Designer - New updates to the Power Apps fixes SQL Server naming problem and adds the ability to rename connections
June 21. 2021
The Power Apps designer now fixes a problem that relates to the new SQL Server naming convention, and it also includes the ability to rename custom connectors and 'action connectors' from an app. This post describes these two new features.
There have recently been two notable improvements to Power Apps Studio. The first improvement is that it fixes a problem that relates to the new naming convention that Power Apps uses to name SQL Server tables and objects. The second is that introduces the ability to rename non-action connections, such as connections to custom connectors. Let's now look at these improvements in more detail.
Re-adding a SQL Server table/view no longer breaks an appIn April 2021, Microsoft introduced a change to naming convention that it uses to identify SQL Server tables and views in an app.
In the past, Power Apps would name connections to SQL Server tables in the format that includes the schema and table name (eg, '[dbo].[issue]'). Microsoft's view is that the schema name is generally redundant and from April 2021, any new connections to SQL Server tables and views will not include the schema prefix.
This new naming convention is tidier so why does this cause a problem? The reason is because when an app builder removes and re-adds a table or view, any existing references to the table/view will become invalid. Because there are usually multiple references to table/view names throughout an app (in formula, galleries, forms etc), it becomes an enormous task to rename all of these objects.
Microsoft have acknowledged this as a bug and great news is that it is now fixed. To demonstrate, let's take the example of an old app that connects to a SQL table called Issue. The formulas, galleries, and forms refer to this table as '[dbo].[Issue]'
If we now delete and re-add the table, Power Apps renames all instances of '[dbo].[Issue]' to [Issue] . As the screenshot beneath shows, it renames all references of the table in formula.
We can now rename 'action connections' /Connection to custom connectorsThe second improvement to the designer is that it's now possible to rename action connections. These are connections to data sources such as custom connectors.
This improvement can help tidy formulas, particularly in cases where we've ended up with connections that are suffixed with "_1", or cases where custom connector names are not very meaningful.
As an example, here's an example of a custom connector called PostCodeAPI. We would access this connector in formula through the identifier "PostCodeAPI". From the data panel, we can now rename this connection through the Rename menu item.
When we rename a connection, the designer also renames any existing references to the connection in formula to the new name.
The important thing to note here is that it is only action connections that we can rename. It's not possible to rename connections to SQL tables/SharePoint lists, or Microsoft Automate Flows, but I hope that Microsoft will add this feature soon.