience. Within this new experience you can quickly find and manage records with easier access to merge duplicates and keep the records you want.

When merging a record, any related child records will also be merged. With the help of Microsoft Dataverse, you can address potential issues by detecting duplicates within active records like accounts and contacts. You can also choose up to two records to merge from the view or list page, and merge data into a single record with the new Unified Interface merge record dialog experience.

Multi-line text controls expand in Quick View forms

Now, you don’t need to click and scroll to see all the information within a multi-line text field within Quick view forms. The fields will automatically expand to show the full content when the Quick View form is loaded on a page.

This feature was released in April.

UX improvements to sub grids and form tabs in Dynamics 365 for phones and tablets app

Microsoft have made improvements to the usability of how data is presented on a form for model-driven apps on Dynamics 365 for phones and tablets, for both iOS and Android.

Sub grids now have a prominent header that separates them from the rest of the selections on the form.

Form tabs are easily discoverable as you can now scroll and span horizontally across the screen. When selecting a tab, it will adjust the header to reveal the next few tabs.

Jump bar has been removed from grids, and you have the option to Search this View at the top of the grid instead of a command.

Commands in the sub grid are updated to show up in a drawer from the bottom of the screen, consistent with page-level commands.

Converging canvas into model-driven apps with the custom page

This new feature will allow app makers and customisers to create pages with more flexibility and use low-ode authoring.

A new page type called custom page is the core of the converging model and canvas apps. Using the new modern app designer, the converged model-driven app was created. This allows you to create new or add existing custom pages. Each custom page is a separate solution element like the model-driven app forms.

The custom page is a full-page experience similar to the model view, form and dashboard pages.

The canvas designer is used to design pages. When editing a custom page, designers focus on the page instead of a standalone canvas app using different defaults and simplified tooling. New layout containers allow you to resize and reflow the custom page.

This feature has not been released yet but is in the pipeline.

Organise business logic in your app with components

Soon you will be able to use the Power Apps formula language to create reusable business logic across apps tied to data events.

This enables makers to build apps with complex business logic quickly, using Excel-like language in reusable components within and across apps.

The feature is set for public preview in August, with release to public dates to be announced.

In-app notifications for model-driven apps

Release dates for this feature have yet to be announced, but public preview will be available in August.

Users can now be notified about key items to address. Notifications are directed to specific users and can be sent through external systems, Power Automate or from within the system.

For this feature, app makers need to opt in to make notifications appear for users.

This is the full list of features that have been announced and are yet to be released to Power Apps. PowerApps is a low-code application development platform for Dynamics 365, allowing you to dramatically lower the cost, complexity and time of software development through low-code development tools, deep data platform and hundreds of connectors to common business data sources.

If you are interested in utilising Power Apps in your organisation and Microsoft environment, please get in touch with our team at 365 Mechanix.