Microsoft Build and Power Platform
From May 25 to 27, Microsoft will welcome developers from around the world to discover innovations, learn new skills and connect as a community. In a recent blog post, Amanda Silver (Vice President of Product, Developer Division at Microsoft) explained how developers are using technology as a positive force in the face of daunting stresses brought on by the Covid-19 pandemic. Inspirational thoughts and a great backdrop for this year’s Build 2021, the second free all-digital event.
Every year, Microsoft publishes the Microsoft Build Book of News, a guide to improvements and integrations covering the entire Microsoft development platform across Visual Studio, GitHub, Microsoft Azure, Power Platform, Windows, and Microsoft 365. In this article, I will highlight three improvements: Process Advisor and GPT3 for Microsoft Power Platform and Azure Synapse link for Microsoft Dataverse
A quick tour of Microsoft Power Platform
Back in the day, performing data analysis, building an application, or automating a process would require a request with demands on the IT department, then waiting several weeks or months for something to be done. The Microsoft Power platform enables a non-technical user to immediately create, automate, and analyze data on their own without coding knowledge.
Power Platform consists of three Microsoft technologies. Power BI is a business analysis tool for analyzing and making sense of complex data.
PowerApps, as the name suggests, is used to create low-code applications. A software development approach with low code applications requires little or no coding to develop applications and processes. With Power automation, you can create automated workflows between Microsoft services or other third-party applications.
The platform integrates with Office 365 and other third-party applications made possible by Microsoft Dataverse (formerly known as Common Data Service), the foundation that allows applications and services to interact.
Microsoft Power Platform – Process Advisor
Process Advisor adds a process exploration feature in Power Automate. Process Advisor will identify the repetitive activities that take the most time in an organization. Process advisor then recommend what to automate, indicating organizational bottlenecks.
Robotic Process Automation (RPA) tools already exist in Power Automate. RPA tools essentially configure software, or a ârobot,â to emulate human actions. It can be as simple as an automatic reply to an email to the complex automation of tasks in an ERP system.
Process Advisor, together with robotic process automation (RPA), enables users without deep coding capability to automate mundane and repetitive tasks. In short, Microsoft makes it easy to prioritize the processes best suited for automation.
Microsoft Power Platform – GPT3
Generative Pre-Training Transformer 3 (GPT-3), created by OpenAI, is an auto-regressive language model (predicts future behavior based on past behavior) that uses deep learning to produce human-like text. It will help users to create applications without needing to know how to write computer code or formulas..
Microsoft Power Fx is the low-code open source programming language used in PowerApps. The integration of GPT-3 will allow developers to build applications using natural language – no coding required.
For example, GPT-3 will interpret conversational language as “find products whose name begins with” Microsoft “.” And then will display choices to turn the order into a Microsoft Power Fx formula, such as “Filter (‘BC Orders’ Left (” Product Name “, 4) =” Microsoft “).
Power Fx is based on Microsoft Excel, which is much easier to use than traditional coding languages, but creating complex data queries can still be a steep learning curve. That said, to be successful you still need to understand the logic of writing formulas that might look like this: FirstN (Sort (Search (‘BC Orders’, “stroller”, “aib_productname”), ‘Purchase Date’, Descending ), ten).
With the functionality based on GPT-3, a person can achieve the same result by typing in simple language like: âShow 10 orders that have a stroller in the product name and sort by date of purchase with the most recent at the top. ”
The features do not replace the need for a person to understand the implemented code, but rather help people learn the Power Fx programming language and help them choose the right formulas to get the right result. This can greatly expand access to building more advanced applications and train people to use low-code tools faster.
These enhancements allow three scenarios: natural language to Power FX code, the reverse where Power FX code turns into natural language, and a third scenario of importing a data model to train a model.
A quick introduction to Microsoft Dataverse
At first glance, Microsoft Dataverse looks like a database with tables, columns, rows, and relationships. This shouldn’t come as a surprise since Dataverse has its roots in the Microsoft Azure SQL Database. But that’s where the similarity ends, because Dataverse has a built-in business application layer.
Power Platform components such as Power Apps, Power BI, and Power Automate interact with Dataverse directly or through built-in connectors.
Azure Synapse link for Dataverse
Azure Synapse Link is a cloud-native hybrid transactional and analytical processing (HTAP) service. It is a single data platform that can support transaction processing and analytical processing on the same dataset, enabling near real-time analysis of operational data.
Developers working in Microsoft Power applications or Dynamics 365 can use Azure Synapse Link to perform predictive analytics, enrich existing data with other enterprise data sets, and explore data lakes or other large data repositories.
The Power Platform is a big area of ââinvestment for Microsoft and I expect more updates over time. Power Platform is strategic in that it is the glue that easily connects services like Microsoft 365, Dynamics 365, and Azure with a low-code approach, even without code. It’s very unique and it’s hard for me to even name a competitive build.
Microsoft is using AI to help with some of the more mundane elements of coding and expressing formulas, expanding the pool of people who can use the tools, and allowing seasoned developers to focus on more complex problems.
In this article, I’ve zoomed in on just three of the improvements that will be on display. Whether you’re a seasoned software developer, data scientist, or low-code âcitizen developerâ, there is something for you in Microsoft Build 2021.
You can find out more about the event and register to attend here. See you there virtually!
Note: The editors and editors of Moor Insights & Strategy may have contributed to this article.
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