Microsoft low-code forks into lightweight GUI widgets • The Register

Microsoft has pledged to make it easier to develop new features in Teams, Outlook and other popular apps by introducing low-code development for Maps.

The Redmond-based software giant currently offers Adaptive Cards, a framework for adding UI snippets to popular apps.

By placing Cards in the low-code environment Power Apps, Microsoft promises a simple approach to building and sending micro-apps to share, collect and connect data and make important business decisions in Teams or Outlook.

Professional developers could create adaptive cards using a JSON framework to create a declarative user experience and inject business logic to determine what happens to the data downstream.

With the new preview, Cards offers the same functionality in a low-code, PowerPoint-like experience. Citizen developers can also use Power FX, an open-source, low-code development language based on the Excel expression language.

The “map” can be shared via a link, which an agent can include in teams, for example, and expand into an interactive user experience.

For Microsoft applications, the backend data is shared via the Dataverse platform that sits behind Dynamics and Power BI, but more than 800 connectors allow Cards to process data with applications in, for example, SAP, Oracle, ServiceNow or Salesforce.

Map orchestration can also be controlled via Power Automate, Microsoft’s automation tool.

Ryan Cunningham, Product Lead for Microsoft Power Apps, told us that pre-built maps are already available in Power Automate. “But if you want to customize it, you need to know how to write JSON and so on. Now on-premises users can customize and orchestrate when and how their cards are sent using Power Automate. You don’t just kind of send them manually, you can send them automatically based on the underlying business logic. That’s a big deal for some kind of orchestration.

New features available in preview also include co-authoring in Power Apps, which allows developers and business users to edit applications in real time while leveraging the Microsoft Office-like experience, the vendor said.

Microsoft has made strides in automation and low-code, capitalizing on market interest in the breadth of its personal productivity portfolio combined with its Power platform, a trend that has seen consolidation in the implementation partner market.

The market is full of specialists like UiPath, Blue Prism and Appian, and application companies like SAP and Oracle are also looking to add these capabilities to their environments. Microsoft will try to achieve in low-code what it has already done with automation, where Forrester determines that the Redmond-based software giant is the only serious rival from pure-play vendors. ® Microsoft low-code forks into lightweight GUI widgets • The Register

Laura Coffey

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