September 25, 2021

Power Apps: Microsoft Power Fx

There were some rumors about this, and they materialized in Microsoft’s Ignite 2021. Microsoft introduced Power Fx, an open-source programming language based on Excel.

I have to start by saying that Microsoft was brilliant by introducing Power Fx. Millions of people use Excel daily. Still, they don’t want to think of themselves as “programmers” or “developing” something. That’s for the IT people. But writing complex formulas in Excel is not as different as what developers do. Bringing this to the Power Platform is key since it solves one of the biggest issues.

I hear many people saying, “I thought that this was easier,” referring to the formulas that need to be developed. But if people are familiar with Excel, that gap disappears.

The language

It’s open-source. Not a big deal for the “business users” that use the Power Platform, but a huge step to all of us who want to extend it to do much more than is possible now. Let’s look at the major advantages.

Power Fx is expressed in a human-friendly text.

Again, low-code platforms are not built for developers. They are built for everyone, and having a simple language allows more people to get into it quicker, do what they need to do, and go back to their tasks.

It’s built for everyone.

I like a lot what Microsoft has to say about this:

The “low” in low-code is due to the concise and simple nature of the language, making common programming tasks easy for both makers and developers. It enables the full spectrum of development from no-code for those who have never programmed before to “pro-code” for the seasoned professional, with no learning or rewriting cliffs in between, enabling diverse teams to collaborate and save time and expense.

Developers who want to expand and build complex applications can also do it. It democratizes the way that apps are built. We can even think that business owners start the app and develop the basic logic, and then pro developers take it from there. Think about the possibilities:

  1. Business Owners develop the requirements instead of writing them.
  2. The teams collaborate using low-code tools, where each contributes in their strong points—developers on the hard development tasks and users on the business logic.
  3. Iterations become faster since anyone can make changes.

It’s always live

I love this part. Like excel, once we change a formula, we see the changes; there’s no need to compile anything. You can see the changes live. It makes it simpler for business users who want to develop stuff without thinking that they are developing. They are only using Excel-like formulas.

Final thoughts

I introduced a few days back a new lineup for this website. I wasn’t thinking yet on Power Fx since I didn’t try it yet, but I sense a new reference coming shortly 😀.

There’s a lot to explore, and Microsoft has an amazing overview of how it works and the advantages. You’ll be impressed, I’m sure, so please take a look and explore it.

Power Fx is the single biggest step that Microsoft took into making the Power Platform accessible to the masses and allowing people to use the skills that they already possess.

Have a suggestion of your own or disagree with something I said? Leave a comment or interact on Twitter and be sure to check out other Power Apps-related articles here.

Photo by Kaleidico on Unsplash

Manuel Gomes

I'm a Project Manager with experience in large projects and companies. I've worked in the past for companies like Bayer, Sybase (now SAP) and I'm currently working for Pestana Hotel Group.

View all posts by Manuel Gomes →

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