Wednesday, June 19, 2019

Dynamics 365 monthly reading list May 2019

Technical topics (Configuration, customization and extensibility)

Topics for Dynamics 365 Business Application Platform analysts, project managers and power users

Wednesday, June 05, 2019

PowerApps Component Framework available in public preview

On April 23th the PowerApps Component Framework (PCF) and the PowerApps CLI was finally made available for public preview. The PowerApps Component Framework (PCF) is the foundation for all controls used in the new Unified Interface released with Dynamics 365.

PCF allows 3d party developers to build visual components using the same framework which is used internally by Microsoft (see picture below for some examples) in the unified interface.

Components created using the PowerApps Control Framework are solution aware and can be used to build a more compelling user experience. The Dynamics365 developer community immediately picked up on this exciting news and Andrew Ly already shared the source code for 3 different controls  - Progressbar control , keybinding example  and countdowntimer.

Guido Preite  @crmanswers also set up PCF Gallery which contains a list of different controls like a timeline control, data card and UK postcode validator. Everyday new controls based on PCF are added.

The PowerApps Component Framework has been in private preview for quite a while but some details were already shared on a number of occasions in 2018. Initially the framework was called Custom Controls Framework and I you encourage to take a look at some interesting post from Bob Guidinger on this topic (see references below). Do keep in mind that there are some changes between the private preview and public preview – see Update existing custom components for more details.

You will notice from the documentation that most samples are using Typescript to implement custom components so I added also some other reference links below which might help you to get started. For a brief introduction you might also want to take a look at the PowerApps April community call recording (PCF presented from 00:47:00 onwards). One thing to note though is that this is a framework which is clearly targeted at professional developers so the Dynamics consultant who occasionally writes some Javascript web resources or some simple plugins in C# will face a steep learning curve. I even think that pure Javascript/.NET developers even have an edge on the average Dynamics consultant when trying to learn the necessary skills required for PCF development.