At today's Microsoft build conference, there were many interesting announcements for Power App builders. The most prominent included the introduction of an AI-based approach for writing formula, and the announcement of how model driven apps will now use Power FX as a language.
Another interesting session was Julie Strauss's talk on 'Visual Studio Extensions for Power Platform', which is scheduled for release next month (June 2021).
For organisations with separate teams of professional developers and low code app builders, this enhancement enables teams to more easily work together to build integrated apps.
How will the 'Visual Studio Extensions for Power Platform' help app builders?
Julie's session highlighted a use case scenario from Toyota. In this use-case, the pro-developers built Azure functions with .NET code using Visual Studio. The example featured a C# function that retrieves vehicle details by VIN number. With the new version of Visual Studio, the developer can now publish the Azure function directly into Azure API Management without leaving Visual Studio.
Next, the developer visits the API Managment services section of the Azure portal and can choose an option to export the API to the Power Platform (shown beneath).
Why this process benefits the low code app builders
Whilst the previous steps may not be too spectacular, this process offers the greatest benefit for app builders.
When the developer exports the API to the Power Platform, it publishes the API as what Microsoft call a "first class datasource". This means that the custom API becomes visible as a top level item from the data panel.
This is great news for app builders because unlike today, there'll be no need to struggle with the complex task of creating custom connectors, which typically involves the tricky task of understadning Swagger/Open API definitions.
The 'Visual Studio Extensions for Power Platform' (scheduled for release in June 2021), will provide a great step towards helping pro-developers and Power Platform app builders build integrated solutions. There are more details here in the official anouncement here: