Top New Power App Features from 2020

Happy New Year everyone!

As we enter 2021, here is a list of some my favourite features that were new in 2020.

1.    Canvas formulas – ThisRecord, As, Sequence, With

Several new keywords were added, including ThisRecord, As, Sequence, and With.
Notably, the With and As keywords make it easier to build readable, and delegable formula. Effectively, they enable us to alias the objects that we reference in formula. Prior to these enhancements, we would often need to construct formula with complex disambiguation syntax, especially in cases where we nest Filter and Lookup functions.

2.    Dataverse Rename

A big event was the rename of CDS to Dataverse, and the rename of CDS objects such as Entity to Table.
Moving forwards, I think this will help many users. Most people are probably more familiar with the term Table, whereas Entity is a term that resonates more with IT Pros/developers. This change in naming will make Dataverse more inviting to users, particularly those who are starting to explore this feature.
Strategically, the introduction of the ‘Dataverse for Teams’ is also very significant and will positively encourage the adoption of this platform.

3.    Enhanced Mobile support

Enhanced mobile support was a great feature that was added in 2020. Specifically, the addition of Model Driven App support in the mobile player in early 2020.
Later in the year, the addition of offline support for custom tables (entities) in Model Driven Apps was a big development. This feature makes it easier to build offline capable apps Model Driven Apps, compared to Canvas apps where we still need to struggle with SaveData, LoadData, and connection signal functions.

4.    Introduction of Test Studio

Test Studio was a big feature that was added in 2020. Prior to this, there was no testing framework - a feature that many IT Pros would expect. The ability to create tests makes it possible to improve the quality of our apps by confirming that any changes that we make, do not break existing functionality.

5.    Addition of TDS Support to Dataverse

Finally, a great enhancement was the addition of TDS (Tabular Data Stream) support in Dataverse. TDS is the protocol that SQL Server uses, and this enhancement makes it easier to access data in Dataverse. For example, we can use Management Studio to issue SQL queries that join multiple tables. At the moment, this feature provides read-only access, but it would be great for a future enhancement to provide writable access.

Final words...

With the Covid pandemic, 2020 took an unexpected turn for many of us. I’m pleased that Power Apps and the Power Platform could help so many organisations by providing a simple way to digitalise, and to build systems to support employees that work most at home.
I trust that this progression will continue and I look forward to seeing many more enhancements and features in 2021.