Have you looked at the MBAS Gallery yet? Microsoft Business Applications Summit 2019 was last week and already the majority of sessions have been published online for also non-attendees to enjoy. Even if you attended the conference in Atlanta, there’s a chance that you may have missed a few sessions, with there being 200+ of them in 2+1 days.
Live recordings of sessions are nice – if you have ~200 hours to sit through them, that is. As is the case with podcasts, I rarely come across a moment in my life where there would be empty space just waiting to be filled with a 1h chunk of audio/video of people talking about something that might or might not be valuable to me. On the other hand, I’m very comfortable with skimming through endless amounts of text & pictures, in search of something that warrants my real attention and further processing. That’s where PowerPoint slides are just awesome. Bullets, tables, charts, diagrams, screenshots, OH YES!
Last week I started going through the MBAS session catalog and downloading the slide decks for interesting sessions. (I’m not the only one who hoards PPTXs from MS events, check out MVP Jussi Roine’s blog for his tips on learning quick as a consultant.) Now I’ve got a folder with 115 PowerPoint files weighing in at 4.5 Gigabytes. Hmm, looks like some further prioritization is still needed to narrow these down. Well, one thing’s for sure: I know where I want to start diving into the content. The future of business apps awaits in this session:
Run One UI – the future of canvas, model-driven, and Unified Interface in PowerApps (BRK2073)
For those with Dynamics 365 Customer Engagement background, the topic of user interface unification might lead your thoughts to Unified Interface. Originally announced 2 years ago, this new client infrastructure aims to do away with the earlier divide between web client, phone, tablet and Outlook. More importantly, it’s a foundation for unbundling the application specific UI controls from the platform and opening up the road for everyone to build the kinds of controls that Sales, Service, Marketing and all the other 1st party apps contain. That story is called PCF and it’s a big deal for sure, but something even bigger is on its way.
This “One UI” does not simply look at the Dynamics side of the house, rather it encompasses the whole app story in Power Platform. Ever since XRM merged with PowerApps, we’ve had this somewhat awkward divide between Canvas apps and Model-driven apps. These terms don’t mean much anything to customers when explaining them the platform capabilities. For the Dynamics professionals the concept of a “Model-driven PowerApp” sounds artificial. While on the back end the CDS, admin and developer story is coming together quite nicely, on the front end we see two experiences with not too much in common – today.
We’ve already heard Charles Lamanna make a statement that Microsoft has no intentions of keeping the app types in PowerApps separate:
“Artificial limitations in app features will be removed, so that choosing [File – New App] will give you model or canvas experiences and everything will work across both.”Power 365 Show: Power Platform Changes and Answering Community Questions with Charles Lamanna
Sounds cool! But how exactly are they going to pull off this merging of the two client frameworks with a very different history? On the platform side it was fairly simple as XRM probably offered a lot of what CDS v1 was capable of and turning it into CDS v2 was not a big issue due to low adoption rate of the less mature technology of the two. PowerApps Canvas apps on the other hand have a huge momentum going on and the number of apps in production is exploding. Dynamics 365 CE ain’t doing too bad either when it comes to growth figures in the cloud, so messing too much with it sound very risky. After all, we’re still waiting for many existing customers to even move from the classic web client to Unified Interface, so do we really need more confusion in this space?
In the Run One UI session at MBAS we heard Clay Wesener present the master plan of how the two different app types will gradually turn into one PowerApp. Here it is:
This is really just mashing together the start and end state from Clay’s presentation, so this time you really should reserve an hour of your time and watch the recording, to understand the finer details. And grab the slides for reference, naturally.
A key part of the plan is that this won’t happen in a big bang. There won’t be an “Even MORE Unified Interface” launched at some grandiose marketing event, rather Microsoft will introduce capabilities from one app type to the other in a gradual fashion. PCF just arrived on Model-driven Apps as a public preview, soon it will start showing up on the Canvas side, too. Canvas Components are bringing the more structured way to define the UI into the previously blank canvas where each pixel used to run free, making it more like the grown up version familiar from enterprise business applications. These new parts are all about blurring the lines between Canvas and Model.[Read more…]