Microsoft Power FX: What is it and why is it important?
Maximize your business productivityAre you looking to multiply your business productivity? Yes, you heard it right. This content piece is a walk-through around Microsoft Power FX and its impact. Microsoft Power FX was launched by Microsoft at the Microsoft Ignite, 2021.
What is Power FX?Microsoft Power FX is the low code language for expressing logic across the Microsoft Power Platform. It is the same language that is at the heart of Microsoft Power Apps canvas apps today and is inspired by Microsoft Excel. It enables the full spectrum of development from “no code” to “pro code” with no cliffs in between, enabling diverse teams to collaborate and save time and expense. Source: What is Microsoft Power FX? | Microsoft Power Apps Microsoft is working closely to incorporate Power FX into Microsoft Dataverse, Model-driven Power Apps, and Microsoft Power Virtual Agents. It has also set-up a GitHub repository for open source at https://github.com/microsoft/Power-Fx where anyone can share their thoughts about the language.
What’s changed and why is it important?
Power FX is the name given to the expression language. The content becomes easier to search. The future of this language is that whenever there is a part of the Power Platform that does not have a native language then Power FX becomes its go-to language of preference. This means learning this language is vital to learning the Power Platform. Closely Connected to Excel Are you looking to build an app without difficulty as you build a spreadsheet? Microsoft Power FX is the answer. You can even take advantage of your present spreadsheet knowledge. Many such questions encouraged the formation of Power Apps and Power FX. Everyday billions of people are creating spreadsheets with Excel. Now leverage your excel skills in app creation. Reproducing Excel’s expression language for operators, core functions, and data types are fairly easy. The below table shows all of Power FX’s core functions, the ones marked in green are identical to Excel’s version.
Microsoft Power FX team is in constant discussion with the Excel team to discuss what they are adding next and how more functions can be added to stay updated with their directions. Now let’s consider the example of both the languages:
When you compare both the images from a structure perspective there is only a small difference between them. In the first instance in Excel, we look at cell B3 and if it contains the word “Apples” then we will return a 1, otherwise, it’s a 2. In PowerApps too, we do a similar thing. We are observing the selected item from the dropdown list. In this case, if it reads “Apples” then a 1 is returned, else a 2 will be returned. Also, the ideas around working with text are very similar.
When you look at the functions around text they are almost similar.Both Power FX and Excel are declarative languages. The maker outlines what behavior they want, but it is up to the system to regulate and optimize when and how to achieve it. To make that practical, maximum work is taken care of by pure functions without side-effects, making Power FX also a functional language, similar to Excel.
No compiling essentialThere are many reasons why Excel is successful and of all, one is there is no compiling operation. Once you add the formula there is quick reverting. The same is the case with Power FX. This feature is great because if by chance you commit a mistake you will get to know about the same very promptly. You can also route directly to the mistake that you have committed in Power FX.
Imperative LogicPower Apps and Power FX are special owing to their imperative logic. You can click on a button and perform a task. Some of the examples include:-
- Refresh – to revive a data source
- Navigate – to move among screens
- Collect – to push data into an in memory table
- SubmitForm – to submit a form
- Reset – to reset a control
- Patch – to direct data to a data source
Declarative LogicBoth the concepts of no compiling and declarative logic are closely associated. Whenever you want to know that why an object is showing a particular piece of text, a certain color, all you need to do is to go to the object itself, search for the applicable property and you will get the results. Dot notation The dot notation allows us to navigate through the properties of an object. This could be as simple as
What returns to us a color property, which we might wish to use elsewhere? But we can extract many things from our objects, and this is subjected to the object themselves. Some of the examples are:-
- Gallery1.Selected – returns a complete record
- Gallery1.Selected.Title – returns the value in the Title field
- TextBox1.Text – returns the text entered into a text box, and this is significant as if we wish to make use of it in a patch statement to create a new record then this is the expression that we would require.
- Power Virtual Agents
- Power Automate
- Dynamics/Dataverse calculated columns
- M, or Power Query – Used for Load activities and Extract Transform
- DAX – Data Analysis Expressions used in Power BI
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