Formulas - The Power Apps canvas app language now has a name!

Up till now, the language we use to build canvas apps didn't have a name. In an exciting development, Microsoft have now extracted the canvas formulas and syntax into an independent language called Power Fx. This post describes why this is good news for app builders.

At the Ignite 2021 conference yesterday (02 Feb 21), Microsoft announced the creation of an open source language called Power Fx. The basis of this langauge is the formulaic language that we currently use to build canvas apps.

Why is this announcement so interesting?

This announcement is very interesting for two reasons:

  • Power Fx will become the common language that products in the Power Platform will use
  • Power Fx will be open source
According to the announcement, Microsoft will work towards integrating Power Fx into Power Virtual Agents, Dataverse, and model-driven apps. A common language between all of these products will be great news, if it works out in the way that we expect. Take for example, the formula that we use to define calculated columns in Dataverse. The syntax we use here is different to the one that we use in canvas apps.

Likewise, the primary way to extend a model-driven app is to write custom JavaScript. This language isn't easy for citizen developers". Therefore, the ability to extend an app using "Excel like" formulas will make it much easier.

The announcement that Power Fx will be open source is also good news. This opens the possibility for app builders to contribute towards the future syntax and structure of the language. It also paves the possibility for products outside of Microsoft to also use the Power Fx language. Standardisation and wider adoption of a language throughout the industry makes it easier for everyone. An analogy here would be the way that portal apps have adopted the Liquid language, which was made open source by Shopify.

Where can we find more about Power Fx?

The link to the official documenation is here:

The link to the open source GitHub repository for Power Fx is here:

Finally, there is a great blog post by Greg Lindhorst on the Power Apps blog here.


Power Fx will become the common language that products in the Power Platform will use. The creation of a common language will make it easier for Power Platform users because it means that app builders can learn a single language, and use it throughout all the products in Power Platform family. An analogy here would be the VBA language and traditional Microsoft Office.
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