Power Apps Build Tools for Azure DevOps
App Dev Manager Om Chauhan spotlights Power Apps Build Tools for Azure DevOps.
Table of Contents
At the time of writing this blog the Power Apps build tools is still in preview version and available here under these preview licensing terms. It’s a significant step forward by the Microsoft Power Apps team to build a healthy ALM and DevOps addition into the Power Platform suite. I recently had an opportunity to play around with the tools and found it very impressive and useful. Given the dire need expressed by many of our enterprise customers for a complete ALM and DevOps support in to the Microsoft Power Platform I felt like writing this blog to give a very quick high-level overview of the tool and its capabilities.
It is primarily a collection of Power Apps specific Build Tasks for Azure DevOps that can be used to automate the source code management, build and deployments for Power Apps and Power Automate. The tool facilitates common ALM activities like persisting the development source code in to the Azure repos, creating build pipelines for generating build artifacts, deploying code to other and downstream environments, provisioning/de-provisioning of power platform environments, static analysis of the code and so on. The preview version as I write this blog is constantly being updated with fixes and capabilities based on the continuous feedback we are receiving from our customers.
The tool can be simply added/installed into an Azure DevOps organization as a shared extension from the marketplace. Below is the screenshot after the extension is installed successfully in the Azure DevOps organization.
In the simplest terms, solutions are units of software or package that wraps all the code and the customizations. You need a Common Data Service (CDS) to be provisioned in an environment to work with solutions.
An unmanaged solution is a solution under development where components can be added/removed or updated. When it is completed and ready for distribution it can be exported as a managed solution. You generally work with an unmanaged solution in a Development environment and export it as a managed solution for the downstream environments like QA, Prod etc.
Any components and artifacts that are solution aware can be part of the managed/unmanaged solution.
Here is the detailed product documentation link about solutions.
The components/artifacts like Canvas or model-driven app, Entity, UI and regular Flows, Environment variables etc. all are solution aware and can be a part of a solution.
Power Apps build tool tasks can be classified in to four types:
- Helper tasks
- Quality check tasks
- Solution tasks
- Environment management tasks
Here is the product documentation about the Power Apps build tool tasks. The screenshot below shows all the Power Apps build tool tasks from within Azure DevOps.
Power Apps build tools comes at no cost however it requires a valid Azure DevOps subscription to use it.
Hands-on-lab/tutorial to learn creating Azure DevOps pipelines using the Power Apps build tools.
Microsoft Ignite session on Azure DevOps for Power Platform & D365.
7- Final Thoughts
Being in a Microsoft Premier Developer role and continuously empowering and supporting my customers in the Power Platform adoption I believe the Power Apps build tool addition to the Power Platform is a first step towards a more comprehensive and matured ALM story. It is something that was long missed and highly requested capability by our enterprise customers.