Microsoft uncovered a wide range of new capabilities for its Power Platform at its Build 2023 conference. These features are aimed at disrupting app creation and empowering professional and citizen developers with low-code tools.
The company claims that because low-code solutions enable rapid and cost-effective application development while bringing down the complexity involved with traditional software development, professional developers are increasingly embracing them.
Optimizing on the trend, Microsoft believes that developers can increase their productivity and accelerate the process of developing solutions with the new upgrades to its all-inclusive low-code Power Platform. Power Platform presents developers with tools to build unique tailored applications, automate workflows, and effectively manage information throughout their organizations.
Latest feature: Low-code + cutting-edge AI
The most recent updates from Microsoft Build 2023 include cutting-edge AI features envisioned to enhance development practices and transform operations. The improvements include drag-and-drop components, pre-built templates, and intuitive visual interfaces. Microsoft said that developers would also become more agile, quickly adapting to evolving market conditions and satisfying clients’ dynamic needs. The goal is to let developers focus on higher-level activities than the complications of coding.
The platform offers extensive low-code tools that boost [developers’] productivity thanks to more than 1,000 built-in data connectors, sturdy platform components, and simple development environments. According to Charles Lamanna, CVP of business applications and platform at Microsoft, “The AI-powered Power Platform Copilot further speeds up low-code development in a really intriguing manner. Low code already makes developers go faster, but AI plus low code makes devs run even faster.”
Among the new capabilities, Copilot in Power Pages stands out since it streamlines and accelerates website building using generative AI. Moreover, programmers can quickly create text just by using natural language descriptions using Copilot as their digital copy editor, driving efficient content creation. Furthermore, by automatically creating tables in the Microsoft Dataverse based on natural language input, Copilot in Power Pages makes it easier to construct data-centric forms.
This ground-breaking application also helps with creating images, customizing themes, and generating web page layouts while enabling the production of aesthetically pleasing websites.
The seamless integration of a Power Virtual Agents chatbot into the Power Pages site is an added benefit of Copilot in Power Pages. Through generative AI, the chatbot can instantly respond to user inquiries. With natural language and intelligent suggestions, this integration speeds up the building of websites and improves the user experience.
“Developers can be far more agile than before. Just by specifying the user experience that they desire; AI can automatically build it for them. Alternatively, developers can supply sample data for an application and have AI automatically create the data schema and app.
This will take out app development’s struggle and give them time to write code.” said Lamanna.
Generative AI to enable fast-tracking app development
At Build 2023, Microsoft emphasized its dedication to promoting innovation and breaking down barriers in the tech sector. It claimed that during the past three months, it had focused on creating AI capabilities that will completely alter how organizations and people conduct themselves.
Power Platform’s regulated environments now include a library of enterprise-approved templates and components to boost developers’ productivity further. Using this capability, professional developers can streamline the application development process by publishing artifacts like apps, flows, and bots. As a result, the process of creating apps is accelerated, and an audit trail guarantees accountability and transparency. Microsoft said these developments allow IT managers to efficiently regulate and maintain their app ecosystems. By reducing duplication, encouraging engagement between developers and makers, and creating a cohesive environment where the components can be shared around the entire organization, they achieve that.
Enhancements in Copilot
Microsoft has enhanced Copilot, as well, the generative AI tool in Power Apps that speeds up app development. The tool enables intuitive conversation-driven interactions to optimize app functionality and user experience. It allows developers to incorporate screens and controls using natural language and extract insights from unstructured Excel data.
Copilot generates web page layouts in Power Pages, customizes themes, and creates images for quick website building with visual control. It also automates data-centric form creation and integrates chatbots for instant responses using natural language input. Power BI now integrates Copilot to turn data into insights, as unveiled in Build 2023. The integration covers creating reports, DAX calculation editing, and text summaries of data insights with adaptable narratives. Users can describe visuals and insights, and Copilot can generate them accordingly. Overall, Copilot accelerates app development, simplifies website building, and improves data analysis and reporting capabilities in Power Apps and Power BI.
Facilitating chatbot development with agent development tools
With Power Virtual Agents, Microsoft also aims to reinvent the process of creating bots. Thanks to generative AI, developers can now construct chatbots that have in-depth, multi-turn discussions with clients. The new Generative Actions engine allows the bot to grasp user requests, examine its inventory of APIs, actions, and tools, and independently assemble the parts required to fulfill the request.
According to Lamanna, this method speeds up bot creation by decreasing the time needed to construct conversations node by node. Additionally, it enables developers to effectively curate information resources and tools, increasing the overall effectiveness of the bot-building process.
The new unified authoring canvas in Power Virtual Agents is a major step forward and an innovative feature that Microsoft announced in Build 2023. This feature blends the authoring capabilities of Power Virtual Agents and Bot Framework Composer. The canvas provides a single platform for collaboration between professional and low-code developers. Each team member can contribute to the bot’s development using this canvas’s extensive multi-author features and built-in code side-by-side editor.
Improved rich response authoring, the ability to integrate APIs and events, Power FX expressions, linkages to Azure services for customized natural language requirements, and a variety of robust generative AI capabilities are notable upgrades to this tool.
Moreover, Microsoft has released a Copilot preview for Power Automate, featuring a brand-new designer created exclusively for cloud processes. Using natural language, this integration intends to streamline the user experience and hasten the development of automation.
A Future of Prospects with Generative AI
Lamanna conveyed that Microsoft regards Generative AI as the most significant paradigm shift and revolutionary breakthrough in software since the advent of the personal computer and the internet. The company believes this development will benefit both enterprise and consumer technology significantly.
Regarding Power Platform, Artificial Intelligence is a great thing that happened to low-code development. Power Platform’s vision has always been to empower anyone to become a developer; and now, generative AI has made it possible to build applications or automation using simple natural languages. A person has to just describe what they want, and AI will help to make it happen. This can have a wide range of possibilities and unlock growth for practically everyone. It will also result in completing several industries’ digital transformations.
How can we help?
If you are an organization looking to leverage the power of AI and data and the latest Microsoft technology to solve your business challenges, then you are at the right place. At Saxon, we would be happy to assist you. We also have our 1-day workshops to help you unlock the potential of Power Platform and get hands-on learning of low-code app development.