Microsoft to Release PowerApps and Flow on Nov. 1

Microsoft's PowerApps no-code business application builder and Flow workflow automation technology will be generally available on Nov. 1.

Microsoft business application

Continuing the company's mission to create a unified, cloud-enabled productivity and business application ecosystem, Microsoft announced on Oct. 31 that PowerApps and Flow will be generally available Nov. 1.

PowerApps is a tool for building mobile and web business apps without code. Flow is the company's IFTTT-like workflow automation technology. Together, they help unlock new, productivity-enhancing capabilities for organizations that have already invested in Microsoft's other business software offerings.

"In addition to their stand-alone value, PowerApps and Flow work together with Microsoft Office 365 and Dynamics 365, and through a large and growing family of built-in connectors with hundreds of other popular business applications and database systems," James Phillips, corporate vice president of Microsoft Business Applications, Platform and Intelligence, said in an Oct. 31 announcement. "You can even connect to applications and data residing at your own facilities through the on-premise data gateway. Through these integrations, users can easily build applications and orchestrate workflows spanning business processes and joining data previously locked up in silos."

Despite its focus on "power users" or non-developers, PowerApps remains a welcoming of the developer community, Philips said. Coders can add PowerApps building blocks by creating Azure Functions in Java or Python, he offered as an example. The platform is also intended to help power users and developers work together to solve business problems through the technology.

Already, both PowerApps and Flow is off to a strong start, Philips noted.

Since the preview release of both offerings in April, they have collectively attracted more than 160,000 users across 145 countries, he said. An estimated 71,000 organizations are currently using PowerApps and Flow.

Today, Microsoft also announced new sharing and app organization experience in PowerApps.

During the preview, users could share apps with the Can Use, Can Use and Share and Can Edit permissions. Microsoft has winnowed down the share options to User (run allowed, but share and edit not allowed) and Contributor (run, edit and sharing allowed).

To combat clutter in the app list on powerapps.com, the company has switched to a new default view that only displays the apps a user has Edit permissions for, including apps that are shared with the user and are flagged with Contributor permissions. Previously, the default app list view would display all the apps a user was granted access to, including those the user was not allowed to edit.

The change aligns with PowerApps' intended use, according to Microsoft senior program manager Linh Tran.

"We want to shift powerapps.com to be the home of app creators; enable you to quickly navigate, open and make changes to the apps you own or apps you collaborate with others," she wrote in a blog post. "This means clicking on an app will open them in edit mode on PowerApps Studio for the web instead of running them directly on the web like before." Users can still elect to run a select app, but now it requires an extra action, she added.

Pedro Hernandez

Pedro Hernandez

Pedro Hernandez is a contributor to eWEEK and the IT Business Edge Network, the network for technology professionals. Previously, he served as a managing editor for the Internet.com network of...