The four apps that make up the Microsoft Power Platform family have long provided companies with the tools they need for business intelligence, app development, and app connectivity. Recently, Microsoft announced that the Power Platform family is growing. Portals, once a part of the Power Apps product, is growing up. Now, it is becoming a standalone web development tool called Power Pages. In this post, we’ll explore where Power Pages comes from and what makes it stand out from the pack
The Rise of No-Code/Low-Code Solutions
As computers grow more powerful, they control more and more aspects of a modern business. This presents both a problem and the solution to that problem. In order for businesses to operate as efficiently as possible, automating as many processes as possible is important. However, making all of the moving pieces of a modern tech stack work together requires advanced technical skills. No-code and low-code solutions use the power of modern computers to replace the skill required with easy-to-use drag and drop interfaces. These types of tools bring the power of automation to those without an extensive technical background.
Microsoft Power Platform
Microsoft Power Platform is the tech giant’s answer to the demand for no-code and low-code applications. With the addition of Power Pages, Power Platform is a suite of five products that provide great power to the user without the need for great coding and development skills. The products also work alone or in tandem to cover a range of tasks important to business owners. The first four of the five products in the Power Platform family are:
Power Apps enable everyone to build complex applications that would have once required a development team to create. The product includes prebuilt AI tools for extra power, as well as a growing list of connectors that allow the tool to interface with other products and platforms. Apps can be built and shared on any device.
Using simple, visual-based, drag-and-drop designs, Power Automate allows users to connect to a list of compatible tools, including other products in the Power Platform family in order to automate complex tasks. Using built-in AI tools, Power Automate can quickly process forms, identify images, and more.
Today’s data-driven businesses need a robust set of analytics to make informed decisions across a variety of business processes. Power BI provides easily customizable business intelligence that puts important information specific to a given business in front of the members of staff who need to see it. The advanced tools built into the software make it easy to extract meaningful insights from the data.
Power Virtual Agents
Customers and employees alike can benefit from a well-developed chatbot. Power Virtual Agents makes it simple for anyone to develop virtual chat systems that can interact with other tools in the Power Platform family and beyond to perform meaningful actions in response to the conversation. The self-learning AI helps to improve the naturalness of the conversation as it interacts with users.
Introducing Power Pages
We’ve seen how Power Apps can be used to create engaging and complex applications with minimal effort. One of the tools available for the product is called Portals. Power Apps Portals is all about creating human-readable views into data stored in Microsoft Dataverse or Dynamics 365. Further, the newest addition to the Power Platform suite is an extension of Power Apps Portals. Power Pages takes the concept of using back-end data to create front-end views and expands upon it. An end result is a tool that can quickly create powerful interactive websites, powered by everything Power Platform has to offer.
Power Pages Features
In order to transform Power Apps Portals into a fully-featured web development platform, Microsoft had to greatly expand the feature set of the software. The new offering comes packed with several new features based on the needs of web development. Inside Power Pages are the following new tools:
Power Pages Design Studio
This is the heart of the product. Design Studio is where users build out the actual design of their site. Several workspaces are available within Design Studio. There is a separate workspace for creating individual pages, crafting the perfect global styling of the site, and making the data connections required for the site to function. In addition, a fourth workspace is where administrators can change permissions and other settings.
Like all Power Platform products, Power Pages is designed to be used by people without an extensive technical background. That doesn’t mean that there isn’t anything to learn, however. Thankfully, Microsoft has created a dedicated section that goes over all of the important topics users will need to know in order to create compelling websites for their company’s customers and other visitors.
Power Pages Templates
Although Design Studio provides users with tools to create rich web experiences that allow for complex interactions, Power Pages still makes it even easier to craft a new site by providing a collection of templates. These templates include connections with demo data so users can get a feel for how everything goes together before adapting the template to their own needs.
Tools for Advanced Users
Just because Power Pages is simple to use doesn’t mean it doesn’t have tools for more advanced developers. The product integrates seamlessly with development tools such as GitHub, Visual Studio Code, and Azure DevOps. These integrations allow power users to further automate their development workflow.
Tools for Security and Governance
Inside the product are tools for company administrators to control who has access to the software. But it may also be desirable to control who has access to the website itself. Creating and managing the security of the content and data accessible through the website is also possible using the tools built into Power Pages.
Learn More About Power Pages
No-code and low-code solutions are making it easier than ever for people to cut back on the need for expensive IT departments while still retaining the power to create complex customized computing applications. Microsoft’s Power Pages is the next entry into the tradition. If you need help getting up to speed with Power Pages, or you have more complex IT needs, contact Agile IT today to learn how we can help.