New Microsoft Mechanics episode demonstrates pro developer advancements with Power Platform

During this year’s developer event, Microsoft Build, we announced and demonstrated several key updates and features for pro developer capabilities for Microsoft Power Platform. While Microsoft Power Platform is a leading low-code development platform, it also offers rich capabilities which make it an exceptional development platform for experienced developers. With greater focus on digitization, there is a growing gap between the applications that an organization needs for success versus the developers who can create the applications. To close this gap, there is a rise in citizen developers, those with less coding experience, but deep business knowledge who are creating applications to meet specific challenges.

Microsoft Power Platform enables seamless collaboration between citizen and pro developers who form so-called ‘fusion’ teams to unlock unique solutions to the most challenging business scenarios. These fusion teams are critical for the success of modern organizations as digitization requires individuals with diverse skillsets including line of business managers, department leads, as well as IT experts to collaborate in teams and develop solutions at a much faster pace. Microsoft Power Platform is one of the few development platforms which offers a low code foundation to support business experts perfectly blended with rich professional developer capabilities to support and allow fusion teams to thrive. Fusion teams were one of the important themes at Microsoft Build and discussed in many Microsoft Power Platform sessions.

Make sure you check out some of these sessions from Microsoft Build which dive deeper into how Microsoft Power Platform can help pro developers accelerate development times and collaborate in fusion teams to create best-of-breed solutions.

T-Mobile uses new pro developer capabilities in Microsoft Power Platform

We’re excited to share many of our recent pro developer advances in a new Microsoft Mechanics Power Platform show. In this new video (see video 1), we demonstrate examples of how customers such as T-Mobile are using new pro developer capabilities in Microsoft Power Platform to help expedite its digital transformation strategy and execution.

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We’ll first show you how T-Mobile developers work in fusion teams to help enhance its internal project tracking app Orbit, which is currently used by over 40,000 T-Mobile employees and has been used to track over 3,500 projects to date. The app uses custom connectors to gather data from a variety of sources. In our example, we show how a custom API is created to gather data from IoT sensors and then used in the Orbit app where it surfaces as a custom connector. The custom connector is a special Azure API Management connector which is developed by T-Mobile’s pro developers as a custom API in Visual Studio. From Visual Studio, the developers can now easily publish an API to Azure (figure 1). It simply requires having an ASP.Net Core WebAPI project .NET 5 or an Azure Function. With the newest version of Visual Studio, you can import Azure Functions into API Management thanks to the new OpenAPI output support that has been introduced for Azure Functions’ developers using .NET. OpenAPI is now supported for Azure Functions using a new OpenAPI-enabled Azure Function template. One of the most powerful attributes of this feature is that a developer does not have to leave Visual Studio when publishing their project to Azure.

We also show the integration with GitHub where we can create a CI/CD workflow using GitHub Actions, allowing continuous deployment as we work on our API.

Figure 1. Easily publish your project to Azure from Visual Studio

Figure 1. Easily publish your project to Azure from Visual Studio

Once the API is published to Azure, it appears as an Azure resource and is included as an API in Azure API Management. From API Management, we can gather a diverse set of data on the API, connect it to other services such as Application Insights, and perhaps most exciting, easily export the API to a variety of services, including to Power Apps and Power Automate. With the click of a button, the custom API can be exported and surfaces as a custom connector in both Power Apps and Power Automate (figure 2). From there, T-Mobile’s citizen developers can use the custom connector in the Orbit app, demonstrating a powerful example of how both pro and citizen developers can easily and effectively collaborate to create unique, best-in-class solutions with Microsoft Power Platform.

Figure 2. Easily export your API from Azure API Management to Power Apps or Power Automate as a custom API Management connector

Figure 2. Easily export your API from Azure API Management to Power Apps or Power Automate as a custom API Management connector

The Microsoft Mechanics Power Platform show will also delve into how Microsoft Power Platform supports DevOps with another detailed example of how integration with GitHub and CI/CD can be leveraged for development with Microsoft Power Platform as you would for other development platforms. We’ll show how changes made in our Power Apps canvas are reflected in our GitHub repository as a new branch in the workflow.

The show concludes with a great example of how developers can scale their amazing apps through Microsoft Teams. With Teams rapidly becoming the digital hub for the modern workplace, developers can distribute and scale their applications and achieve greater reach by embedding and sharing them on Teams. With Microsoft Power Platform’s seamless integration with Teams and with the Teams manifest reference schema, any application created on Power Apps can be easily added to Teams with the click of a button. We show this powerful example with the T-Mobile Orbit app (see figure 3) where we show the manifest JSON of the app which includes the Teams reference schema in the code and upload the app directly to Teams. This reflects another great example of how Microsoft Power Platform can be used by pro developers to share their amazing apps and solutions with larger sets of people.

Figure 3. Manifest JSON of application which can be uploaded and shared on Teams to reach a wider audience of users

Figure 3. Manifest JSON of application which can be uploaded and shared on Teams to reach a wider audience of users

Join our community and get started today

Join the growing Microsoft Power Platform Community so you can get the latest updates, join discussions, and get ideas on how Microsoft Power Platform can help your organization. Be sure to check out some of the great Microsoft Power Platform sessions listed below from this year’s Microsoft Build developer event.

To learn more about Microsoft Power Platform and get started on the basics, check out the Microsoft Learn Power Platform modules and the entire Microsoft Mechanics Power Platform video series.