Public availability of ‘PowerApps Component Framework’ – An important milestone for PowerApps and D365

This is going to be a game-changer, think about the rich User Experience this can offer and the components are totally reusable, just like the solutions. Can’t emphasize the importance further.

PCFBlog

It is currently only available for Model Driven Apps and availability of Canvas Apps will be coming soon.

This blog is an introduction of ‘PowerApps component framework’ and it’s a consolidation of information that has been collected from a few posts and announcements.  There will be posts coming up on creating custom components.

What is ‘PowerApps component framework’?

It is the foundation for the new Unified Interface released with Dynamics 365 for Customer Engagement apps version 9.0 which uses responsive web design principles to provide an optimal viewing and interaction experience for any screen size, device, or orientation.

Custom components have access to a rich set of framework APIs which expose capabilities like control lifecycle management, contextual data and metadata access, seamless server access, utility and data formatting methods, device features like camera, location and microphone along with easy to invoke UX elements like dialogs, lookups, and full-page rendering, etc.

How it Works?

Custom components are a type of solution component, which means they can be included in a solution and installed in different environments.

You add custom components by including them in a solution and then importing it into the system. Once they are in the system, admin and system customizers can configure form fields, sub-grids, views, and dashboard sub-grids to use them in place of default component.

Custom components are comprised of three components:

  1. Manifest
  2. Component implementation library
  3. Resources

We will see the implementation in detail in coming posts.

What is it for Business Users?

Rich amazing UX experience and amazing data visualization. In short, more business! Yaay!

What is it for Developers?

3rd party developers can build compelling visual components in PowerApps and Dynamics 365 using the same framework which the Microsoft team uses! Now, how cool is that?

For example:

  1. Replace a field that displays a numeric text value with a dial or slider component.
  2. Transform a list into an entirely different visual experience bound to the data set like a Calendar or Map.

Advantages

  1. Reusability – Components are created using the framework are fully configurable and can be reused on multiple surfaces in the app like forms, dashboards, grids, business process etc.
  2. Packaging – Component definition, dependencies, and configurations can all be packaged into a solution and moved across environments and shipped via app source.

 PowerApps component framework is a preview feature.

Custom components are supported only on Unified Interface for model-driven apps version 9.1.0.3842 or later.

Limitations:

Support for external libraries
For a public preview, components should bundle all code including external library content into the primary code bundle.

Reference: https://docs.microsoft.com/en-us/powerapps/developer/component-framework/overview

Microsoft PowerApps CLI for a developer:

Command line interface enabling you to build custom components for PowerApps faster and more efficiently.

  1. The CLI will assist you with component creation by guiding you through predefined creation steps.
  2. It provides a harness for quickly testing, debugging and visualizing your custom component.
  3. Each development step has built-in validations which minimize chances for mistakes.
  4. Help menus are available to guide each step of the development process

PCF2

Upcoming capabilities:

  1. Support for React-based virtual controls
  2. PowerApps component framework support for canvas apps

Do not forget to like and share this post. Happy Learning!

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